Employee Scheduling Trends For 2024

Employee Scheduling Trends For 2024


  • Workers seek control for better work-life balance through flexible scheduling options like shift choice and splitting.
  • Fair shift allocation improves morale, reduces turnover, and contributes to a positive workplace.
  • Modern scheduling tools with AI enhance efficiency, offer unbiased scheduling, and facilitate swift adjustments for better collaboration.
  • Unions advocate for fair scheduling to improve overall working conditions, aligning with technology to empower workers.

More than ever, shift workers across all industries are seeking jobs that allow them to maintain a healthy balance between their personal lives and their work-related responsibilities. Recent data and trends indicate that employees are “voting with their feet,” so to speak, demonstrating their preference to prioritize work-life balance needs. In fact, PageGroup’s 2023 Talent Trends Report found that 86 percent of workers across industries are open to changing jobs. The report found that workers are seeking job opportunities with employers who promote schedule flexibility, improving work-life balance.

Today’s workers are less loyal to employers compared to previous generations. Millennials make up most of today’s workforce, followed by Generation X. These generations are more prone to job hopping than those before them. In fact, research shows that millennials have changed jobs over the last year at a rate that is three times higher than that of non-millennials. This generational shift has increased the competition to attract shift workers, pushing companies to focus on becoming employers of choice by supporting workers’ desire for flexibility and autonomy—particularly with their schedules.

Supporting employees’ work-life balance with more effective scheduling not only enhances worker satisfaction and well-being but also offers strategic advantages. Today’s intelligent employee scheduling technologies extend these benefits, enabling organizations to manage labor costs proactively, including those stemming from collective bargaining agreements mandated by unions.

Looking ahead to 2024, shift-based employers will want to note a few major workforce scheduling trends as they look to attract and retain talent in the new year.

Employee-Centric Scheduling is the New Normal

Shift workers are increasingly seeking control over their schedules so they can balance work with other aspects of their lives. For parents, this means having schedules that align with childcare needs. For those caring for loved ones, it involves having the flexibility to attend to those responsibilities as needed. Other employees may be in school and need to coordinate a work schedule that allows them to attend classes. In response to these desires, flexible scheduling options—such as the ability to choose, trade, or split shifts to align their job and lives outside of work—will become more commonplace to attract and retain workers with varying needs.

Employee-centric scheduling practices are not just beneficial for workers. A growing body of research suggests employees with better work-life balance are more productive and engaged than those without. Scheduling practices that enable self-service scheduling according to workers’ needs contribute significantly to this balance, leading to a more satisfied and efficient workforce while nurturing a culture of wellness and respect.

The “voice of the worker” is now more influential than ever, creating demand for technologies that can adapt to scheduling preferences. To keep up with the shift in employee preferences in 2024, employers will need to increasingly prioritize flexible, employee-centered scheduling to support worker well-being and work-life balance.

Greater Equity with the Scheduling Process

Equitable scheduling practices will be a central theme in workplace management in the year ahead. Promoting equity in scheduling is essential to creating a positive work environment, boosting employee morale, and mitigating potential discrimination or unfair practices.

An equitable scheduling approach prioritizes the equitable and just allocation of work shifts and schedules among employees, taking into account various factors to ensure that all employees have fair opportunities, treatment, and access to desirable shifts or work hours.

Promoting equity in workforce scheduling is not only an ethical imperative but also contributes to a more productive and engaged workforce. It can improve employee satisfaction and enhance the overall workplace environment. From an economic standpoint, equitable scheduling can lead to cost savings for businesses. Unpredictable and unfair scheduling often results in high turnover rates, increased training costs, and decreased employee morale. Employers can achieve equity by implementing fair scheduling practices and using advanced scheduling software that factors in worker preferences for more balanced and transparent schedules.

AI-Powered Tools Will Enable Modern Scheduling

The role of technology and data-driven approaches in employee scheduling has become increasingly vital in modern workforce management. Technologies that enable shift trading and pickup are meeting hourly workers’ calls for more autonomy in their work lives.

Modern scheduling tools enable automated scheduling, which considers complex variables such as employee availability, skill sets, and labor regulations. In shift-based industries like food processing, auto manufacturing, refineries, and utilities, balancing reliability, cost, and worker safety within their scheduling dynamics is crucial. AI-driven, or artificial intelligence-driven, scheduling supports a more efficient scheduling process and contributes to greater employee satisfaction since they build schedules that automatically consider worker preferences. AI solutions are also unbiased compared to humans, meaning schedules can be set from a neutral perspective. Real-time communication tools integrated within these systems facilitate swift schedule adjustments and better collaboration among staff, further streamlining the scheduling process.

Successful technology adoption requires careful integration into existing processes. Companies considering adopting a new employee scheduling solution in 2024 should be sure to incorporate robust training to give employees a thorough overview of the tool’s functions and capabilities.

Continued Influence from Labor Unions

Labor unions have played a significant role in advocating for fair scheduling practices and will continue to do so in the months ahead. Union groups recognize that unpredictable and inflexible schedules can lead to increased stress and health issues among shift workers. By advocating for more equitable, transparent scheduling systems, unions aim to improve overall working conditions for their members, contributing to the holistic well-being of the workforce.

The specific impact of labor unions on workforce scheduling in 2024 will vary depending on the industry, region, and the strength of the union presence. However, it is likely that unions will continue to be a driving force behind efforts to improve scheduling practices and protect fair treatment for workers.

Advanced scheduling technologies empower employers and labor unions to collaborate effectively around their shared commitment to improving employees’ lives. These systems offer workers a sense of control over their time, a clear view of their work schedules, and the fairness and transparency they deserve.


Workforce scheduling is transforming, driven by changing employee expectations, technological advancements, and a greater emphasis on fairness and supporting workers’ well-being. Employers who embrace these trends by adopting employee-centric scheduling practices, harnessing AI-powered tools, promoting equity, and collaborating with labor unions will attract and retain top talent and cultivate a more satisfied, efficient, and engaged workforce.

The year ahead presents an opportunity for organizations to align their scheduling strategies with the evolving needs of their employees, ultimately leading to a brighter and more productive future for both workers and employers.

This article was first published in HR.com.

Travis Shipley
By Travis Shipley

Travis Shipley is the Chief Commercial Officer at Shiftboard, where he spearheads the company’s commercial strategy, ensuring organizational alignment across the entire customer journey. From business development and sales to implementation and ongoing customer support, his leadership ensures Shiftboard’s offerings meet the evolving needs of both new and current customers, driving worldwide revenue and cultivating enduring customer relationships. Connect with Travis on LinkedIn.

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