Roster planning refers to the management of worker shift schedules, and all the logistics that come with them. When the team in question is working remotely, things can be especially tricky here. 

The data to manage might involve things like the working locations of employees, the contrasting times of their shifts, and their periodic responsibilities throughout the working day. The objective is to make it all synch up for the sake of the business’s efficiency. With lockdown, remote working is the new normal for many, and solutions really need to stick if they haven’t done so already. 

If you’re the manager tasked with the creation and oversight of roster planning for remote workers, then no doubt you would appreciate having a few tips at your disposal. You’ll find them down below. 

Utilise Supporting Technologies

Some technologies can help your roster planning for remote workers, while others can hamper it. If you can upgrade the types of software you’re using, managing things here will become significantly easier. 

For example, rota planning software from Papershift can really change the game for you. You can request a demo and embark on a free trial to get to grips with their services, reducing the planning times of some companies from 40 hours a week to just 10 hours a week. It’s a straightforward system to use that can be accessed via any device, providing a concentrated area where everyone can view their shifts and job notes in real-time, or even request leave and apply for open shifts. It all keeps the ball rolling. 

Ultimately, everyone is on the same page as Papershift. Streamlining the business wherever possible is a high priority, especially in uncertain times. Your job as a manager of a remote team is to provide order and a sense of clear consensus, and this is what the top-tier rota planning software does for you. 

Open Lines of Communication

Many roadblocks in business could have been prevented if someone had simply spoken up. When it comes to remote teams, distance is no excuse for poor communication practices

For example, you can Zoom or Slack message your team to negotiate shift logistics before they become concrete plans. It might be one team member may more ably cover for another, or that you need to notify the team in advance of a forthcoming work surge that requires all hands on deck. It’s not always necessary of course, but if the shift change is due to a more sensitive matter, some additional words can get ahead of many issues and fine-tune the process. 

Communication is key, especially when working remotely. Open those channels and make certain that everyone is talking, and shift logistics will be an amicable part of the team working process, rather than a matter of contention between the team. 

Be Accommodating

The point of shift work is equal parts helping to work employees hard and also being accommodating of their extenuating circumstances. 

Unfortunately, some businesses are relentlessly cruel to their staff when it comes to shift work. H&M, for example, wanted to lay off a large body of workers that were mostly mothers, citing their unwillingness to do work in the evenings or on Saturdays. Aside from being highly immoral, this will only invite negative press coverage and public or even in-house backlash, so being flexible with your shifts and accommodating others needs wherever possible is always a good idea. 

You should try to be sensitive to the lives of your remote workers wherever possible. Get to know them, and what they need. Perhaps they’re working parents, or it could be they’re suffering from mental well-being issues due to all the lockdown measures. Be as flexible and understanding as possible, and you’ll soon have a remote team that is loyal and hard-working.   

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As an experienced business and finance writer I understand the corporate landscape and the driving forces behind it. Over the years I’ve shared my insight and knowledge with key industry publications and dedicated my time to showing how business leaders can make their organisations more effective.