Introducing Shift Planner: A simple, automated, and fair way for teams to plan their work hours

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Written by:
Picture of Ellie Short

Ellie Short , Design

Shift Planner Introduction:

Today, we’re excited to announce a major new feature in Surfboard: Shift Planner. It’s an easy-to-use tool that automates shift creation 8 weeks in advance.

For surfers (that’s what we call customer service team members) who are often left in the dark about their shift hours, that’s a big deal. Almost 40% of UK workers are given less than a week’s notice of their shift times. 12% are given less than 24 hours’ notice according to research from the Living Wage Foundation.

Last-minute shift changes are difficult for surfers to deal with, and can cause tension within teams.

What about team leaders?

Leading a customer service team is hard. You need to hire, train and motivate your surfers in a high-pressure landscape.

Even more fundamentally, you need to know how many surfers you need in the first place. That’s impossible if you can’t accurately forecast how many customer requests you’ll have every day.

That’s why we made Surfboard. In the first version of our product, we started by giving customer service team leaders an intuitive forecasting tool to see how much customer inflow is around the corner, based on cutting-edge models.

But that only scratches the surface of making team leaders’ lives easier. One thing we’ve constantly heard from team leaders is that it feels like you need a statistics degree when planning shifts for surfers. Putting shifts together into a coherent, actionable plan is extremely overwhelming.

Fairness is part of the essence of Surfboard. That’s why we’re so excited about Shift Planner, and why we’ve launched Shift Planner Intro – a free version of the Shift Planner tool.

Shift into gear

Shift Planner uses data we already have access to from your ticketing and phone systems to plan your teams’ shifts 8 full weeks in advance.

Here’s how it works:

1. Plan fair shifts automatically

Shift Planner auto-generates shifts for your surfers based on their shift patterns and what we already know about your customer contact inflow.

Simply enable Shift Planner in your dashboard, and we’ll take care of the rest.

We care about surfers, so we’ve programmed fairness into Shift Planner. It will ensure that surfers:

  • Work a maximum of 5 days per calendar week
  • Work a maximum of 10 hours per day
  • Receive a minimum of 11 hours off between shifts. This means your surfers won’t have a late shift followed by an early shift.

And we’re already working on improving Shift Planner. Soon, it will include information about surfer availability, shift availability, and enable swaps.

Planning fair shifts has never been easier. Just set it and forget it.


2. Tweak if needed

Easily manage the shifts which have been auto-generated to suit your team’s preferences. Shift Planner is tweakable and allows fine-tune controls such as extending, reducing, moving, and deleting shifts.

Whether your surfers have fixed shifts at regular times, or are more flexible with their shift patterns, Shift Planner will work around their needs and yours.

3. Respect time off

By syncing your teams time off calendar with Shift Planner, you don’t need to manually adjust shifts to accommodate holidays, doctor’s appointments, or other absences. We automate that for you.

Start syncing time off by simply adding the iCal for your teams holiday calendar in settings.


Time better spent

Shift Planner replaces the cumbersome, time-consuming process of planning employee shifts on spreadsheets with an intuitive user interface that plugs right into your existing Surfboard dashboard.

If you have enabled forecasting within Surfboard, Shift Planner works seamlessly with your forecasts to create dynamic shift plans which react as your company grows.

See it in action… for free

We really want to show you how accessible mapping out fair shifts can be.

That’s why you can use Shift Planner Intro for free right now to generate your next week of shifts.


Just complete the simple 3 step process:

  1. Customise up to 10 shift patterns
  2. Enter up to 20 surfers’ names
  3. Select their assigned shifts

And we’ll email you a free spreadsheet version of your shift plan. That’s it.

Like what you see? Well then use it again. And again. There’s no limit on how many times you can set shifts for free with Shift Planner Intro.

Really like what you see? The full version of Shift Planner ditches those emails and spreadsheets. It’s 100% integrated into the Surfboard app and sets up 8 full weeks of shifts. It also works with information we already have, so you can skip entering any inputs.

Shift Planner: Sounds like a plan

Get started with the Shift Planner to allow team leaders and surfers to get back to what’s important – great customer service and a happy team.

Try out Shift Planner Intro now, or if you have any questions about Shift Planner, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.