The modern shift-based workplace is dynamic, fast-moving, and a little complex, especially when you talk about the construction industry. Over the years, project managers and contractors have found it difficult to put a working system in place that can help them overcome key workforce planning challenges.
Workforce scheduling and planning is critical to driving productivity, containing labor costs, and ensuring accountability and compliance. Construction projects are prone to delays and halts due to a variety of factors on board, such as unrealistic expectations; it has become extremely important for construction project managers to increase the focus on work-life integration, ensuring that client expectations are met.
It means that if you are relying on spreadsheets or pen and paper for scheduling, you are only creating more issues for yourself. It has been found that an average construction manager spends between one and eight hours a week creating workforce schedules on printed ledgers and spreadsheets.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do that anymore because there exists a suite of workforce scheduling software that can help you get the work done in a matter of minutes.
With that said, in this post, we will discuss how workforce scheduling software can improve productivity.
Let’s jump right into it.
What is Workforce Scheduling?
Workforce scheduling in construction is all about establishing the right schedule for the hourly workforce to manage the given amount of work towards project completion. The process of workforce scheduling can be affected by several factors, such as the increased tendency of accidents at the construction site, increased number of workers at the site, sudden emergencies in construction, and more. Moreover, worker availability, worker productivity, and worker skills also determine the process of workforce scheduling. Over the years, workforce scheduling has become an integral part of the construction industry for workforce management that involves taking into account the workload for the day and available resources required to complete the job.
Because construction is one industry that hires hourly workers, there is a frequent change in the workload. Therefore, having an automated scheduling system in place can handle these changes without any hassle.
A significant and notable benefit of having construction workforce scheduling software in place is that you can improve the productivity of your workers. Overtime is tiring for construction workers—it takes a toll on their mental and physical health. By optimizing staff allocation, you can lower the risk of overstaffing and understaffing, which can result in improved productivity and maximize overall costs.
How Can a Construction Workforce Scheduling System Improve Productivity?
Workforce management and scheduling technology have evolved to the point where contractors and project managers can automate the operational issues that they face in optimizing workforce management. The software is able to handle large workloads and optimally create schedules so that the construction site is not crowded. Additionally, robust systems enable workers to take control of their schedules and switch their shifts with others in case of an emergency.
Here are some ways how a workforce scheduling software can improve productivity:
#1 Labor Forecasting
Construction is a complex business. As a project manager, your responsibilities include predicting the amount of work demand on a given day. Because there are many things that happen at the construction site, from subcontractors working on the roofing to plumbers taking care of the plumbing essentials, etc., things can get tricky deciding how much manpower would be needed on a particular day of work. You may have to call each subcontractor and ask for a report and how much work is left. This is a time-consuming process and can derail the construction work.
This is where workforce scheduling software comes in handy. The system can give you insights into the amount of manpower needed in real-time and the availability of manpower. It uses this information to predict how many people will be needed at the construction site at any given time. This not only simplifies the decision-making process for construction project managers but also allows them to focus more on strategic work.
At larger construction companies and firms, the workforce scheduling software can prepare schedules in advance and offer functionalities like automated notifications and shift swaps.
#2 Time Tracking
One of the best ways to facilitate and increase productivity is to track the time of the workers. If you can determine the number of hours the workers are putting into the job, you can easily identify situations that require overstaffing and understaffing.
For example, if it is taking 5 workers 8 hours every day to do the roofing, you can assign more workers to the roofing team to increase the pace of the work. Moreover, you can assign the necessary resources to the roofing team, such as additional equipment so that their productivity can be increased.
The workforce scheduling software can track time, allowing project managers to analyze the work schedules of the workers.
#3 Shift Swapping
Shift swapping is a daily practice in the construction business. In the majority of cases, a contractor will be working on multiple projects at the same time – a house building project in the downtown area and a barn remodel in the countryside.
With workforce scheduling software, you can get complete visibility into the schedules of your workers so that you can swap them up with others if the need arises.
For example, if the delivery date of the house building project is nearing and there is still some serious work left, you can swipe the shift of the workers working the barn project and ask them to accompany other workers for the home building project to ensure timely delivery of the project.
Having a robust workforce scheduling system in place can really help you optimize workforce scheduling, which ultimately improves the productivity of your workers and ensures the timely completion of the project. You can easily optimize workforce scheduling with software by assessing project demands, assessing worker availability, preparing shifts for swapping, and enabling workers to access their schedules.