Schedules are a part of life. They keep your plans organized, prevent you from double-booking appointments, and help you create a routine. But for many people, their day-to-day schedules are out of their hands.
Employers are often tasked with planning out their team’s work schedules, essentially dictating how their employees live their lives. Without realizing it, employers could end up determining everyday life decisions. An employee’s schedule helps them decide things like when children need after-school care and when to go grocery shopping.
So how can employers make sure their scheduled employees are happy and stick around? TSheets by QuickBooks commissioned Qualtrics to survey employees to see how their work schedules affect their lives—both personally and professionally.
Here are five ways to keep your scheduled employees happy:
1. Give your employees weekends off
Sure, this may not be a realistic option for all small business owners. But if possible, you should try to give your employees some weekends off.
About 28% of workers surveyed said they’d prefer to have their days off fall on weekdays. Chances are you employ some of these people. Offer them weekend shifts so you can honor requests from those who don’t want them. It’s truly a win-win.
The survey also showed that 70% of workers say they typically get weekends off, and most prefer it that way. Respondents who “rarely” get weekends off say their schedule has a negative impact on their life. That’s at a higher rate than those who have weekends off consistently.
2. Give them the option to work from home
Again, this may not work with every small business. But if you have employees whose duties that don’t require them to be on-site, consider letting them work from home. Not surprisingly, employees who work from home or do not commute were least likely to indicate they are unhappy with their schedules.
Only 11% of workers who said they work from home or don’t have a commute prefer to have a different work schedule. Conversely, 40% of workers who don’t work from home said they’d choose a different schedule if they could.
3. Keep the scheduled hours average
The TSheets survey showed that employees who work five- to eight-hour shifts are the highest percentage of respondents who are satisfied with their schedules, compared to those who work shorter or longer shifts.
Most workers say they’re scheduled to work 36-40 hours in an average week. 30% of respondents report working more than 40 hours a week, every week, regardless of the hours they’re scheduled. Overtime rates vary by industry, so employers should benchmark themselves against others in their industry to understand what’s normal and how they compare.
4. Keep schedules consistent
Consistency in scheduling allows your employees to plan out their weeks more efficiently. It also offers up freedom and empowerment. Not to mention, consistent schedules may help reduce turnover.
Employees who have consistent schedules report having been at their current job longer than those who have schedules that change from week to week. In fact, 67% of workers with consistent schedules have been at their current job for three years or more.
Additionally, 60% of those on weekly shift rotations say they would choose a different schedule if they could. But only 40% of workers with consistent schedules or availability-based schedules say they’d choose a different schedule if they could.
5. Ask, listen, and consider
If the research shows anything, it’s that people are unique, and what works well for one person might not work great for another. Among the employees who said their bosses choose their schedules, 41% said they’d choose a different one if they could.
Of course, using technology, like employee scheduling software, can help employers improve the state of scheduling at their business. But perhaps the best way for employers to get scheduling right is to get to know their employees.
Ask them what schedules they like, prefer, and don’t like. Listen to their reasons and consider different options for different employees. Be open to accommodating life situations and remember that a happy employee is a long-time employee.