Afternoon Phill good to be talking again, today we’re doing rotas. So what do business owners want to achieve in creating rotas.

Um. Essentially, it’s the right members of their team in the right place at the right time. They want to get everybody to work correctly and on time, the consequences of which we’ll probably get to later, and it’s just removing the chaos from not knowing or having to guess.

Okay, that sounds simple. But in practice, I suspect it’s quite complicated. So traditionally, how have small medium sized businesses created these things.

I guess, lots of different ways, lots of probably good and bad examples of how to do this, of course, on paper and via email or something printed on the wall or I’ve seen some credit card sized shedule is given at the start of the year, I’ve seen lots of ways of doing it. When you commit something to plastic or paper or sticker on the wall, of course it becomes inflexible. And so they all have their different disadvantages. And, of course, people can’t psychically connect with bits of paper on the wall at their place of work if they’re at home or didn’t see it yesterday, and it’s changed this morning. So spreadsheets on Excel files, printouts inflexible. year-old, perhaps, shifts on rotation, however that’s fed to your team, they come with different problems based on how you’ve done it.

And so what what happens as a consequence of it’s a paper on the wall and aturday, spreadsheets and so forth.

Well, typically people don’t turn up. If they don’t think they have to turn up they don’t guess to turn up what they do is they fail to turn up. So it’s not, you’re never over-staffed with a bad system, you’re always under-staffed with a bad system. And the consequences of that, I suppose, depend on what your industry is, if you. I had a job as a younger man on a garden pea belt in a factory, and we were the last humans to see the peas before they went in the tins, literally a foot away, they went in tins. And it took eight people to extract all the slugs and half-mice and whatever else was in the peas, eight people now imagine to no shows. So you’re going to end up with slugs on your plate. So or, you know, imagine only seven firemen on a shift that requires eight. The consequences are vast and depending on what you do for a living or what your business does, I guess only you would know, the perhaps terrifying consequences of being understaffed?

Yeah. Well, just immediately, as the supervisor or the manager, you haven’t got enough staff. So then there’s a whole load more time trying to fix the problem that’s created by the problem of not dealing with it right in the first place. Right?

Well, sure. It’s not just the problem of the one person not showing it’s what does that do to the seven people that do show? does it increase their stress? And does it increase their… it decreases their ability to do their own job. They’re a man short, they’re also or a person short, that the it’s different for every scenario, I guess. But the consequences are always the same. It is a problem and it’s a problem that needs a good solution. And if if your solution to Jennifer not showing up is to find someone to replace Jennifer or call Jennifer and get her to show up the hour, two hours, whatever it takes to get someone into that spot, and you haven’t solved the problem. When they’ve turned up you’ve endured the problem until the solution arrived. So you, you, it’s still difficult. It’s a it creates problems at every part of that process.

Yeah. Okay. And so if you automate it, what happens?

Well depending on how you automate it, what you get is information and information is always good. So the availability of information to your team and to your managers and to the owners of the company and to any other part of the business that needs visibility on staff. Fantastic. We can learn so much more. Well, the team can learn when to show up is the most perfect part of that. And then I can learn as maybe a business owner what periods where we over-staffed under-staffed what skill sets does it take? Can I reduce the skill sets in areas and maybe run a more effective and economic shift. All sorts of things become available with data. Data lets you make great decisions. If you have to guess you’re just guessing that’s an opinion. If you’ve got data, you can see what’s happening and what happened and how to improve on it in the future. So with automation, you get information at the point of need, you can make it live real-time. You can change your mind within the parameters of what you think is acceptable to change shifts on people, but you can change your mind you can react, you can be proactive about fulfilling your shift rather than reactive.

Okay, got it. And Alpaka does this. Do you want to give me just a little soupçon?

Yes, I will share this. So I’m on screen here. We’ve got Alpaka and we have a feature here called rotas and I can see a list of rotas here. Now, these are only the rotas that fall between July and November. And the reason why I’m looking into the future is because you can make a rota at any time. And more importantly, you can make a rota for any cross-section of your staff. So you can see here, these guys have made a rota for their nurses and a separate rota for the same period for their carers. Now, maybe these I’ve got a different manager or a different function on site. But let’s take a look at one of these and try and work out why

it looks like a care home to me this business.

Now, these are all anonymous people again, we only ever use anonymous data. So what’s happening?

We’ve got a tricky mix here of different places, different people, different skill sets needed for different roles in different places. Yeah,

Well, sure. But what these guys have done is that they’ve split their rotas by those skills. These people are all nurses. So I can see that I’ve got five nurses. To distribute across my shifts or my requirement. And but I mean that that doesn’t mean they’re always the same look, we’ve got fake Suzanne here, she has a 36 hour contract and fake Ivan’s got a 48 hour contract. These are the hours, my fake people typically work, right. Now, dishing out shifts is as easy as deciding what shifts to use down here. And we have a palette of pre-created shifts that this business creates. And when I click into here, all I’m doing is distributing the shifts that I’ve pre-created. You can see other things, other responsibilities. This is Trenton. And he has an MDT meeting tomorrow or a review. I don’t know what that means. But it’s gonna stop me putting him on a shift that conflicts with it. So long as the rules don’t permit him to conflict here, so it could be that, in fact, let me try and put him on an early shift. Okay, it permits it because meetings are allowed while you’re on a shift. It’s all about a rule set.


Now the rules exist to stop me as a team leader, making mistakes, I can’t put Trenton on a shift if he’s on holiday, for example, or a long term absence, or if he’s doing someone else’s shift won’t allow me to do those things. Right. So it provides me a boundary to create my shift patterns for people. It’s constantly telling me the tally of people and skills on the shifts here. So I can assess the cost of the shift or at least the staffing requirement and not over-staff these things. And I can, I can build this thing for any period amongst any group of my team for any reason, and then can do all sorts of things like notify these people of their shift times if I’m feeling like I finished.


Now Actually, I don’t need to notify them manually because all of these people have access to their own.

That was my next question. How does? How does fake Ivan get to know what he’s going to be doing and when?

Well, this is the semantic difference, I guess between a rota and a shedule. A rota is what we’ve been looking at so far. And it’s me working fast with a blunt tool to hand out shifts and talk about only shifts underneath that, Ivan, or who are we looking at Trenton has… this is Ivan. He actually has what I would call a shedule, which has more attributes to it. It’s more interesting. It’s more like a traditional calendar. And he can see this on his phone. He’ll get this in his email. He’ll get this any number of ways we can distribute this information. It happens live, it’s automatic. It happens anyway whether I do this stuff or not.


So, in essence, that’s what the rota is a broad brush on ensuring a capability in the workplace. Right person right time.

Fabulous. And they are automatically told about it.

Yeah, I mean, the information is automatically distributed to those that need it.

Brilliant. smashing Phill. Thank you very much indeed. I feel much clearer on rotas now.


My name is Phill Rodgers and I am the creator of Alpaka. I sincerely hope you find Alpaka useful and enjoy using it as much as we enjoy building it.

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