guest writer sarah mercer of hotschedules on staffing shortages during flu season

Sarah Mercer, of Hot Schedules, discusses how better scheduling tools can help with staffing shortages during flu season.

Fight Off Flu Season Staffing Shortages with Better Scheduling Tools With a new year comes a new chance to catch the flu.

You could have the healthiest staff this side of Whole Foods, where everyone exercises, takes their B Vitamins, washes their hands five times an hour, and gets enough sleep and vaccinations on time, but still, someone can come down with the flu.

Flu season typically runs from October to May, but commonly peaks in the United States between the December and February months. These are important months for a restaurant with winter holiday parties creating the momentum to carry you through the entire year.

While you as a manager can’t prevent one of your staff members from being taken down with the flu, you can take the necessary steps to ensure that you and your staff won’t get caught off guard when someone is actually out sick. Luckily, this is where HotSchedules shines.

In-App Messaging

When an employee comes down with the flu or another unplanned emergency, how is he or she supposed to communicate that to management? HotSchedules gives every employee the ability to communicate quickly and easily with everyone in the restaurant-- from management, to the FOH, and the BOH. As a manager, you can use the “Broadcast Message” feature to send notices to all your employees regarding a sick employee, or call an emergency staff meeting because of a short-staffed team!

Shift Swapping

When one employee gets sick there’s got to be another person ready to take the shift. But if your company is using a spreadsheet to manage your schedules - the manager is left sending smoke signals to employees to figure out who’s available. HotSchedules has an easy way to provide simple and more efficient shift swapping among your employees. The “Staff List” tab allows employees to see a full list of contact information for workers in the restaurant, just click to switch, click to pick up and off you go. All the manager has to do is approve the shift swap - and boom - you’re covered!

HotSchedules has also created a “House Shift” which is an unassigned shift in the schedule. If a manager is creating a schedule and realizes there are quite a few employees out, he can create a “House Shift” or two, and employees can request to take them. This functions as the most important shift swap because a House Shift indicates major holes that need to be filled.

Time Off and Availability

Flu season is an important time for managers to get their schedules straight, and HotSchedules can help with managing your employees’ time off and availability requests. HotSchedules combines both the Time Off and Requests functions to allow for an easy schedule creation. Whether creating a brand new schedule, or finding a last minute replacement, managers are able to see every employee’s availability, and can approve or deny time off requests. And even if an employee is out with the flu, the manager can quickly find an employee to cover his or her shift.

With HotSchedules, you’ll be in a perfect position to combat the flu season.

Servingintel integrates with Hot Schedules. Call 888-477-7711, option 2 today to find out more.

Sarah Mercer
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