Thursday, September 12, 2013

Employee Scheduling - Back to Basics

Where We Came From

It's been 2.5 years since I first launched Your Next Seven with the goal of bringing online employee scheduling into the modern era of the web. So many software companies seemed to be stuck in the past, making scheduling more difficult than the traditional pen and paper or Excel method. So why were restaurants and retailers switching to online scheduling?

Over the past years of talking to owners, managers and employees, the number one answer I came across was communication. Having a digital record of schedules, messages and shift swaps, not to mention the text and email messages of the employee's schedule that goes out, were all key for the managers and employees. With communication taken care of, the main focus on Your Next Seven's future development has always been making the scheduling process as painless as possible.


One of the main focuses with employee scheduling software is using boxes to accomplish entering shifts. A typical process for adding a shift looks like this:

  1. Click an empty box
  2. Another box pops up
  3. Either click a pre-defined shift box or...
  4. Click a box for the start time
  5. Click a box for the end time
  6. Click a box for the task or position
  7. Click a box to confirm
I'll stop at 7 because that's our favorite number, but that list can grow if you add notes, breaks, additional shifts, etc. Your Next Seven isn't excluded from this process. It's actually a pretty standard one when it comes to doing most anything online. I would love nothing more than to escape the box though. Make employee scheduling more intuitive, faster and familiar. With the key focus being on faster schedule development. The majority of managers we talk to wouldn't leave online scheduling for anything, but loved their Excel spreadsheet with the speed and ease of editing text it offered. No boxes after boxes after boxes to enter one shift.

Finally, Back to the Basics

The newest scheduling option for Your Next Seven isn't flashy, it doesn't have boxes and won't involve multiple steps to enter a shift.

Introducing, the Pro Layout

Click on an empty cell and type "8a-4:15p", then click away or tab to the next cell and it's saved. Your hours are calculated, it's sent across all of our scheduling layouts and it's ready to send to the employees. With the Pro Layout you can easily build a schedule from scratch, copy and paste multiple shifts, add break times, and update current shifts.

Adding  Break Time
If you would like to add a 30 minute break to the shift, simply type "8a-4:15p/30".

Adding a Second Shift
To add a second, third or forth shift, type: "8a-12p/30, 12:30p-5p".

The Pro Layout will use the employee's default task as the task for the shift. If one is not defined, you can do so in the employee edit screen or add one in with another view.

Already have a full staff and previous schedules? Use the "Auto-Assign" feature to assign each employee's most used task to your entire staff. This feature is found under "Employees" > "Default Tasks".

More options are coming soon, such as adding notes and customized tasks. Don't worry though, we'll let you know when a new feature is released!

If you have any questions about the online scheduling software, please feel free to contact me personally at (281) 401-9321 or email

Your Next Seven, Inc. - online employee scheduling
Founder / Lead Developer

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