In retail and hospitality especially, the value of on-call shifts and on-call hours is priceless.
Looking at it negatively, many may say “I don’t like the idea that work can call me in at the last minute.” Others on the management side may say “We think it brings down morale to let people know at the last minute when they will be working.”
Taking a more positive stance, when used appropriately, the on-call shifts (and more importantly on-call hours) can make the difference between a big day at the office and missed sales and revenue opportunities.
On-call shifts generally take the form of putting people on a schedule for a regular work week, and having one additional shift as an on-call shift. The employee must call in to see if they are needed for the on-call, or the employer has to call by a certain time to let the employee know if they are needed or not. These on-call shifts are valuable to cover unexpected absenteeism, unexpected business, or other unforeseen circumstances.
On-call hours can be a lot easier on keeping balance issues for people. These, in the best cases I have seen, come in the form of an employee scheduled for a 4 or 5 hour shift, followed or preceded by a 1-4 hour on call shift. Some of the best labor schedulers I have seen will even put an on-call on either end of a shift to maximize flexibility and opportunity for the business to be staffed properly.
Contact me for more information on using on-call shifts and hours, or to share you stories of effective or ineffective on-call shifts and hours at firstname.lastname@example.org