Setting Work Schedules: A Complete Guide for Managers

Setting Work Schedules: A Complete Guide for Managers

Setting Work Schedules: Types, Tips, Practices

This page will walk you through the entire process of work scheduling for your organization. You will look at the types of work schedules more closely, learn how to create the best work schedule for your staff, and understand why work schedule management is important to all businesses regardless of their size.

What is a Work Schedule?

So, let’s clear up the work schedule definition itself. A work schedule means job hours, time for work allocated for employees. It determines typical work hours (e.g., 8 hours per day), dates when employees are supposed to work and rest.

Benefits of Effective Work Scheduling

Work scheduling is an important part of running any business. Сorrectly allocated worker time can bring projects to their successful conclusion. An optimal work schedule for employees can help managers gain maximum productivity from their subordinates.

Reasons for making work schedules

Plan workforce supply and demand

Plan workforce supply and demand

Getting people in the right place at the right time leads to better provision of services to customers. Define the right number of staff you need for the work to be done, distribute workloads and prevent your team burn-out.

Deal with employee attendance issues with ease

Deal with employee attendance issues with ease

When a work schedule for employees is properly organized, there won’t be any problems with monitoring their attendance. Managers can see who is constantly late, takes a lot of days off from work and discuss such issues with their employees.

Keep track of overtime hours

Keep track of overtime hours

Using overtime on a regular basis is not a good practice for any organization. It usually requires additional expenses and tires your employees. With the right work scheduling, you can prevent any overtime cases.

Boost productivity of your team

Boost productivity of your team

When setting employee work schedules, divide the work fairly and assign the best hours to work depending on your employees’ skills and their performance. Due to this, you can be sure that each working shift will do its best to achieve project success.

Work schedules

Work schedules

In the work time schedule, you can easily set different working hours for your employees depending on the days of the week they work and the workday length of each of them. So, you can determine together with your team members when they will work based on their needs.

Different Types Of Work Schedules

Work schedules are adapted to the rapid changes in the business environment. Here, we will provide you with examples of work schedules commonly-used by various organizations.

Full-Time Work Schedule

This work schedule represents a common type of full-time work. It usually implies working 40 hours per week, but sometimes it can be less depending on the industry you work in and the position you hold.

The best thing about working full time is that your employees get a fixed salary and they don’t have to worry about their monthly earnings. So, this type of work schedule brings stability not only for employers, but also for employees.

Though, sometimes, a full-time job can be inconvenient for those who have families, when you have children or other relatives you have to take care of.

Part-Time Work Schedule

What does a part time job schedule look like? How many hours is part time? Let’s briefly answer these questions.

A part-time schedule is any schedule that includes fewer hours than a full-time one. 

The average number of hours per day is 4.

This type of work schedule is more flexible for employees, as it gives them the possibility to work fewer days and hours compared to full-time workers. But, they won’t get the same compensation as they do, and their schedules may change every week.

So, when managers create a part time work schedule for employees, it will be more time-consuming for them to do it.

Fixed Work Schedule

A fixed work schedule is usually set by an organization and requires employees to work, for example, from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour lunch break. Fixed schedules can be used for both full-time and part-time jobs.

It allows managers to more strictly control the working hours of employees and monitor any violations that might occur.

For employees, having fixed schedule jobs means on one hand, being more organized, on the other hand, having not enough free time for themselves. This can lead to lower job satisfaction or boredom at the workplace.

Flexible Work Schedule

A flexible work hours policy allows employees to choose when to start their working day and when to leave. So, companies with flexible work schedules promote employee flexibility in the workspace. Employers just set a certain amount of core mandatory hours to work and employees work these hours during a period convenient to them. 

The common types of flexible work schedules are:

- Telecommuting/Remote work
- Compressed work week
- Reduced hours/Part-time

Among the main benefits of flexible work schedules are:

- Workers can work more efficiently
- Employees can manage their work and free time
- A company’s image will be improved

Some inconvenience you may encounter when using a flexible work schedule is that sometimes, it’s hard to organize team meetings and other group activities.

Rotating Shift Work Schedule

A rotating schedule is usually used for businesses that operate 24/7 and use shifts. For example, customer support service or health care.

Rotating shift work schedules can be illustrated as follows:

- 12 hour rotating shift work schedules,
- 8 hour rotating shift work schedules,
- 8 hour shifts rotating weekends,
- 6 day rotating work schedule,
- 4 person rotating work schedules.

Using work rotation schedules can be beneficial for both employers and employees. Businesses can provide their services non-stop and employees can choose early or late shifts depending on their needs. However, there might be some disadvantages, for example, variable earnings of employees and no opportunities to plan.

Split Work Schedule

This work schedule provides an opportunity to split a person’s work day. For instance, an employee can clock in in the morning, then clock out and return to work in the evening.

Split shifts are good when employers want to increase employee productivity and allow them to work when they can. So, they can relax, take care of their children, etc.

Having a split shift schedule can be bad if you have employees who slowly get down to work. For employees, it can be a time and money-consuming issue, as it requires them to get back to work twice or three times a day

Shift Schedules

A work shift schedule usually consists of three variants of shifts: a morning (first) shift, a day (second) shift and a night (third) shift. This type of schedule is relevant for companies or organizations that operate 24 hours each day, e.g., food service or a medicine production company. Some of them use a 12 hour shift work schedule.

To be able to control a shift workers schedule, companies may use a shift work schedule app. It can be either a calendar or a widget, which helps you seamlessly plan and manage employees’ shifts.

Despite the advantages of using such a schedule by employers, employees may encounter some difficulties, for instance, some people cannot work effectively at night or some of them may work more than others.

Irregular Work Schedule

An irregular work schedule and on-call shifts are used in organizations where employees' work schedules are deliberately unpredictable. This means that employees should be available for work when an employer asks them to. 

The key advantage of such a work schedule is that when there is an emergency at work, you can quickly get a specialist who is ready to solve any issues that occur. 

There might be some drawbacks of an inconsistent work schedule. Employees get lower wages and cannot plan something in advance, as they should always be available for work.

Seasonal Schedules

When employers need some temporary workers, they use seasonal schedules for their employees. Seasonal work usually happens in summer or on holidays. For example, a seasonal employee can work at the beach as a lifeguard or be a gift wrapper when holidays are coming. 

This type of schedule is perfect for businesses, which need extra workers for a short period of time with lower payroll costs. 

But, on the other hand, they can get less motivated workers and they need to set aside time for interviews.

Compressed Schedules

A compressed schedule allows employees to work the same amount of hours as a standard one, but in less than five days. For example, it can be a 4/10 work schedule, so a worker can have an extra day off per week. 

Though, for some employees, working a 10 hour work day schedule can be difficult due to their health or family commitments.

Anyway, this type of a work schedule can be good only for companies with the right planning.

Alternative Schedule

An alternative work schedule refers to any work schedule that provides flexibility from a standard schedule. It’s convenient for those employees that need time for families, children or medical care.

The common types of alternative work schedules are: part-time, telecommuting, compressed work week, and job sharing.

For their part, employers can use alternative scheduling as an effective management strategy, though they should have some policies to have control over employees’ work.

Overtime Schedule

An overtime schedule implies overtime hours that an employee works over regular working hours. Employers usually pay more for overtime work than for full-time hours. 

Such situations can occur when a team has a huge project to be completed in a short period of time or employees don’t have enough time to finish the work within the deadline. 

To reduce extra pay for overtime work for the whole team, employers tend to ask a couple of members to work overtime.

No Set Schedule

No set schedule refers to those work schedules that allow employees to decide when to work. It’s similar to a freelance schedule when you set your own schedule and can work from home. The main difference between them is that employees, who have no set schedules, should report to their employers. 

Making your own hours for work gives the freedom to employees, but makes it difficult for employers to conveniently track them. 

Further, we will provide an example of how to create a work schedule that will perfectly suit your organization's needs.

How To Make The Ideal Work Schedule For Your Employees

An ideal work timetable for employees is one that meets the needs of your organization. If you run a large company and your employees have different working hours, the best way to make a work schedule for all of them is to use an employee scheduling and time tracking software.

TMetric software can be a perfect choice for these purposes. It allows you to create your company's work schedule in minutes and to combine it with time tracking to make your business more efficient.

Top TMetric Features

Stay organized and productive

Automatic time tracking by TMetric is designed to help teams to gain efficiency, increase their profit and easily manage a workforce. With a click, dive into a detailed overview of the amount of time spent on activities, tasks, and other projects throughout any period of time.

Capture time and expenses in real-time and make every minute count.

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Time Tracking

Сonfigure your company's and employees' workweek in more detail

In TMetric, you can easily configure a work schedule both for employees who work basic working hours and for those who work irregular working hours. You can set the workweek settings for the whole company at once or for an individual team member if needed.

Besides the above, TMetric provides a possibility to pick holidays and additional workdays, and to view the time worked beyond the schedule in the reports.

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Work Schedules

Bring your daily agenda from a calendar to TMetric

It possible to display your calendar events in TMetric and track time spent on them directly in the app. Now you can easily choose a calendar you need - Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar and start tracking time on your scheduled events with one mouse click.

See your Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar in TMetric and easily track time on your scheduled events!

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Daily Agenda

Track your team's vacations and leaves in one place

Time Off Calendar displays upcoming, planned, and used time off. You can select any day on the calendar and see which coworkers are at work or on their leave.

Moreover, if there are any unapproved time-off requests, an approver can easily approve them directly on the calendar. All workdays that your employees missed are also displayed on the calendar.

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Time Off Calendar

Best practices for setting work schedules

Here we will go through some tips for scheduling your employees properly. A well-planned and introduced work schedule can help build cooperation and trust between employees and employers to achieve good results.

Clear expectations when hiring

Clear expectations when hiring

Setting expectations for your future employees is an important task for a manager. When both employees and employers know exactly what they want from each other, they can achieve goals faster. A business can get the best set of employees for its success and workers can be more engaged in the workplace.

Know your employees

Know your employees

When managers know their team members well, their skills, strengths, and weaknesses, they can schedule the right people for the job. So, get acquainted with your employees, organize team-building activities or go for lunch with them.

Determine the company's core hours

Determine the company's core hours

Core hours represent the set times when all employees should be at their workplaces. It’s usually 4 hours a day, the rest of the working hours are flexible for employees. This allows you to plan meetings with your teammates and to provide a work-life balance.

Optimize a process

Optimize a process

Use employee scheduling software to simplify and accelerate the process of creating employees’ schedules and managing them with ease. Reducing time on employee scheduling gives managers more time to focus on solving other important tasks.

Schedule in advance

Schedule in advance

It’s a good practice to provide employee schedules far in advance. When workers know their schedules ahead, they can easily plan their time. They can prepare for their shifts, take care of their children, a second job, or other responsibilities.

Ask for feedback

Ask for feedback

When building a schedule, it’s important to request feedback from employees. So, you can organize employee shifts, working hours, and holidays in accordance with their wishes. You can also respond to all questions that employees have about their work schedules.


What work schedule is the best?

A 9-To-5 schedule when an employee works 8 hours a day and has an hour lunch break is close to an ideal one. Employees start their work at 9 in the morning and leave at 6 in the evening. With this schedule, you get a work-time balance and two days off.

How to request a schedule change at work?

First, decide exactly what you want to change in your schedule. Think about how to make a correct request for your company. Meet with your manager and explain why you need to change your schedule. If you receive approval, smoothly switch to a new work schedule.

How to plan a work schedule?

To plan a productive work schedule for your team, first, think about your business needs, e.g., payroll, budget, and talents you need. Then, get to know your team, their needs, availability, and preferences. Make some schedule guidelines and follow scheduling laws. Use the best scheduling tools. Finally, evaluate and analyze work schedules you’ve created for employees.

Why choose TMetric?

The most straightforward time tracking app

Available on all platforms: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android

Free plan with basic time tracking for a team up to 5

Reasonable price makes it affordable for anyone

Multilanguage solution

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