One vital factor in maximising your workforce’s productivity is to have a rotating roster—it’s a must. It allows your employees to work on a rotation basis, thus putting less pressure on them. 

And since there are many business types, jobs, and shift management strategies, the usual 9 to 5 or 40-hour setting doesn’t often work. If you operate your business outside the regular work hours, look for a better way to keep the schedules covered and make your staff happy. 

Not only is a rotating work schedule a practical organisation tool for your human resource management, but it also means that your staff always knows when they will report to work. More so, having a well-thought-out rotating roster is a way to prevent disorganised processes in the workplace and put everything in order. 

As you read along, you’ll better understand why it’s essential to implement a rotating roster. 

This blog covers the following: 

  • What Is a Rotating Roster? 

  • Rotating Rosters: How Do They Work? 

  • What are the Different Types of Rotating Rosters

  • Ways to Making a Rotating Roster

  • Using RosterElf in Creating Effective Rotating Rosters

  • Takeaway 

What Is a Rotating Roster? 

There is no good or bad work schedule, that much is true, but your employees have their preferred shifts for one reason or another. Specific work periods make them happier and are likely to be more productive than other shifts. 

This is where a rotating roster comes into play. 

Having a rotating shift helps boost your workforce because employees get to work with others as they complete their work schedules. They get to extend their network with other colleagues and discover different means of accomplishing tasks simultaneously. 

Once you’ve worked all the shifts, you’ll understand better how everything functions in your organisation. A clearer picture of it, at that. This is valuable if you allow swapping shifts, as employees will likely pick a different schedule. So it’s best if they have experience working with all of them. 

Photo by: Austin Distel | Unsplash

Rotating Rosters: How Do They Work? 

To help you better understand the concept of a rotating roster, let’s have this example:

You work at a particular restaurant, and employees must work from 8 am to 12 am. Most likely, the manager is splitting the work hours into two 8-hour shifts—one from 8 am to 4 pm and the other from 4 pm to 12 am. 

You will work on a day or night shift with the same hours every cycle if the manager runs a fixed work schedule. 

This probably is logical for labour or office work that is the same regardless of shift. However, in a restaurant, night shifts are much more profitable tip-wise, so it’s unfair that the same employees work day shifts each week. Give others a chance as well. 

To make it fair for everyone, the manager will establish a rotating schedule using a rostering tool or an employee rostering app. This means you can work on day shifts for a period, then switch to night shifts and vice versa. Also, every employee should have a fair chance in terms of tips, depending on the tip structure of the restaurant. 

What are the Different Types of Rotating Rosters 

Apart from the day-and-night shift switch, there are other alternatives to rotating schedules. Here are the main types of rotating roster options: 

  • Frequent rotating shift 

Changes to the shifts every week mean your employee may go from working on night shifts to day shifts within the week. This might be challenging for workers to adjust physically and to plan for personal time. 

  • Weekend rotating shift 

Employees take turns working weekends, a basic approach that many managers apply. This strategy gives everyone an opportunity for a weekend off.  

  • Slow rotating shift

This may help staff adjust to working days and nights and vice versa because schedule changes happen over a couple of months. It also gives them balance in terms of planning personal time. 

  • Partial rotating shift 

Some employees prefer to work on a fixed schedule, while others on a rotational basis. This is likely due to qualification requirements, the need to continue the same shift, or necessary skill set coverage

It’s crystal clear that almost every organisation can carry out a rotating roster and maximise its use—whether it’s as complex as switching shifts during the week or as basic as alternating weekend work schedules. 

Ways to Making a Rotating Roster

Using the Excel sheet, here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a rotating roster.

Photo by: Jason Goodman | Unsplash

  • Open a new document in Excel 

First, create a document in Excel and name it so it’ll be easy to find it later. This way, employees can check their shifts automatically. 


  • Create a calendar 

Develop a calendar for the month starting in the second column. In each cell, input the day of the month, including weekends. Make sure to indicate the days of the week in the first row. After, highlight the columns corresponding to the weekends to pinpoint them quickly. 

  • Input the names of your staff members

Enter the employees’ names starting at the row below the days in the first column. This part should indicate which shifts the worker has for that particular week. 

  • Make a code 

Create a code to mark if your employee works on the day, afternoon or night shift—for example, M for the morning, A for the afternoon, and N for the night work schedule. On the cell of the day that the employee is working, you then enter the relevant letter of the code. 

  • Create new Excel sheets per month 

As you go along, it is recommended that you generate a monthly work schedule and create new sheets for your employees. Doing so makes everything in order in a single archive. 


There you have it. Always remember not to allocate night shifts for more than two successive weeks unless it is a request from the employee. Communicate with your employees so everything will run smoothly, giving them time to organise themselves.  


Using RosterElf in Creating Effective Rotating Rosters

With today’s technological advancements, you can get things done fast and efficiently, and creating a rotating roster is no exception—time to bid farewell to the old-school ways and adopt a more reliable and quick means. 

  • Easy and reliable smart features 

RosterElf’s staff rostering software gives you a minimalistic yet powerful all-encompassing employee scheduling solution. Our fully cloud-integrated software allows you to establish and communicate rosters from across the globe 24/7. 

With live roster costing, you’ll always know the cost of each roster on a real-time basis before publishing it. You can even optimise shift times for optimum profitability and simultaneously check coverage during busy schedules. 

  • Knowing wage costs real time 

RosterElf’s roster tool allows you to calculate labour costs in real-time while you build your employee roster. So no more surprises when reviewing financial weeks or on payday. Before publishing your roster or making necessary adjustments, you will always know the actual cost.

Photo by: RosterElf

  • AI-powered rostering 

With RosterElf’s AI-powered system, rostering has never been this quick and hassle-free. Our scheduling software can automatically recommend the most suited employees for every shift, taking into account essential details including availability to work, shift disputes, employee leave, labour cost and qualifications. 

The process is simple: select the ones who will be working from the suggested employee list, and the shift is filled instantly. Say goodbye to guesswork and start building a well-balanced rotating roster in minutes. 


Creating an effective rotating roster can be quite a struggle, especially if done manually. Fortunately, it’s more efficient and easier now with the help of RosterElf’s automatic rotating software. You’ll have your roster ready for the week with just a few taps and clicks. 

No more constant revisions trying to compress all work necessary and shifts under your current budget. You’ll know your labour costs in real-time with one update of your roster. RosterElf is designed with you in mind. With our online staff rostering scheduling app, you won’t have any hassle forming your rotating roster. Call us at 1300 353 000 for more details. 

Enjoy 15-day access to our tool as well for free!

Have Questions?

We Have The Answers!

Why is a rotating roster important for my business?

A rotating roster reduces employee burnout by varying shifts, making your team more productive and satisfied. It ensures all shifts are covered and helps in the fair distribution of workloads and benefits, like tips in a restaurant setting.

What are the main types of rotating rosters?

The main types include frequent rotating shifts, weekend rotating shifts, slow rotating shifts, and partial rotating shifts. Each type offers different scheduling approaches to suit various business needs and employee preferences.

How does RosterElf simplify creating rotating rosters?

RosterElf uses AI to recommend suitable employees for each shift, considering availability, qualifications, and labour costs. It also provides real-time cost calculations, ensuring you stay within budget while managing staff schedules efficiently.

How do I create a rotating roster using Excel?

Start by creating a new Excel document. Develop a calendar for the month, input staff names, create shift codes (e.g., M for the morning), and fill in shifts accordingly. Ensure that you update monthly and highlight weekends for clarity.

Can I try RosterElf before committing?

Yes, RosterElf offers a 15-day free trial. This allows you to explore its features and see how it can streamline your staff scheduling process before making a commitment.

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.

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