Mike is an HR manager of a small security company in the UK. He manages a team of 50+ security guards serving across diverse roles. Besides, most of his security officers are deployed at different locations at dispersed schedules. Mike’s company is now planning to expand its operations, but here’s a problem.

For years, Mike has been relying on manual shift scheduling methods. The HR department looks like a giant store where files and paper-based records have piled up. Moreover, manual scheduling is very hectic and time-consuming. It sometimes takes Mike days or weeks to schedule the upcoming shifts. With a high possibility of human error, manual scheduling doesn’t seem to work. As a result, the company’s growth plans have been delayed indefinitely.

Technology has the solution, claims Mike’s friend John, an expert in digital shift scheduling. John says workforce management software decreased scheduling time, increased accuracy, and boosted team productivity. How?

Read this blog to learn how replacing manual methods with digital scheduling can help UK businesses improve their operational efficiency and expand the scope of their operations.

Challenges with Manual Shift Scheduling Process

Speed, accuracy, and reliability. All these things matter when managers assign shifts and create schedules for weeks or months. However, manual scheduling doesn’t deliver the expected results; here’s why:

challenges manual shift scheduling process


1. Hectic and Time-consuming

Creating schedules manually takes time, particularly when you have a large team of 50+ security guards. You have to review upcoming shifts, forecast labour requirements, and check staff availability individually. There is no integrated system where you can see all this information in one place.

Moreover, scheduling shifts on paper sheets is also problematic. You cannot share these schedules with your team remotely. Physical damage, inconsistency, or manual error risks are always high.

Eventually, you may need to change schedules and consume additional time fixing errors. Manual scheduling, therefore, kills your productivity and workplace efficiency. Your team might also feel less comfortable dealing with these manual schedules.

2. Delayed Decision-making

As a manager, you don’t have enough time to check shift details individually and create schedules accordingly. Manual scheduling might be feasible when dealing with a small team. However, as your team grows, the decision-making process also demands robustness with accuracy.

In manual shift scheduling, the information required to assign shifts is scattered at various places. Besides, the data is stored in paper-based records or files. The process involves reviewing these files individually, manually calculating, and creating schedules. You cannot detect any error or inconsistency; hence, the decision-making process can be delayed.

Transitioning to Digital Shift Scheduling

Cloud-based workforce management software offers digital shift scheduling. It streamlines the process and enables supervisors to complete their work quickly.

Here’s why businesses in the UK must adopt digital shift scheduling to become more competitive:

1. Create and Manage Shift Schedules Seamlessly

Workforce management software is more than a shift scheduling system. It is a fully integrated and automated system that combines the power of technology with modern HR practices to streamline the scheduling process.

With this robust system, managers can access their desired information, like upcoming shifts, client requirements, and time and place, all in one place. The dashboard also displays each security officer’s skillsets and availability status. The centralized system eliminates the need to check the details of each shift individually.

As a result, managers can create flexible schedules, assign shifts, and share information across their teams seamlessly.

2. Access Dashboard Anytime, Anywhere

Most scheduling software is cloud-based. It doesn’t need device installation and can be accessed remotely. All data and activities are stored in the highly secure cloud server.

The cloud nature of workforce management systems has three unique benefits. First, it allows HR managers to create or amend schedules or check the shift status remotely. Even if they are outside their office, let’s assume on holidays, they can still access their dashboard and perform their desired operations without any restriction of time and place.

Secondly, cloud-based solutions are easy to use. They have an interactive and user-friendly dashboard that provides real-time insights into team performance. Lastly, managers can leverage the cloud to protect confidential data from cybersecurity threats.

3. Improved Accuracy, Lesser Conflicts

Wrong time and date, inconsistency, or last-minute changes in schedules. These factors can contribute to chaos in your shift planning, thus making manual scheduling less efficient. Sometimes, the unexpected absence of a security officer can also create problems for managers and clients.

Digital scheduling systems, on the other hand, can address all these problems. Managers can see all their desired information in one place, whether pending shifts, available staff, guard expertise, or service area. Instead of checking every detail individually, they can drag and drop the most suitable guards against each shift and seamlessly create weekly or monthly schedules.

The result is fewer conflicts with improved accuracy, leading to high satisfaction among security officers.

4. Cost-optimization

The more the number of security officers, the more resources you need to create schedules manually. New hires, training, and onboarding would considerably increase your operational expenses. Despite spending so much on shift scheduling, you cannot eliminate inconsistencies in manual processes.

Conversely, digital shift scheduling is accurate, reliable, and fast. Only one HR manager can assign shifts in a few hours for the coming weeks or months. There are no inaccuracies or human errors; hence, there is no need to adjust or fix mistakes.

Eventually, businesses can significantly reduce their labour costs by scheduling shifts with digital workforce management software. Accurate labour forecasting and scheduling can increase team productivity and save precious hours. Employees can spend that time finding future growth opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Organizational practices keep changing with ever-evolving technologies. Before the advent of computers, shifts were assigned on paper sheets. HR managers would spend days or weeks creating schedules manually.

Today, we live in a digital era where everything is automated, including the shift scheduling process. Cloud-based workforce management software has made scheduling easier and seamless. Supervisors can access their desired information on a single dashboard and use the drop-and-down option to create flexible schedules per the client’s requirements.

Moreover, the cloud offers accessibility and accuracy in operations. Hence, companies can save time and resources and focus more on business development.