Scheduling staff can be one of the most time-consuming business tasks, especially for small businesses and limited liability companies (LLCs). And with business demand constantly changing, it's hard to map out the perfect shift schedules. So, to make your job easier, we've put together an in-depth guide on duty rosters.

This article covers what a duty roster is, why duty rosters are essential, and how to create one in real-time.

What is a duty roster?

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

Why is a duty roster important?

Duty rosters are important because they help schedule employees working 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 one 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 rosters for housekeeping.

Track when these tasks occur.

If you were ever a camp counsellor, you might remember 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 schedule, 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 employees 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.

Duty Roster

What factors should you consider when creating a duty roster?

As a business operates 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 with less amount of time available.

The type of business and industry. Before creating a roster, you must ensure it's right for your business. For example, if you manage a nightclub, a sole proprietorship, or any type of business structure, 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 schedule. 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 its budgeting feature.

Assigning employees based on the ability to be personally liable for specific duties.

The purpose of your 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.

Duty roster benefits

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 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. There are 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 14-day trial.

Important FAQs

Q1) What is the duty roster format for hospital staff?

Duty roster for hospital staff

A) A duty roster format for hospital staff is a structured and well-organised schedule that defines the hospital staff's working hours, shifts, and responsibilities. 

The format may differ based on the hospital's policies and the specific needs of various departments. 

A standard duty roster format for hospital staff typically includes the following elements:

Staff Names and Roles: A clear list of all staff members, along with their job titles or roles (e.g., nurse, doctor, technician, etc).

Shift Timings: Precise start and end times for each shift, often broken down into morning, evening, and night shifts.

Days of the Week: The roster usually covers a weekly schedule, indicating which days each staff member is working.

Special Assignments: Any specific duties or responsibilities assigned to staff members during their shifts, such as overseeing a particular ward, being on-call for emergencies, or handling specific types of cases.

Rotation Schedule: Details about how staff members rotate through different shifts or responsibilities, if applicable.

Leave and Off Days: Information about days off, holidays, and leave days for each staff member.

Contact Information: Often, rosters include contact details for each staff member for easy communication.

Notes and Special Instructions: Any additional notes or instructions relevant to the staff's duties during their shifts.

This schedule can be displayed in different formats, such as a spreadsheet, a table in a document, or specialised scheduling software. 

Its purpose is to guarantee that the hospital has sufficient staffing levels at all times while also taking into account the workload and well-being of the staff.

Q2) What is a duty roster in a hotel setting?

Duty roster for hotel staff

A duty roster is like a timetable for hotel staff, showing when everyone's working. It's a great way to ensure every part of the hotel has enough staff at different times of the day.

Basic Structure of a Hotel Staff Duty Roster

Staff Information:

  • Name
  • Position (e.g., Front Desk, Housekeeping, Kitchen, Maintenance)
  • Full-time/Part-time status
  • Contact Information

Shift Details:

  • Date
  • Shift times (e.g., Morning, Afternoon, Night)
  • Specific duties or areas of responsibility for each shift

Rotation and Flexibility:

  • Rotating shifts for fairness (if applicable)
  • Consideration for staff preferences and availabilities
  • Policy for shift swaps and changes

Special Requirements:

  • Coverage for peak times and special events
  • On-call staff for emergencies or unforeseen absences

Legal and Policy Compliance:

  • Adherence to labour laws (e.g., maximum working hours, mandatory breaks)
  • Compliance with hotel policies and union agreements (if applicable)

Communication and Feedback:

  • Clear dissemination of the roster to all staff
  • Process for staff to provide feedback or raise concerns

Have Questions?

We Have The Answers!

Why is a duty roster important?

Duty rosters align staff schedules with business demand rather than availability, helping control labour and wage costs while ensuring all necessary tasks are covered.

How do you create a duty roster?

Start by listing all tasks, track when these tasks occur, and schedule staff based on their skills and qualifications. Tools like RosterElf can simplify this process.

What factors should you consider when creating a duty roster?

Consider your business type, demand, labour budget, and employee qualifications. Ensure the roster fits your operational needs and budget constraints.

What are the benefits of using a duty roster?

Duty rosters provide task-based scheduling, improving efficiency and coverage. They are particularly beneficial for businesses with shift workers, like hospitals and hotels, ensuring smooth task handovers and adequate coverage.

Important Notice

The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on RosterElf's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice.

RosterElf is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article.

RosterElf disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.