Creating a schedule for your staff members that work a set Monday through Friday schedule might sound redundant, but it’s actually one of the best ways to increase productivity and deliver your projects on time.
Although set schedules seem predictable, people often have regular appointments, leave early, and sometimes work remotely.
For example, your HR person might need to leave early every other Wednesday, and your software programmer may have an appointment in the middle of the day on the 15th of every month. Your head of marketing might work remotely on Mondays and Thursdays, and your Facebook ad team might like to vary the days they work remotely.
While these scenarios are understandable, these completely normal variations in “set” schedules might be creating chaos in your office.
The chaos doesn’t come from the actual schedule variations, but from the plans that get halted because your team doesn’t know when people won’t be around.
As the boss, you might know where your team members are, but if your staff doesn’t, it can have the same impact on your company as someone who calls in sick.
Here are five reasons you should create a work schedule for your staff members—including their remote days—no matter what.
1. Schedules support productive collaboration
If you have employees who often need to collaborate with each other in person (like software programmers and designers), unplanned remote days and days cut short can put a project behind.
When one of your employees is counting on someone else to be in the office the next day in order to move forward with their part of the project, and that person is absent, it leads to a wasted day.
When your employees can see everyone’s schedule for the week, including days where they plan to work remotely or have scheduled appointments, your whole team will know well in advance when they can count on being able to collaborate in person.
Solve the problem automatically
You can send out an email blast every time someone’s schedule deviates from the 9-5 norm, but that’s not efficient. And because you can’t expect people to remember an entire office full of special appointments, you need to automate the way you schedule your staff.
You can accomplish this by using shift planning software that allows all employees to see everyone’s schedule, preventing unproductive days that come from waiting around for people who never intended to show up.
2. Your big boss might come in unannounced
Most IT companies allow their staff to work remotely on some days. Even though a team member is getting work done from home, not being present in the office means they could miss an important, unannounced appearance by the big boss.
When you get an early morning call from your head boss letting you know they’ve just arrived in the area for a surprise visit, if you’ve scheduled your staff’s remote days, you’ll know who you need to call quickly to get them to come in for a couple of hours.
If you don’t have your staff’s remote days scheduled, when they don’t show up in the morning because they didn’t feel like getting out of bed, you’ll probably assume they’re just late. And when your boss shows up, you’ll have to provide an excuse for your missing staff members.
3. People work best with structure
The idea of letting staff members come and go as they please sounds like a great idea if all you want is for them to like you. But this practice can actually work against you.
Structure facilitates time management, and time management leads to achieving outcomes. Without structure, it’s difficult to set goals and measure your progress along the way.
Structure also allows for the free flow of information and collaboration between team members. Most of all, it ensures everyone’s time is respected.
4. Prevent missed mini meetings
While it’s always a good idea to plan your meetings ahead of time so everyone can be prepared, sometimes mini-meetings with only a day’s notice are necessary.
When you schedule your staff’s workweek, it’s easier for you to plan these mini-meetings for days when you know everyone will be in the office. Without a schedule, you’re risking a lack of attendance by those who like to take unscheduled remote days.
Don’t be afraid to change the rules
If you’ve already established a casual environment where your staff members can come and go as they please, don’t be afraid to implement some structure in the form of a schedule.
You just have to explain to your team why you’re choosing to change things up. When your team knows how the structure will specifically benefit them, they’ll be more likely to accept the change, and it won’t be long before you see your office running more productively.