Creating an employee schedule is an essential part of running your business. But for a lot of employers, the process can be time consuming, disorganized and sometimes just plain aggravating

On average, managers spend about 25% of their time to make a schedule each week and to deal with schedule management issues, like managing shift swaps. Something that’s so integral to your everyday business operations should be simpler for you and your team.

Below are some steps you can take when creating the employee schedule each week to get some of your time back, optimize shift coverage, and increase both worker and customer satisfaction.

Plan the employee schedule two weeks in advance

Shift schedules are often put together at the last minute, distributed a week–or less–before employees are expected to work. This leaves little time for employees, especially students and those with other jobs, to plan accordingly. In today’s gig economy, many hourly workers are balancing multiple shift positions and the earlier they can get a schedule, the higher their satisfaction rate will be.

Providing an employee schedule in ample time can be difficult, though, without availability and shift requests in one convenient place. While two weeks out might sound a little daunting, having a system that helps you keep track of existing shifts and updates can alleviate a lot of that employee scheduling stress.

Examine how you share schedules with employees

Many employers still publish the employee schedule via paper. While that method might have made sense 10 years ago, it’s now an outdated and ineffective way to share shift schedule information.

Consider how your employees will keep track of shift schedules that have been printed out. They might take a picture of the schedule with their cell phone, write it down to take home or even hope they just remember. This makes it hard to hold everyone accountable for staying on top of the staff schedule, especially if there are any changes. It also means your managers are more likely to waste time answering calls from employees about their work schedules.

Empower shift change requests

Shift changes are inevitable when it comes to your schedule, especially with workers who are still in school. Most workers request shift changes through conversations with managers. This creates an opportunity for a request to possibly get lost or forgotten during a busy day.

Providing your team with a convenient, reliable way to submit these requests makes the process a little easier for everyone. Having a system in place can also help keep track of requests, so you can catch any patterns or problems.

Make swapping shifts simple

Employees want more control over their schedules as well, especially when it comes to trading and claiming shifts.  Providing your employees with a reliable way to communicate about shift changes is one more way to keep things running smoothly without disrupting day-to-day business. Mobile employee scheduling packages such as TimePro, let workers coordinate shift changes and then managers just need to approve—saving everyone a lot of time and back-and-forth.

Start embracing technology

Technology is making it easier for both you and your employees to have a clear, updated schedule on hand wherever you are. Creating schedules, sharing updates and shift requests don’t need to be done on paper anymore. On-line scheduling software can dramatically reduce the time it takes to create and distribute a shift schedule. Your desktop or mobile device is all you need to start relieving the daily headaches of employee schedule management and help you get back to work.

Scheduling doesn’t have to be an overwhelming part of the job. Finding tools that work for your business, making it easy for employees to access shift schedules, and planning ahead can help you get back one of your most precious resources: your time.

A new way to schedule, share and trade shifts

TimePro has a variety of features to help get rid of all the paper clutter and make schedule management–and everything that goes with it–easier for you and your team. Our new employee scheduling features work alongside what you already use with TimePro to find, hire and communicate with your hourly workers.

In 10 minutes, you can create and distribute your shift schedule and get back to running your business. Employees can view schedule changes, trade shifts and more, without ever having to call or come in to the workplace.