Scheduling staff can be one of the most consuming tasks when running a business. And with business demand constantly changing, it’s hard to map out the perfect roster. So, to make your job easier, we’ve put together an in-depth guide on duty rosters.


Unlike regular rosters, which schedule based on availability and hours, duty rosters build schedules based on tasks. This article covers what a duty roster is, why duty rosters are essential and how to create a duty roster.


What is a duty roster?

A duty roster is a roster that schedules staff based on tasks and duties. For example, you can use a duty roster for hospital staff with specific tasks while on shift. This type of roster ensures that you have particular duties covered.


Why is a duty roster important?

Duty rosters are important because they help schedule staff based on your business's demand instead of your team's availability. You can control your labour and wage costs by scheduling based on need.


How do you make a duty roster?

Creating a duty roster is similar to creating a regular staff schedule, but you’re paying closer attention to the tasks you need to cover. Here are three steps to help you make a duty roster for your team.


Start by listing all the tasks

Before you start scheduling staff, you need to understand what tasks you will include. These tasks will vary from one business to another and depend on the day/week/month/year. For example, duty rosters for security guards will differ from duty rosters for housekeeping.


Track when these tasks occur

If you were ever a camp counsellor, you might remember duty rosters used to schedule tasks. Each counsellor would be responsible for specific tasks, and the times would be broken down by breakfast, lunch and dinner or morning and night.


A similar approach helps create your staff duty roster. Think about the list of tasks you created and when you most need coverage. For example, if it’s a monthly duty roster, you would specify what days you need coverage for the tasks.


Schedule based on skill

After determining the task and the required hours, you must schedule staff for each duty based on their skill and qualifications. Online rostering software such as RosterElf makes this step very easy.


With RosterElf, you can assign specific qualifications and skills to each staff member. That way, only those who fit the requirements are available to schedule when scheduling staff for a particular task.


What factors should you consider when creating a duty roster?

When you’re building a duty roster, there are a few factors that you should consider. We’ve put together a list of the ones we think are most important.


The type of business and industry. Before creating a duty roster, you must ensure it’s right for your business. For example, if you manage a nightclub, staff might share tasks, and you need complete coverage from open to close.


The demand of your business. The demand of your business and the hours you operate will determine how to build your duty roster. If your hours are always the same and the demand is consistent, scheduling staff based on tasks could work well.


Your business's labour budget. When scheduling staff, it’s always important to consider your budget to ensure you’re covered and profitable. Fortunately, RosterElf makes scheduling based on budget magically simple with their budgeting feature.


The purpose of your duty roster is to schedule based on specific tasks for your business. If this doesn’t feel like the right fit for your business or industry, then a traditional roster using a roster management tool will help ensure that you’re covered.


The benefits of duty rosters

The advantages of a duty roster depend on your industry. For example, if you run a hotel, then a kitchen or cleaning duty roster is helpful to assign tasks for each shift. For businesses with mostly shift workers, such as nursing or hospital staff, duty rosters can make shift rotations and handing over tasks easy.


Furthermore, off-duty rosters are also helpful for times management can’t be on location. Overall, duty rosters have different advantages for various industries and businesses. When in doubt, use them in addition to your regular roster.


Final Thoughts

Duty rosters are a great way to schedule staff using tasks instead of hours of operation. To make your job easier, consider an online duty roster maker such as RosterElf. With RosterElf, you can schedule staff with just a few clicks across multiple locations and tasks.


To experience the simplicity of quick and efficient scheduling, sign up for a free 30-day trial.