As a manager, your day is filled with countless repetitive tasks: checking and logging inventory, ordering supplies, tallying receipts, creating weekly schedules, calculating hours worked, writing job descriptions. The list literally goes on and on.
But did you ever stop to think about the process of doing all these activities? You certainly don’t start ordering supplies by recreating the order form every time. Chances are, you use some kind of document—saved on your computer or in a binder—to keep track of all this information. Chances are, you use a template.
Nowhere is this idea of a template more important than in the creation of your employee work schedule. Unfortunately, many managers neglect the use of a weekly schedule template. This makes their work life infinitely more difficult.
The experts at Sling are here to show you how a weekly schedule template can give you more time to deal with the pressing issues that you face on a daily basis. Along the way, we’ll address such questions as:
- Why should I use a weekly schedule template?
- What should I include on my weekly schedule template?
- How can I create my own weekly schedule template?
We’ll also show you how you can use your computer or mobile device to harness the power and versatility of Sling to streamline your scheduling activity even further. Before we do that, let’s answer the most basic question of all regarding the weekly schedule template: Why use one?
Why Use A Weekly Schedule Template?
The weekly schedule template cuts down on the time you, the busy manager, spend getting things ready BEFORE you begin scheduling. You don’t have to remake the form you’re going to use because the template is already there and waiting.
All you have to do is open the blank form on your computer or retrieve an already-printed copy from your files. Then just fill in the information and you’re good to go.
Keep Your Weekly Schedule Simple
One of the best things you can do to make your life—and the lives of your employees—easier is to keep your schedules simple. It’s not necessary to spend valuable time plugging in every single piece of information that’s pertinent to the job. And your employees don’t need to spend time trying to take in and decipher all that data.
A person should be able to look at the schedule and figure out within a few seconds what day she’s working, what hours she’ll be there, and the job she’ll be doing. If that’s not possible, your schedule may be too complicated.
Not sure if you’ve got too much information on the page? Practice on yourself. Look away from the screen or the printed schedule, choose an employee, then glance back at the schedule and figure out when you (the employee) are working. If you have a stopwatch, time yourself. If it takes more than half a minute, you may need to make some changes to your scheduling process.
What To Include On Your Weekly Schedule Template
In line with the keep-it-simple rule above, here are the basics to include on your weekly schedule template. We’ve also added a few suggestions for making your schedule easy to read.
Your schedule needs:
- Day of the week.
- Employee name.
- Hours your business is open.
- Some way to indicate that an employee is working certain hours (e.g., an X or a bar).
- The job the employee will be performing (if this changes from day to day).
If all employees are usually scheduled for one job (e.g., server or chef or hostess) and don’t switch very often, leave this last piece of information off your template so as not to clutter up the schedule.
That doesn’t mean that your host can’t grab an apron and cover for a server when the need arises. It simply means that you’re not scheduling employees for multiple jobs.
Other effective ways to keep your schedule simple include:
- Color coding each employee.
- Using small pictures of employees.
- Formatting your schedule as a table.
- Showing work time for each employee as a colored bar.
These are just a few basic suggestions for making your schedule as simple as possible while still conveying the necessary information.
How To Create Your Own Weekly Schedule Template
The best way to get started using a weekly schedule template is to create one yourself. Microsoft Excel is the natural choice for the do-it-yourself template because of its flexibility. It can take a significant amount of time to get everything set up the way you want, but when you get it finalized, the scheduling process will be much easier.
The only way to make this process simpler is to use scheduling software like Sling. We’ll show you the benefits of going that route in the next section. For now, let’s focus on setting up your own weekly schedule template in Excel.
Microsoft has already produced a good number of schedule templates for their suite of programs (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).
Here’s how to modify a ready-made template to fit your business.
- Download a template from the Microsoft website.
- Open the template with your copy of Excel.
- Templates usually come populated with employee names, work times, and jobs.
- Click into one of the employee name cells, and enter a new name. Repeat this process for all your employees.
- If you need to add or delete rows, right-click on a row and insert or delete as necessary.
- When you’ve finished entering the names, select the cells that contain those names and copy them.
- Paste those names into the other days of the week.
- Save your work.
- The template in the image above only goes from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., but you can change cells to reflect your needs. We suggest entering a range of time instead of a single hour. For example, in the 8:00 a.m. cell, enter 8:00-10:00 (or whatever hour range you need). In the 9:00 a.m. cell, enter 10:00-12:00. Continue this change until you’ve reached your business’s closing time.
- Now you can go through and enter the specific jobs that each employee will be performing. Just highlight the cell and type the job. Use the Tab key to advance to the next cell to the right.
- Finally, fill in the information at the top of the template. Be sure to include the date range to which this schedule applies.
- Print and distribute.
If you don’t have access to Excel or you’d like an even simpler weekly schedule template, check out the next section for details.
Weekly Schedule Template
To further reduce the stress of your work life, we’ve included a simple weekly schedule template at the bottom of this article. You can use it to quickly schedule up to eight employees for three different shifts.
These weekly schedule templates can make the process of organizing your employees somewhat less of a headache. But they do nothing to help with:
- Distributing the schedule.
- Communicating with employees.
- Keeping track of time-off.
- Finding substitutes.
Only one solution does that—and so much more: Sling.
Sling Makes Scheduling Easy
Sling is a work scheduler designed with the busy manager in mind. At its core, Sling addresses all the scheduling issues that a manager might face when scheduling employees. But it’s about more than just plugging names into time slots. It’s about making every aspect of the scheduling, distribution, and communication process easier.
The intuitive and well-organized scheduling tools Sling offers make it easy to create clear, easy-to-read schedules well in advance. The cloud-based platform solves the distribution problem by providing simple and convenient storage and distribution. Just post your schedule in the cloud for all your employees to see.
If that isn’t enough, you can even control who can view the schedule and who can make changes to it. All you have to do is give individuals permission or send them a link. They can log in to Sling to view the schedule anytime, anywhere.
Sling’s cloud-based program also provides a central location where employees can indicate when they’re available to work. Sling then displays reminders about double-bookings, time-off requests, and unavailability while you’re creating your schedule.
Sling also offers powerful communication tools that let you contact everyone at the same time, a specific group of employees, or just one person through the messages feature. This cuts down on the difficult task of finding substitutes.
These features, and many more, reduce the time it takes to create and manage your business’s schedules and employees. In fact, Sling helps managers bring teams together, keep everyone informed, and build better company culture.
You don’t have reinvent the wheel every time you create a schedule. You don’t have to rely on overly simplified templates that simply can’t address all your needs. You don’t have to conform your business to the features of a sub-standard scheduling program or template.
There’s a solution made especially for you: Sling. Visit GetSling.com today to try the Sling app for free.