When working in HR or managing a team, you have probably already experienced some timetable issues with your coworkers. If they need to work on the same day or take some time off at the same time but can't, this can get frustrating for everyone and can have a serious impact on the company. So how do we handle scheduling conflicts at work? Even though calendar conflicts in the workplace have always existed, the rise of work flexibility makes it even trickier. How do your workers know on which day and at what time there are desk availabilities in the office? Can they be sure to have a meeting room free whenever they need it? While hybrid work and flexitime are two major trends in the future of work, they both require some adaptability from companies. Thanks to our remote management tool, we support you in creating a modern employee-centric business. Discover the best practices to avoid scheduling conflicts as much as possible.
Identify the types of scheduling conflicts
Before trying to find solutions to reduce timetable issues, it is very important to identify which types of scheduling conflicts are impacting your workforce. There are 5 main sorts of calendar issues that you can experience:
Overlapping events: an employee is requested for two different meetings overlapping each other;
Confusion about employees' work location: employees are assigned an on-site meeting when they are working from home;
Unofficial time slots swapping: exchanging office or remote slots with other team members without communicating officially about it;
Double booking: an employee is scheduled for two different tasks exactly in the same time slot;
Last-minute changes: the team calendar has to be reshuffled because of an unexpected event (sick day, traffic jam issue, etc.).
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Create a hybrid calendar guideline
Your workforce needs to know the rules about their timetable. How many hours per week are they supposed to work? Can they choose to do home office all the time or is it mandatory to come on-site a minimum number of days per week/month? Do you request them to start working at a specific time or do you promote flexitime? These are all questions that need to be discussed with your workforce.
Especially when managing hybrid teams, not having clear guidelines about how they can arrange their schedules creates a high risk of confusion and possible conflict. For instance, the frustration resulting from these issues can severely impact the workplace culture and employee productivity in general. In terms of the company’s success, this is not an ideal situation to be in. Consequently, setting up a policy about how your hybrid work model is supposed to work is a smart move. And, don’t hesitate to update it when necessary.
Promote communication among the team
If any tension is rising, attempt to solve the problem by encouraging your team members to talk about it in a constructive manner. Let each person share their opinion and try to come up with a fair solution that can satisfy both employees. Arrange a time and a place to meet to clear up the situation and find a positive outcome.
This can be done physically around a table or a coffee when coming on site, or virtually when people are working remotely. If you choose to resolve the problem remotely, you can talk about it over a digital communication tool such as Slack or Zoom. Keep in mind that when it comes to communication, the tone of voice and body language are very important. Therefore, video calls are a better choice to solve a conflict between two team members remotley.
➡️ Is your workforce expressing a feeling of exhaustion after digital working days? Discover how to overcome Zoom fatigue.
Plan a backup solution
A great way to easily cut down scheduling conflicts in the workplace is to always have a backup solution. Here are two different options you can implement in your team management process.
Create a weekly backup system
A fair and effective solution is to create a backup rotating system. With your team, you assign one ‘backup person’ for each week. This way, if there is an issue with the agenda of your workers, the backup person can help solve this problem. For example, Mark is working at the office on Wednesday and Elena is working from home. Peter is also operating from home, but he is assigned as the ‘backup person’ this week. Unfortunately, Mark’s daughter is sick and he needs to work from home. Elena can’t come instead of Mark as she has a medical appointment on that day. As both need to work from home, asking Elena to come to the office and eventually, make her miss her appointment, may create tensions and frustration. To erase this matter, and because Peter is the ‘backup person’ that week, you ask him to come to the office even though this is not initially planned on his agenda.
Require your employees to have a plan B
Another easy and quick way to solve an employee scheduling issue is to request your team members to always mention an alternative that could work in their agenda. Some people may not have anything specific planned during the week and can be open to swapping home office and on-site days. Letting their colleagues know that they don’t mind swapping days is a great way to create a positive atmosphere among the team and avoid timetable issues.
➡️ Successful businesses are focusing on creating a people-first culture, read our article about employee-centricity to learn more about it!
Adopt a remote management tool
The best way to handle a hybrid team and their timetable in a simple, smooth and straightforward manner is to adopt a remote management tool. This is a must for every modern company with a hybrid model. As the new way of working includes more flexibility in the workplace, managing office space and employees' schedules requires effective organisational procedures. This is an easy task that can be automatised. Automation helps companies become more efficient and productive. Therefore, using a centralised employee scheduling software such as deskbird is the ideal solution for businesses to avoid scheduling conflicts without spending too much time on it.
With a week planning app, your workforce can easily have a quick glimpse at the time slot available as well as the desk and meeting room options. Within a few clicks, they can organise their weekly hybrid schedule with a mix of home and office slots. They can also choose where to work when they are at the office (single desk, meeting rooms, collaborative workspaces and so on) and for how long (full day, half-day, two hours, etc.). The deskbird app is simply the best tool to embrace hybrid work and improve employee experience!
You are now aware of the best practices to minimise scheduling conflicts that could arise when implementing a hybrid work model. Whichever methods you choose to use, always keep in mind to stay people-focused as being employee-centric is the key to a successful business! We hope this article helps you manage your employees’ timetables better and find solutions that can answer everybody's needs. Feel free to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest topics about the hybrid work!
Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.