Once you’ve determined your schedule, you can preview the upcoming shifts. Click the “Actions” button in the right corner of the menu and select “Create Preview Shifts”.
Before the shifts are created to be previewed, you will be asked to confirm a few options.
- Assigning Shift Order
- Start Time (Early First) - This option is the default and is the original method. This will assign shifts in the order they will appear on the schedule. This means any unassigned shifts are more likely at the end of the day (as the early shifts are filled first).
- Start Time (Late First) - This will assign shifts in reverse order to how they appear on the schedule. This means any unassigned shifts are more likely at the start of the day (as the later shifts are filled first).
- Skill/Role Order - This order will use the order of skills/roles that you have configured when creating and editing the skills/roles. This allows you to populate some skills/roles first regardless of when the shift will take place.
- Week days first - This will assign shifts for Mondays to Fridays first before assigning shifts for Saturday and Sunday. This means you are more likely to successfully fill shifts mid-week. It’s useful if you have more staff available on weekends as it will ensure those who can work mid-week are assigned first.
- Weekends First - This will assign shifts for Saturday and Sunday first before assigning shifts for Mondays to Fridays. This means you are more likely to successfully fill shifts during the weekend. It’s useful if you have more staff available on week days as it will ensure those who can work weekends are assigned first.
- Prioritise Minimum Contracted Hours - When enabled, this will temporarily ignore your fill options when creating a shift schedule. It will automatically review all staff members eligible to work each shift in the schedule. If a staff member has not yet been assigned the minimum hours then the system will attempt to assign them to that shift.Restrictions such as holiday, weekly preferences, role requirements and other shifts might prevent them from being assigned but they will remain a priority until their contracted hours are met.Once all minimum contracted hours are met then the shifts will be assigned based on the fill options set on the template.This option can also enable Shift Shuffling.
- Gap between shifts - This is an additional option on top of any contracted rest periods that allows you to force the schedule logic to provide additional spaces between shifts. This is useful to prevent staff working in two places within one day for example. Note: this is only for the purposes of scheduling the shifts in this tool. It won’t prevent staff from taking shifts. You will need contract restrictions to enforce that rule.
- Unable to Fill Shift - What should the system do if it cannot find a staff member to work a shift? It can simply ignore it (and tell you), create extra shifts (which will be available for staff to take themselves), create offered shifts (staff offer to work it and managers make the final decision) or create unassigned shifts (which you need to allocate manually).
- Schedule Dates - This allows you to only generate part of the schedule. It’s perfect if you have scheduled several weeks or months but you want to only generate part of it at the moment. You can always generate the remaining scheduled templates later.
If you are happy to, click “Process Schedule”. You will be asked to confirm whether you would like to generate the preview at this time - as it can take some time to load.
A confirmation message will appear saying how many shifts have been created and if there were any issues in the creation of the preview. Click “Display Issues” to see more information here.
Click “View Preview” to view the new shifts. In the Summary view, this shows you the number of shifts that have been created for staff members and their total hours to be worked.
The calendar view shows you how many shifts have been assigned to which days. Clicking on the Details link on any day will show you the shift summary for that day.
If you are happy about the shifts (staff, hours, etc.) then click the “Actions” button in the corner of the menu and select “Convert Shifts to Real Shifts”. You can confirm whether you are happy to publish the schedule, and whether shift swapping is allowed (normal or locked shifts) and whether you want to hide the shifts for now.
Once happy with the information, click “Process shifts”. This will then add all of the preview shifts into the main shift management pages; Manage Shifts and Manage Shift Week.
*Publish Shifts with a set a start date range. Previously you could limit the publishing of shifts to everything up to a date. You can now also set a start date. This allows you to publish a fixed period of shifts early (such a Christmas or festival period) without publishing all upcoming shifts.To use: Shifts > Manage shifts > Under the Action Bar you can then Publish Shifts.
The system will attempt to assign all shifts in sequence. If the prioritise Meeting Contracted Hours setting is enabled, a special sequence will then be performed. The system will review if any staff members are under their contracted hours. For each of these staff members, the system then views if there are any shifts they can take from staff who have been assigned more hours than they need. When this is the case, the shift will be moved to the staff member who has not received enough hours. This process is called shuffling. It is designed to mimic the manual actions managers often do once they have created the first draft of a schedule. Once all shifts have been assigned then it is easier to see which staff can give up some shifts to others to ensure minimum contracted hours are met.
These two tools should ensure that, whenever possible, staff are assigned their minimum number of hours. There are still limitations.
Identifying Reasons for Unfilled Shifts
The system can provide a detailed list of all staff who have the roles assigned to work a shift but cannot be assigned the shift for a particular reason.
Open up the list of unassigned/extra shifts on the preview shifts page.
Next to each shift will be a button titled Why. This will bring up the list of the staff with the right roles and access to the venue. Next to each staff member will be a red or orange bar with the reason the staff member can’t be assigned a shift.
Orange bars mean the staff member could accept the shift once the schedule is published (the schedule tool might not be able to assign it automatically). Red bars mean they would not be able to accept the shift once published either.