By Chris Butler, TimeForge Educator

Having worked as a manager in a retail environment, I know how difficult it can be to manage employee requests and availability. At the store where I worked, everyone’s schedule was pretty much the same from week to week, including mine. Scheduling should have been a breeze right?

The company I worked for had a requirement that there always be two employees in the store, I managed a fairly small store with a small number of staff members. This could make the two employee requirement difficult to achieve. As a manager, often, I was the second person on the schedule. So what happens when I need to take time off?

That two person rule was most difficult on Fridays. I was taking the weekend off to visit family out of town. I got someone to cover for me on Friday, so things were golden. I flew off to see the family and was having a great time. Then it hit me! I hadn’t gotten someone to cover for me on Monday afternoon when I AM the second person. I had a great team and they probably realized about the same time I did what had happened and worked together to get my shift covered on Monday afternoon.

I wish I had had a tool like TimeForge back then. When I put in my request, it would have let me know that I was going to be short staffed that Monday afternoon. Also, when I was looking at the Daily View of the schedule, I would have seen on the lovely bar graph that I had a gap in coverage in the middle of the day. I would have gotten someone to cover for me and would have avoided a mildly panicked call from my staff and the eventual verbal warning I got from my supervisor.