The art of scheduling

Scheduling is about deciding when team members should work and what tasks they should do to meet the organizations needs. It is common to base scheduling on either demand, available resources or tasks. Every starting point has its own challenges to handle.

January 21, 2022

Starting points for scheduling

Scheduling can have different starting points depending on the type of your organization and its needs. These factors affect what kind of schedule that is needed. Apart from that you also need to take in to account the employees and team members and whether they work full-time, part-time, hourly, on projects or based on something else. The organizations opening hours, local laws and different collective agreements and employment contracts are also important considerations. Does it seem overwhelming? Luckily there is help available!


Scheduling based on demand aims to determine how many people that are needed during different hours over a specific period. It is centered around having enough persons with the right qualifications to meet the demands. The demand in itself can vary over both the hours of the day, but also over longer seasonal intervals. Some organizations need people available 24/7 or have people on call that need to be able to get to a specific place quickly in case something happens.


  • Customer support
  • Manufacturing
  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Health and social care
  • Emergency and security


The scheduling can also be based on different limited resources, such as team members, machines, premises, and so on. Some let out their resources directly to the customer while others use the resources to produce goods or services for the customers. I common there is the wish to optimize the resource utilization and adapt to any seasonal variations.


  • Construction
  • Facility services
  • Maintenance services
  • Hotels and conference venues
  • Staffing and recruitment


The scheduling can also start from the different types of tasks and services. These needs to be carried out by people with the right qualifications, in a specific place and on a specific time.


  • Cleaning
  • Gardening
  • Kindergartens and schools
  • Event planning and management
  • Transportation and logistics

Different types of schedules

When you get to doing the actual scheduling there are several types of schedules that might fit your organization and its needs better or worse.

Fixed schedule
In a fixed schedule the work shifts are placed in a fixed pattern.

Rolling schedule
In a rolling schedule you create a schedule for a limited interval, for example a couple of weeks. This schedule is then repeated until a end date when it is revised.

Yearly schedule
A yearly schedule is created for a full year at a time. That allows it to take seasonal variations into account which makes it a common type of schedule in retail.

Shift schedule
A shift or relay schedule contains 3 or more schedules covering different workdays and times of day to ensure that the organization is staffed 24 hours of the day and often all 7 days of the week. This is common in health care, social care, manufacturing, emergency and security.

Let workforce software do the work

A big advantage of using workforce management software is that you can quickly create and change a schedule. You also have access to automated processes that will save you a lot of manual work. This means that you can reduce the time you spend on scheduling significantly. In most workforce software you can:

  • create and change work schedules
  • communicate with the team members
  • report time & attendance
  • integrate to invoicing and payroll
  • view statistics, make budgets and keep track of costs
  • have online access from multiple platforms and devices
  • schedule and report your time through a mobile app

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