How to Start Building Efficient Team Schedules

how to effective schedule your team

While the importance of time management is undeniable, many companies have no formal time management processes or systems in place. 

If you are struggling with efficient team schedule design, this article offers advice on using resource management and improved time management practices to optimise efficiency in your teams and avoid employee burnout. 


Identify Their Available Time

Survey team members concerning their best and most available times for better resource planning and allocation. Knowing their schedule is vital, especially with a hybrid work model—not everybody is available simultaneously.

Here are tips on how to ask the question regarding your team’s availability:

  • Ask directly. Most people appreciate direct communication, especially when discussing their work schedules. Approach a person and ask for their availability. Be specific about dates and times. 
  • Use well-phrased questions. Phrase the question in a considerate manner, asking  something like Are you free on [date and time]? Sometimes, an overly direct approach can elicit a defensive response.
  • Suggest options. Ask a close-ended question followed up by a suggestion. For example, ask your team if they are available on [date and time]. If they say yes, the conversation ends there. If they answer no, follow up with an open-ended question like What time works best for you instead?

Organize Activities According to Priority

Organizing activities from least to most important allows your team to focus on the ones that matter the most and maximize their energy and effort.

While organizational skills may be second nature to some team leaders, it is a challenge for many. A simple way to address this would be to get into the habit of creating a list of prioritised tasks, perhaps using the recognised methods below:

  • Use the ABCDE method – Assign tasks a letter based on importance. Those under the A category are your highest priority; tasks under the E category are your low-priority tasks.
  • Follow the Eisenhower Decision Matrix – Organize tasks into these four quadrants: (1) Important, (2) Important and Urgent, (3) Urgent, and (4) Neither. Then, attend to the tasks according to category.
  • Eat the frog – Regularly identify the most complex and vital tasks, and tackle them first. Then, work on the less important ones.

Schedule Tasks Reasonably

Having effectively ascertained a reliable overview of your team’s availability, use it to schedule tasks based on what your team members can reasonably manage. Not overloading individuals with tasks builds crucial flexibility into everyone’s work schedules

Here are tips on how to schedule tasks responsibly:

  • Use scheduling solutions. After each individual inputs their schedule and varying types of work activities,resource scheduling software automates your team’s availability for different tasks without the need for constant oversight from staff. 
  • Set a time limit. Encourage your team members to focus on one task at a time, and outline clearly how much time you think it should take. This gives helpful support on how much time and effort to dedicate to getting it done.
  • Establish standards and course-correct as needed. Establish rules and share with your team how you prefer them to work through the task list. For example, create an onboarding process that details how to execute the tasks properly. Also, include a checklist of what they must complete before handing the project to the next person. To ensure that your team follows and understands the guidelines, use a project management tool. From here, you can properly measure their performance and make revisions as necessary.

Prepare Contingency Time

Allot time for emergencies. There will be unexpected events that you and your members encounter while working on a task or project. Planning ahead for these emergencies gives you and your team breathing room and avoids regular backlogs or missed targets and deadlines.

One way to do this using TIMIFY is with its split booking feature. You can break down a project into smaller phases assigned to each team member. 

At the same time, there may be other aspects of your project that aren’t accounted for, like admin tasks or changeovers. The buffer time feature enables you to allot extra time before and after appointments to ensure these tasks are done, while maintaining a smooth-running schedule.

Below are other ways you can schedule your team’s schedule properly by considering all possibilities.

  • Identify risks. Create a list of risks and weigh each item based on its likelihood of happening. Then, factor in what triggers these risks. Specify realistic solutions and immediate responses to circumvent them.
  • Design a Plan B. Devise a backup plan. For example, if one of your team members becomes unavailable for the entire project, have someone in mind who could take their place.
  • Discuss with, and get the approval of, your team. Gather your team and discuss the possibility of emergencies – they may visualise scenarios you may not have considered. Make sure each team member understands the risks and the contingency plan, and be sure to review and amend plans as you go.

Set Up Rules for Communication

Establish a system that allows employees to efficiently communicate updates on, or challenges with tasks. This system allows you to resolve any obstacles preventing your team from working and functioning at its best.

  • Share feedback. Effective communication is about providing team membersfrom sales operations to customer support—constructive feedback regarding their performance. Provide them with data or customer comments to illustrate an issue,  while acknowledging the hard work they put into it. This helps drive data-driven decisions instead of one manager’s opinion on an issue and the best action to take. 
  • Create a receptive environment. At the same time, institute an open-door policy. Foster a workplace environment that encourages your team to discuss matters with you at any time. 
  • Use tools to streamline processes. Install must-have software tools like chat and CRM systems. If your team can attend to work more effectively, they can communicate more effectively with you.

Conclusion

To wrap things up, factor in individual personalities when building efficient team schedules. Think of every team member as a piece in a puzzle—each one is as essential as the others.

While this idea seems fundamental, many team leaders neglect it. They often forget the role individual personalities play in the workplace. 

Avoid side-tracking the role of personalities. Learn about your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, skills, and personality types.

Once you’ve figured all these out, you’ll have the freedom and flexibility to create an efficient team schedule. 

Christopher Jan Benitez
Christopher Jan Benitez

Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer for hire specializing in digital marketing. His work has been published on SEO and affiliate marketing-specific niches like Monitor Backlinks, Niche Pursuits, Nichehacks, Web Hosting Secret Revealed, and others

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