When your business depends on having someone on-call at all times, making that on-call scheduling as efficient as possible is paramount.
Otherwise, you’ll end up spending a lot of time trying to hash out the details of the on-call rotation without actually having anyone on call. There are lots of ways to improve and support the on-call scheduling process, both in the longer-term and the short.
Improving Your On-Call Scheduling Today
On-call scheduling can have wide-ranging effects on your business, and implementing it and making it more efficient (and fair!) are two entirely different things. Still, you can make on-call scheduling work with a few simple tricks.
In the short term, these should help to get your team back to baseline, creating more fair on-call scenarios and generally improving the efficiency of the whole process:
Make shift lengths more consistent. Some of the most popular on-call shift lengths are eight hours, 12 hours, a day and a week, but you know best what will work for your team.
Having a consistent shift length means everyone knows exactly how long they have until their shift is coming, and how much time is left on the shift they’re working, minimizing questions on the subject. Standard shift hours also allow on-call people to plan their days and nights better, since they know they’ll only have to do on-call duty for a limited time span.
Change how your schedule rotations are handled. Too many businesses and practices do on-call rotations over the telephone instead of in person. This is a huge place where efficiency can be improved.
Instead of handing the job over on the telephone, or without even speaking to one another, on-call people should be switching off in the office, in person. This way, the person coming on can be briefed about any in-progress calls or callers who have called multiple times. Make those exchanges at the office and see how much more efficient things can be.
Ask your answering service for help. It just so happens some answering services like Answering Service Care have good tools and insights when it comes to on-call scheduling.
These capabilities are particularly helpful when you’re still trying to feel out the best on-call shift lengths and schedules for everyone. The big bonus here is that your answering service will have the same information as your team, so they are already familiar with your process.
Creating a perfect on-call schedule can be a long process, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started. There are things you can be doing right now while you’re working on a longer term strategy to keep ample coverage at all hours without running your employees ragged.