Rota Planning Glossary
This glossary covers key terminology related to rota planning, shift scheduling, and staff workload management.
It's a handy reference for anyone involved in creating and managing staff rotas and schedules.
The process of creating work schedules and shifts for staff. Involves balancing workload requirements with staff availability and preferences.
Closely related to rota planning, this refers more specifically to the scheduling of individual shifts for staff.
Software tools and applications designed to help managers and planners create and manage staff rotas and schedules. Can automate scheduling processes.
The term "mid shift" refers to the middle time period of a scheduled work shift.
For example, if a full factory shift runs from 7am - 3pm, the mid shift time would likely refer to the hours around 12 pm.
Another example could be an overnight hospital shift from 11pm - 7am. The mid shift hours would fall around 3-4am in the early morning.
Things like lunch and rest breaks or responsibility rotations may align with or change at mid shift.
Another name for staff rotation schedules. Lists which staff members are assigned to work for specific shifts on given days.
Refers to the repeating sequence of work days and rest days that make up staff schedules over longer periods of time (weeks or months).
A rota that changes continuously over time, with new shifts being added as previous ones are worked. New rotas are issued periodically.
The specific times during the day that an employee is scheduled to work. Full time, part time, overtime, etc.
Individual blocks of working hours assigned to staff members as part of the rota. The rota defines start and end times for shifts.
Rotas planned such that the shift schedule rotates through a pattern, rather than staff working the same shifts every week. Provides variety.
The duration of an individual staff shift. Common shift lengths are 8, 10, 12 hours.
When a new shift starts before the previous shift ends, creating a temporary period of higher staffing. Allows for handovers.
Ensuring adequate staffing levels across all shifts through proper shift planning and assignment. No understaffed shifts.
Employees trading or switching assigned shifts amongst themselves, often for personal convenience. Requires approval.
Some organizations allow staff to bid for or express preferences for certain shifts. Bids are then considered when creating the rota.
Pay rates may differ for less desirable shifts like nights and weekends. Compensates staff for inconvenience.
Staffing assigned to cover during breaks so positions are not left unstaffed.
The transfer of information between staff coming onto and finishing a shift. Ensures continuity.
The timespan covered by a rota schedule before a new rota is issued. Typically 1 week or 1 month.
The number of weeks over which a rota pattern repeats before starting over. Common cycles are 2, 3, 4 weeks.
Employees mutually agree to swap shifts instead of doing a simple shift swap. Allows greater flexibility.
Assigning a worker to take an open shift in the rota. Used for filling gaps and covering absences.
Dividing a long shift into shorter segments which may be covered by different workers. Provides flexibility.
Removing or cancelling a scheduled shift, often due to changed workload demands or other circumstances.
A shift shorter than the normal full shift duration. Used to cover peak periods or fill small gaps.
Shift pattern management
Administering and overseeing the library of reusable shift patterns that can be applied to rotas.
The process of assigning individual staff members to specific shifts in a rota schedule.
Ensuring rotas distribute weekends, nights, holidays etc fairly and evenly among staff.
Making sure rotas adhere to legal regulations and organizational policies around break times, hours worked etc.
Software tools that use algorithms to generate optimal shift patterns and schedules to meet workload needs.
Strategies for mitigating employee fatigue through proper shift length, rotation, and scheduling policies.
Employees voluntarily trading individual scheduled shifts with other qualified employees, rather than doing a full shift swap.
Allowing staff to indicate shifts they need coverage for by dropping them into a shift pool to be picked up.
Labeling shifts as AM, PM, or nights to distinguish between early, late, and overnight hours.
Shift color coding
Color coding shifts in rota displays to allow quick visual identification of different positions, teams, or locations.
Providing additional information about specific shifts such as required qualifications, activities, or hazards.
Shift bidding seniority
Basing the order of shift bidding on employees' seniority, giving more senior staff first choice of shifts.
Ensuring rotational equity so all staff share the burden of less desirable shifts equally over time.
Scheduling staff to work the same or similar shifts from one rota to the next to promote consistency.
Shift start variance
Allowing some flexibility or variance in scheduled start times, especially for shifts starting very early or late.
Unassigned open shifts in a rota that still need workers scheduled to fill them.
Building in small buffers between shifts to allow for handovers, prep time, etc.
Employees who preferentially work weekends and are less available weekdays.
Requirements like training, certifications, or clearances needed to be eligible for certain shifts.
Restrictions that need to be accounted for in scheduling like required break times, maximum shift length, etc.
Having fewer staff scheduled for a shift than needed to cover the expected workload.
Scheduling more staff on a shift than needed for the workload demand.
Shift count targets
Having target numbers of staff that should be scheduled for different shifts based on historical data.
Allowing some veteran staff to retain favorable shifts or arrangements from old policies.
Maintaining records of past rotas and having the ability to retrieve earlier versions if needed.
This is ofcourse supported by RotaPlanner.app.
Storing copies of old rotas after new ones are issued to maintain records and allow analysis.
Reviewing total hours worked over the rota cycle to ensure part-time staff stay within allotted hours.
Shift PH balances
Tracking public holiday credits earned and used by staff across different rotas.