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Why Shiftboard?

Scheduling, Not Just Calendaring

Shiftboard customers make a point that we stress clearly and often: scheduling is not just calendaring.

Calendaring is simply a shared view of events or other items with date-oriented features. In web terms, online calendars tend to be virtual bulletin boards with little if any interactivity beyond syncing (copying) a particular item to yet another calendar.

While many useful tools exist for basic calendaring, when staff interactivity is required, those tools quickly break down somewhere between 20-40 people, especially when business requirements, reporting, adjustments, and rules must be applied or managed.

Scheduling Business Requirements

A few basic business requirements often make scheduling a more complex problem than basic calendaring. These include:

  • How many positions are required?

  • Who should see which positions under which circumstances (skills, training, geography, seniority, or other criteria)?

  • What are the cancellation, change, distribution, or contract policies for a given position or requirement?

  • Are additional worker requirements necessary to validate before confirming positions, contracts, or roles (such as proper licensing, or specific training for a given client)

  • Would confirming this position push a worker over a 40-hour per week limit and into overtime pay?

Defining the Scheduling Problem

The heavy overhead and time burden required for scheduling described below will probably sound familiar to many.

As one scheduler described her previous challenge:

“A client would request a certain type of nurse at a specific day, time and location the following week. I would send out an email to 25 people trying to quickly fill the position.

Over the next 24 hours, 15 people might reply via email or voicemail wanting the shift. I would choose one of the 15, trying to be fair but often frustrating many others, and then I would need to send out 14 replies stating that someone else has taken the shift. Now repeat that process 50 to 100 times per week.”

Flexible work-time / Flexible work-force

Shiftboard clients are typically trying to manage challenges to schedule flexible work-times and/or flexible work-forces.

Flexible work-time is defined simply as variable work-time operations. Many of these organizations maintain operations anywhere from 12-24 hours per day. Often operational requirements and associated shift times vary greatly day-to-day or month-to-month.

A flexible work-force, also sometimes referred to as a contingent work-force, is defined as any combination of hourly workers, contractors, seasonal or temporary staff, interns, and volunteers.

Shiftboard is uniquely suited to provide both managers and workers at flexible work-time / flexible work-force organizations with online and real-time schedule visibility in dynamic environments.


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“Shiftboard has revolutionized my job and makes organizing at our size possible. Using Shiftboard makes event scheduling both fun and rewarding as opposed to stressful.”

Monica Hinckley
Volunteer Coordinator
Seattle International Film Festival

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