3 Solutions To These Common Last-Minute Scheduling Problems

5 min read

No matter the industry, an hourly workforce can be as unpredictable as the weather.

One minute you have a fully staffed workforce, the next, you’re playing telephone tag trying to find a replacement for an employee who just called in sick.

One change at the wrong time can create a ripple effect and negatively affect your entire workforce.

Add in late punch ins, a personal crisis into the mix and suddenly last-minute changes have become the new normal #thanksbutnothanks.

Dealing with last-minute scheduling changes can wreak serious havoc on your business and employees in more ways than one.

From employee disengagement to financial loss, the consequences are long-term.

According to Quebec lawyer Daniel Leduc:

“Employers dedicate up to 20% of their payroll solely to direct and indirect costs related to unexpected absences.”

Additionally, If you can’t get enough employees on shift, customer service will suffer. 

And if your dissatisfied customers decide not to return to your business, you lose profits.

Moral of the story? 

As much as you can’t control the unpredictable nature of scheduling changes from taking place, you can learn how to minimize their impacts and react accordingly.

Here are 3 solutions to common last-minute scheduling changes: 

1. Manage Absenteeism, aka No Shows By Creating a Standby Pool

Did you know that unscheduled absenteeism in the workplace can cost you an estimated $3,600 per year per hourly worker?

Another fun fact: slightly more than 52% of absenteeism isn’t related to illness.

Understanding the core drivers behind it, such as low employee morale, high disengagement and lack of flexibility in the workplace goes a long way in decreasing it in the first place.

In fact, companies with high morale had one-third less absenteeism than those with low morale.

Study after study reveals how employee disengagement has a strong correlation to absenteeism. 

While 78% of employees said flexible work arrangements made them more productive.

Once you get the core drivers under check, an actionable way to manage no-shows is by creating a standby pool.

In other words: Create a small group of highly flexible employees who act as a standby solution and can jump in (pun intended) at a moment’s notice to fill a shift.

These pools can include part-time employees, contingent workers, and even full-time employees that seek overtime opportunities.

With Evolia, you can easily assign shifts to standby employees and be notified when they accept it.

Alternatively, if you have a qualified employee in mind, you can reassign a shift directly to them.

By automating the time-consuming task of finding the optimal employee to fill a last-minute shift you can get back to growing your business.

Recommended Reading: The Complete Guide to Successful 24/7 Employee Scheduling

2. Deal with Changes in Shift Availabilities By Empowering Employees to Swap Shifts With One Another

Real life happens and it’s something that’s out of your control.

Whether an employee falls ill or needs to change their work shift due to personal reasons, it falls back on you, the manager, who needs to think on their feet and react accordingly.

The hourly workforce is a scheduling puzzle.

Trying to find the right piece to fill in the missing gap while focusing on the big picture is key.

Filling shifts on the fly is not only stressful for the employer but disruptive to the workforce as a whole.

Nobody likes getting stuck with an undesired shift. 

Instead of dealing with the back/forth of finding a suitable replacement, why not empower employees to take charge of their own schedules?

More specifically: Swap shifts with one another in real-time.

You can choose the degree of flexibility you want to give by deciding whether to approve the swap as well. 

With customizable rules in place, employees can communicate and swap shifts with one another directly on their mobile device using an employee scheduling app like Evolia.

With more flexibility in selecting shifts, employee absenteeism is reduced and a productive workforce starts taking shape.

3. Keep Everyone in the Loop of Unpredictable Scheduling Changes Using Automated Notifications 

An easier and less time-consuming solution would be to use an employee  

scheduling platform that automatically notifies employees (via their method of choice) of any changes that affect their scheduling.

 Whether it be through push notifications or email, a workforce management solution like Evolia takes care of the heavy lifting for you by keeping all your employees in the loop.

That way, any changes in rotating shifts (like in manufacturing shift schedules) don’t go unnoticed and are properly aligned with each of your departments and production lines.

Additionally, employees across different departments can communicate directly with one another with their mobile devices via the user-friendly team messaging software.


Despite these common last-minute scheduling problems that arise, managing your workforce doesn’t have to be difficult.

 As much as you can’t control the unpredictable nature that comes from it, you can learn how to react to it in an efficient manner. 

Whether it be no-shows, a change in availability or unpredictable scheduling changes, there’s a solution to every problem.

Through automation and smart scheduling, a workforce management solution will save you time and headaches in the long run.

By leveraging workforce technology that does the thinking for you, you’re getting back time in your day to focus on what matters most: growing your business. 

Need help with recruiting, scheduling and managing your workforce? Start a free trial of Evolia today

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