Scheduling fairly using round robins

Written by:
Picture of Shannon Ashley

Shannon Ashley , Design lead

Surfboard’s round robin scheduling tool fairly distributes shifts across team members. Whether it’s a weekend shift, morning shift, or even an unpopular Friday night shift, round robin scheduling means you can fairly share these working hours across your team, reducing burnout and increasing morale.

Distribute less desirable shifts across your team in the most equitable way

Round robin shift planning is a popular way for support teams to decide who works weekends, bank holidays and evenings.

A round robin rotates a shift pattern through each individual surfer and then restarts once each surfer has done their turn, this means each team member takes equal responsibility for working the designated shift applied to the round robin.

Round robin shift planning is more complex than scheduling round robin activities because it can (but not always) also require time off in lieu to be scheduled.

As an example, this means that if a surfer works a Saturday or Sunday, they could be entitled to a weekday off in lieu to ensure their contracted hours aren’t breached and they get enough time off.

Beyond shift planning, round robins can also be used to cycle through activity scheduling (coverage on phones or chat for example), Zendesk inbox monitoring or anything that requires on-call coverage.

To make this even better, we’re also excited to be introducing concurrent activity scheduling, so you can have a single person responsible for two tasks simultaneously, particularly useful for on-call scheduling.

Frictionless round robin scheduling that fits how your team works

With Surfboard round robin scheduling, all you have to do is is input the shifts that you’d like to rotate, the number of surfers (team members) needed per shift and if applicable, any time off in lieu and if you want it to be scheduled the same week or the following week. If you need four surfers covering a Saturday morning and six surfers covering a Saturday afternoon shift, these can be set up as separate round robins with either no time off in lieu, or customised time off in lieu dependant on the specific rotation.

You can set up as many round robins as you need, so if you rotate your Friday evening shifts, Saturday morning shifts and Sunday afternoon shifts in this way, these can all be set up in minutes.

Once you input which surfers are eligible for your round robin rotation, you’re ready to apply this to your plan and let us schedule your shifts automatically. We’re the fastest, most frictionless and most flexible scheduling software on the market.

Round robin scheduling can be a headache in spreadsheets, constantly having to shuffle people around and ensure that the rotation starts again once everyone has been rotated. We make this seamless to do.

The drawbacks of not using round robin scheduling:

  • Specific team members feel burdened with unpopular shifts
  • Shift patterns are rigid with specific individuals allocated to specific working patterns
  • Fairness comes up as a common complaint relating to scheduling
  • Overtime and last minute changes frequently occur to cover evenings and weekends, negatively impacting teams.

The benefits of round robin scheduling:

  • Unpopular shifts are equitably distributed across the team
  • Flexibility means that you can offer time off in lieu to balance coverage requirements throughout the week
  • Equitable distribution means that team members don’t feel as if they are constantly getting shafted
  • Team members have advance visibility into when they are required to work an unpopular shift

With team views within Surfboard, other team members can easily see who is working on shift and when. This means if someone wants to swap their round robin shift, they can do so easily without having to involve a manager in facilitating a shift swap.

Use round robin shift planning today

If your team uses round robin scheduling or wants to start round robin rotations to increase fairness, you can set these up within minutes on top of Surfboard shift plans.

Want to see how? Get in touch below: