Introducing new technology into the busy daily workflow of a pharmacy department can invariably be met with some level of anxiety or concern. Technology is often implemented to improve time spent on laborious manual processes. When it comes to staff scheduling, moving to an automated scheduling environment can provide beneficial staff outcomes upon adoption.
Here are five staff reactions that are commonly observed when moving to an automated scheduling system:
Increased staff accountability: Providing schedules four to six weeks in advance allows staff more time to plan their lives outside of work. In a web-based scheduling environment, staff can view the schedule from anywhere with access to the Internet. With improved transparency and awareness of their schedule, staff can better prepare for unexpected or last-minute needs for time off without disrupting the stability of the overall schedule. Staff can take accountability for their shifts by viewing when other employees are scheduled and noting opportunities for potential shift trades. Additionally, the automated schedule will send staff email alerts on the status of any shift trade request, creating peace of mind while saving the schedule manager the time of contacting employees directly with these communications.
Reduction in staff conflict and tension over the schedule: Employees in a manual schedule environment may feel frustrated with constant schedule changes, the lack of consistency to their schedule, and the poor communication about schedule expectations. These frustrations lead to poor morale and staff conflict. Implementing a systematic scheduling process improves the efficiency and accuracy of schedules provided to staff and significantly improves communication between staff and management. Everyone benefits from an automated scheduling environment that creates stability, consistency, and predictability.
Improved adherence to policies: In a manual scheduling environment, it can be very challenging to enforce policies and best practices around scheduling. Schedule managers often have a policy when making advance requests for vacation, but this policy can be difficult to track and enforce depending on the method of communication. Using an electronic, web-based tool can help enforce and monitor these policies. Policies and best practices become transparent at all levels and adherence can easily be monitored through reports generated by the system.
Increased staff competency and reduction in burnout: With an electronic scheduling system, shifts can be equitably distributed to staff across areas of competency in a manner consistent with your goals and policies. Shift count reports can be generated to reduce concerns about the staff being consistently rotated through competency areas.
Fewer requests for time off: Automated scheduling can also reduce the number of requests for time off, as employees are able to see vacation requests online across the entire department. Increased real-time access allows staff to easily see where time off has already been requested by coworkers and therefore times where their request may not be approved. Ultimately, schedule managers save time spent on evaluating time-off requests because fewer requests are flooding the schedule environment.
If you spend hours managing your pharmacy schedule, have to manually communicate changes, and experience surprises in overtime costs it may be time to consider an automated scheduling solution. Refer to the Pharmacy Scheduling Automation Buyer's Guide for tips to use in vetting various software providers.
StaffReady Scheduling can streamline your scheduling process, improving transparency and efficiency to staff scheduling. For more information, click here.