One of the biggest hassles for retail managers are the complications involved in scheduling. Juggling workers’ needs and desires is a classic conundrum, one that often presents such extreme challenges that new laws are cropping up around the country to enforce more consistent scheduling for hourly workers. Not to mention the hit your revenue takes with managers spending their time scheduling shifts and correcting time sheets.
With a little digital help in the scheduling department, these difficulties can be a thing of the past for retailers of all sizes. Let’s look at two different scenarios: (1) The trials and tribulations of a worker at a chain retailer using cumbersome, old-school methods of scheduling, and (2) that same worker handling scheduling with the help of a digital workplace.
Toward the end of her shift one day, our worker, Andrea, approaches her manager, Tina, to ask for a change in her schedule for later in the week. Tina brings out a paper schedule book and flips to the right page, where names and times are scrawled in pencil across every inch of white space. Some of the pencil marks have been erased and rewritten multiple times, so it’s almost impossible to read some of the boxes.
Andrea wants to give up the 8:00 am shift on Thursday and take the 4:00 pm shift instead. Three other employees are scheduled to work the 4:00 shift; Tina tells Andrea to call them to see if any are willing to trade. After her shift, Andrea loiters outside the store making calls and finally gets Tim to agree to trade with her on Thursday. She tells Tina, who makes yet another correction in her schedule book.
Later that night, Andrea realizes she also can’t make her 8:00 am shift on Friday either. She texts Tim to ask if he’ll switch with her that day too. He responds that he’s not scheduled on Friday. Andrea texts Tina to ask who is working that day and hears back after a few hours with a list of names. Andrea calls each of them to seek a trade, but no one can do it. She texts Tina back asking if it’s possible to drop the shift entirely.
Tina doesn’t want to bother doing the legwork to find someone else to fill the spot so she tells Andrea “no.” Andrea is disgruntled. She vows to find another job that causes less hassle and is more flexible as soon as she can.
The next month, Tina makes a big announcement to her staff: The company is implementing The WorkJam Digital Workplace platform, which comes equipped with a huge array of tools to help companies and workers collaborate better. One of those is a digital timecard. Another is a mechanism for submitting time-off requests.
But the ones that attract Andrea’s interest are the scheduling tools. Andrea downloads the app onto her phone and is immediately impressed that the home screen shows all her information, including when and where her next shift is scheduled.
Later that night, she remembers that she wants to trade her shift for the day after next with one later in the week. She opens her app, clicks on the shift she wants to change, and sees a variety of options. She can reach out to specific employee or group of employees via the app to request a trade. She can broadcast her interest in a swap to all workers to see if anyone wants to trade. Or she can broadcast that she simply wants to give up her shift and see if anyone wants to take it on.
Andrea decides to simply release her shift since she thinks she might prefer a little bit of time off instead of a trade. She clicks the button to release it and sees that within 15 minutes it’s been reserved by another worker, Ben. No texts or calls are required, and Tina has nothing to do with it at all.
To Andrea, this is impressive enough, but what she doesn’t know is that the app checked automatically whether Ben was permitted to take the shift based on overtime rules that the retailer set based on state legal requirements. Ben was cleared and was able to sign up for the timeslot. Meanwhile, Andrea was able to clear her schedule with the click of a button.
Later that week, Andrea decides she actually needs money more than vacation time and checks the app to see if any shifts are open. She hadn’t noticed before but the app allows her to sign up for shifts at different locations in the retailer’s chain, something that had never been an option before. With the click of a button she picks up a shift at a store about 15 minutes away, and is able to meet new people and work in a new location for a day.
Andrea decides not to look for a new job after all. With WorkJam, she feels in control and less bogged down with annoying logistics. She feels respected. She feels organized. WorkJam has changed everything.