December 31, 2013 - Hudson, WI - Gone are the days when you had no choice but to use paper and pencil, spreadsheets, calendars or a whiteboard to display your organization’s work schedule. And, gone are the many challenges involved in keeping it up-to-date and error free.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change.” One change which has allowed progress for thousands of agencies, organizations and businesses across the country is making the switch to an online employee scheduling and workforce management system.
The key word is “online” - the employee schedule and workforce data is available online, or “in the cloud”. This means administrators, schedulers and employees can access the department schedule, and other information within the system, from any computer, smartphone or other mobile device with Internet capabilities.
Online access to data in the cloud however, is just the beginning. The biggest benefits come from allowing employees to remotely and interactively participate in workforce management processes which are coordinated and enforced automatically, or semi-automatically, by the system servers.
When you find the right cloud based system for your company, many mundane and error prone portions of your workforce management processes are dramatically improved or in many cases even eliminated.
Developed in 2002, one popular online crew scheduling and workforce management system is EMS Manager. It was one of the first systems designed specifically for the public safety sector.
"Before, preparing our monthly schedule was a nightmare. Now, thanks to EMS Manager, I don't have to juggle 15-20 pieces of paper to finish the schedule. Everyone is able to log onto the system from their homes, or elsewhere, to put in their availabilities and to check on schedule updates,” states Cam A. Baer, Chief, Yellow Breeches EMS, Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania.
Online employee scheduling systems are often customizable and typically have other features that compliment the scheduling tool - such as certification/licensing tracking, a timeclock, discussion forum, events calendar, instant messaging and group email.
“Through the system we use, FIRE Manager, our members use the 'Events' calendar extensively, and we manage certifications, licenses and other important dated materials through the system. The expiration feature actually saved one of our folks their EMT certification," shares Clinton Crafton, Division Chief, Whitestown Fire Department, Whitestown, Indiana.
Another advantage of most online scheduling systems is affordability. Most often, they are subscription based. Since these cloud-based systems are accessed through the web there is no need for purchasing software, additional hardware or investing in an expensive on-site server.
“Other types of scheduling systems require buying and installing software and equipment which can be a large investment. Since the system we subscribe to, Zanager, is web-based - we don’t have the maintenance, labor, and overhead costs that are needed with an in-house system. And, since the entire system is all online we can access it anytime from anywhere. Before, we scheduled 150 employees on a spreadsheet. We’ve used Zanager for about a year and a half and it has really improved the way our department operates and has saved us countless hours in scheduling time,” indicates Luke Clement, Director of Track Services and Special Events, Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa.