How to create the perfect staff rota

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

Creating your staff rota isn’t as straightforward as it might first seem. There’s more to consider than just adding employee details to a generic rota template. A good rota will incorporate the needs of both you and your employees. So without further ado, here’s what you should consider when building your staff rota.

Look for longevity

Your staff rota should be something you can adapt and use time and time again. It should be dynamic enough so you can adjust it inline with changing demand and employee requests; but rigid enough to ensure consistency where needed.

Make it easy to amend

Last minute changes are inevitable, but you don’t want that to result in you having to rebuild your rota from scratch. Find yourself a solution with a drag and drop interface and collaborative editing, so any changes you need to make can be done easily and in real-time; and you don’t have to go back to the drawing board whenever an employee requests to change their shift.

Incorporate employee preferences & skill sets

A good staff rota should take into account employee needs and preferences, as well as their skill set. It’s not just a case of filling shifts; it should be about having the best person for the job, all whilst incorporating employee preferences and availability. 

Ensure compliance

Your rota needs to account for legislations such as Working Time regulations, the GDPR and Data Protection Acts. Rota software such as Rotaready will take care of this for you, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Account for varying demand

Footfall to hospitality, retail and leisure businesses can vary due to a number of different factors, such as one off events or seasonal changes. It’s important that your staff rota takes this into account and isn’t just the same everyday.

Utilise data from other areas of your business

Where possible, use insight from other areas of your business to inform your staff schedules. For example, with an integration between your rota software and reservation system you’ll be able to predict future sales and upcoming demand based on past and present reservation data. So, you can be sure you always schedule the perfect number of staff to meet demand on any given day.

Make it easy to share

Last but not least, your rota should be easy to share. No one wants the aggravation of trying to share paper based staff schedules or making sure everyone has the latest version of your spreadsheet based rota. A staff rota that is easy to share and update in real-time is going to make everyone’s life a whole lot easier.

And here’s what your employees will look for in a good staff rota …

Easily accessible

Providing your employees with the means to view their upcoming shifts at any time and from anywhere, will not only make their lives easier but will result in less admin time for you.

Visibility over upcoming shifts, well in advance

Be sure to share your staff rota well in advance so your employees can make plans around their upcoming shifts, without having to come to you to ask when they’re next working.

Real-time updates

As mentioned previously, one of the risks that comes with sharing your rota too far in advance is that things change. But if you’re able to share any changes in real-time, you can avoid any confusion and your team always knows when they’re working; even when last minute changes have to be made.

Flexibility and control over shifts

Make sure it’s easy for your employees to request time off and make changes to their schedules. Give them the opportunity to request shift swaps and easily book time off.


Much like with giving advanced warning of shifts, consistency in working hours allows your employees to plan better on both a personal and professional level. Of course there’s a certain level of flexibility expected when it comes to shift work, but try and offer consistency where you can.

There’s a lot to take into account, and that’s why we developed Rotaready specifically for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses. So you don’t have to worry about any of it. Our intelligent rota software helps you create the perfect staff rota in just a few clicks. If you’d like more information on how we do this then drop us a message via live chat or email us at We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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