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The 10 Rules of Rota Creation

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

The creation of a rota can be difficult as you not only have to consider your customer’s needs but also ensure your employees are satisfied with their work/life balance, as this has become a strong motivational element for most people.

It usually comes back to what I call your “wellbeing blueprint” which focuses on finding the right balance between making your staff & your business happy.

Let’s face it, rota creation can be a complete headache and I have met with clients who have lost money due to lack of staff, or not revisited the rota as “it’s always been that way”.

Having 1 rota template that works for every business is impossible as there are too many factors to consider.

Let me introduce you to my 10 rules to consider when creating a rota.

1.Know your costs

Knowing your hourly cost is the most important aspect of your business.

A simple way of calculating this is to take your total cost for the year / 52 weeks in the year / number of opening hours in your week.

The aim is to understand when your costs are being covered compared to the hourly revenue and focus on that. It will mean that we will need to have more staff when it matters.

2. Your room / chair occupancy

This is one of the most important aspects of rota management and strategy planning.

To know the occupancy of your rooms per day and per hour if possible is so important as it will give you an understanding of when your customer demand is.

Now you might tell me that you know when that is but I only trust black and white evidence. I believe in your gut instinct but having a figure backing up what you are saying is the only way to make your business productive efficiently.

I’ll give you an example, one of my clients had a top floor with 3 beauty rooms, each around the 20% occupancy mark. This means that it isn’t profitable for her, therefore, we focused on the ground floor to get these rooms fully occupied whilst we can review what to do with the top floor: rent the space, introduce yoga sessions etc.

3. Staff occupancy

Of course, your staff occupancy is the benchmark as to whether you should recruit or not. Any occupancy over the 85% mark means that means you need to recruit. If one of your staff isn’t on that but the rest is, you need to analyse their performance to see if that’s the issue, but it can also be that they are not on an efficient rota and you will need to review.

4. Days occupancy

This is the most important aspect of your rota, analyse the demand on a day to day basis with your staff & room / chair occupancy will give you a strong benchmark as to whether your rota is functioning efficiently.

5. Hourly customer demands

The hour customer demand is also very important. Too many people on an early shift for example can be detrimental to the business when you have customers who are wanting evening appointments.

Hourly also means that you can check the lunch breaks. In hair it tends to be more fluid but in beauty, their breaks are set. In busy days, I used to have what we called a “floater” who was a therapist on a self-employed contract used to cover the lunch breaks so the rooms were fully occupied.

6. Ideal Rota

I ask them, if you had a magic wand, what would your ideal rota look like?

You will be surprised that it’s not always Monday to Friday and 9-5 as they know the needs of the industry. But knowing what would make them happy allows you to consider their needs when creating a rota. I might not be able to answer all of their needs, only some of them but I will be happy with that.

7. Balancing part time vs full time

I have met business owners with part time staff only, I am still unsure about it if I am honest, I believe that the full time staff will give you more commitment in the long run. I think that a balance of full and part time staff in the business is better, with the emphasis of a core team of full timers and having the part timers that can fill in your diary as and when you need is ideal.

8. Analyse Sunday business

Oh! Sunday or no Sundays, that is the big question! I used to think we must, have to and no questions about it open on Sundays. However it should be a complete analysis of all the points above that gives you an answer as the simple fact is: finding staff for Sundays can be difficult.

It’s funny as I always loved to work Sundays, customers were more chilled! The team too, we always had good vibes!

I have clients that are closed on Sundays and Mondays so their core team is working Tuesdays to Saturdays. This works as the HR costs are less since you don’t have to employ anyone to cover these days.

I have clients who are paying their staff time and half as “no one wants to work Sundays”…

I have clients who are simply not opening on Sundays as it’s not a necessity.

My view on Sundays? As long as you analyse your business, you will find the answer. Be aware that in a big town, it will be difficult to close Sundays, therefore, this should be part of your business growth. From the strategy that you are implementing, consider opening longer hours. In the UK, to open longer hours on Sundays isn’t an issue as long as you are not a huge space (it’s down to the square metres). It’s a matter of paying the council more money to open longer. If you consider opening 10 till 6 instead of 10 to 4 then you are gaining 2 hours and in a month that’s an extra day trading… extremely beneficial!

I have clients that refuse to open for the wellness of their staff and their sanity. If you have a profitable business, then that’s okay but if you don’t then you must review Sunday trading.

9. Your rota

I wouldn’t add your own hours to the staff rota. Why? Because as a leader you should be in charge of your own hours and if you want to grow the business, you need to step away as and when you want. Consider yourself as an add on to the figures and business.

10. Consider a 4-day week rota for full timers

I am a huge fan of the 4-day week rota for full timers, this allows your staff to have 3 days off and work longer hours when they are in.

It means that you can schedule the times more efficiently, in terms of your staff wellness, they tend to prefer it but also, it allows you to have the same team in on a day to day basis (no one leaves early on a daily basis, it’s ideal!

To conclude, in order to create a rota that works for you and your business you need to make decisions based on fact, figures and analysis. There is no one size fits all approach! This will allow you to ensure you are creating growth in times of your business that is a necessity but also it will ensure that your staff are happy with their scheduled days.

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