The Nerd Side Of Life

Tips To Creating Optimized Duty Rosters

The problem is always the same across industries: every roster is critically scrutinized, discussed, objected to, and in some cases immediately rewritten shortly after it is published. Writing a good or even perfect duty roster is really complicated because you have to consider many conditions at the same time. However, anyone who succeeds in putting together a well-thought-out plan will be richly rewarded and using a website like makes creating one fairly simple

Types of duty rosters

There are three types of employee rosters commonly used across different industries:

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  • Duty rosters
  • Flexible rosters
  • Staggered rosters

Duty rosters

They’re primarily used by managers to avoid scheduling more employees than needed on the same shift with the same duties. Commonly, duty rosters are applied in the hospitality industry. A hotel manager for example will schedule his staff depending on the number of guests. 

Flexible rosters

Depending on the needs of a company, the option of working flexible hours is a way of scheduling the staff optimally. A flexible roster offers varying start and end shift times.

Staggered rosters

Businesses that are prone to fluctuating numbers of customers, for example restaurants usually use staggered rosters.  This way, it can be granted that a sufficient number of  waiters and kitchen staff are available during busy lunch and dinner times to accommodate the guests.

How does workforce management software help?

A workforce management software can help to simplify the planning of a roster. It also offers functions such as:

  • Work scheduling – to manage employee skills and requirements
  • Time and labor data collection – to collect and prepare detailed information on labor deployment
  • Absence management – to process leave requests
  • Task and action management – to create detailed overviews of work and deployment planning requirements
  • Time recording 

Tips To Plan a Duty Roster Like a Pro

Planning a duty roster is a difficult topic. Sometimes you have no staff, employees become ill, or the vacation period begins. The planning of the duty roster seems to be almost unsolvable. But there are some measures you can take to plan a roster everyone can live with.

  • Plan first, add names later
  • Use the most skilled staff for busiest periods
  • Define time-off rules
  • Keep an eye on wage costs as you build the duty roster
  • Start the roster week on the busiest day
  • Self-service cuts down wasted time

Plan first, add names later

It is best to first enter the already approved vacation days as well as an employee’s absence due to illness, further education or vocational school. After that, you enter if employees can only work at certain times. Only then the names of the available employees are added. 

Use the most skilled staff for busiest periods

Even though it’s advisable and very tempting to use certain employees for the busiest times, you should always keep in mind that all staff are deployed in the same way. It’s always a good idea to speak with employees, especially the most skilled ones, beforehand, thus ensuring they don’t feel being treated unfairly. 

Define time-off rules

Everyone needs time to relax, to switch off, to do things that are important to him. An employee who comes to work rested, it’s also more efficient and patient. That’s why it’s essential to create a time-off process, which includes how time-off must be requested and by when. It’s also important to communicate it well to the staff.

Keep an eye on wage costs as you build the duty roster

It’s advisable to have an overview of the costs when planning the roster. This grants you to always stay on budget, every time. No more waiting until after payroll – when it’s too late.

Start the roster week on the busiest day

It’s essential to start the roster week on the busiest day. Usually, Mondays with which the week starts won’t be it. On the contrary, they’re often the quietest days of the week. If you start with the busiest day of the week, you can be sure that under-scheduling during times when the most employees are needed is avoided.

Self-service cuts down wasted time

Employees want to know their shifts as early as possible, so they can plan better. In the best case, the duty roster is issued at least 2 weeks in advance. Employees can organize their free time without any problems. If there are spontaneous changes of appointments or cases of illness, there is enough time to change the duty roster without stress.

Conclusion – An optimized duty roster avoids discord

Creating a roster can be a challenge, especially with a larger team. Starting to plan the roster in due time as well as involving employees in the planning process can avoid additional hassle.

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