In this tutorial, we'll walk through how to create your first rota, and familiarise you with the basic functions and buttons you'll see for rota-building and rota-editing on the Scheduler page. (If you haven't already, you might want to start by reading an overview of the page itself, in our article Navigating The Scheduler).

Adding Shifts

If you're building your first rota from scratch, probably the first thing you want to know is how to add shifts.  In Navigating The Scheduler we noted that with 'days across the top' and 'people down the side', each 'box' in the middle represents what a person is scheduled to do on that day.  Clicking into an empty cell allows you to add a shift there.

These are the aspects of a Shift that you can specify:

  • Every shift needs a start and end Time
  • Depending on your company settings, you may also be able to define "Tasks" within the shift
  • Break Length (and whether it is Paid or Unpaid) for this length of shift will typically 'auto-fill' based on your company's rules, but can be edited
  • You can (you don't have to) give your shift a Name and/or a Note, which then display alongside the times to the employee being notified (via the Employee Mobile App); or add a Comment, which doesn't (Comments are for 'notes to self' or to other managers who might collaborate with you on the schedule, about this particular shift).
  • If you're adding a shift for your employee but for them to work in another Location, you can "Assign this shift/Task to other Location".  It will still appear on their schedule here, but will also now appear on the other Location's.  (You can learn more about this aspect of Rotageek in this article).
  • You can enter all these details 'from scratch', or, pick from a list of "Custom Shifts" that you made earlier to complete them. (To create a new Custom Shift, go to the "Shifts" section in the main left-hand Menu bar, where you'll find you can enter all the same details as here and Save this shift for future use).

Annual Leave that has been approved in advance for this week will appear in the Scheduler automatically. You can interact with it (update/delete it) from here too, if you need to, although that's probably not something you will need to do often.  Check out Approving or Rejecting My Employee's Leave for more information on how to get it on there in the first place. 

Editing Shifts

Click or tap on the shift you want to edit, press Edit and a dialogue box will appear which allows you to edit all the same details that you could set when creating a New shift.

Also on that hover-over menu, you'll see you have the options to Copy, Move and Delete that shift.

Copy-Paste shifts

If you click "Copy" on a particular shift, you'll see the rest of the schedule enter this mode:

The blue highlighted boxes show you where you can "Paste" this shift to (based primarily on times the targeted employee is not already working a shift).  Clicking on the blue box pastes the shift there.  You can keep pasting as many times as you like.  When you've finished pasting, click "Done" bottom-right to end the process.

"Move" follows a similar workflow, except, you can only do it once - the first blue box you click on moves the shift from the employee/day you originally clicked on to this one, and the process is automatically complete. (You can also Move the shift to another person or day simply by dragging it, if you're using a non-tablet device).

Approving the rota

When you add a shift or edit a shift in the Scheduler, it will appear in a grey with a  dotted coloured line around it. This means that the shift is in Draft. Draft shifts will not be visible to your team. 

Once you've built your schedule, you need to approve it to finalise the rota. To do this, click the green Approve button in the top right corner. (The number in the bubble tells you 'how many' shifts are in draft awaiting Approval - this is perhaps most useful when you've made amendments to an already-approved schedule and need to re-approve).  Pressing Approve will send a notification to any employees for whom there are new shifts / any changes, letting them know that their schedule has been updated. 

By default, the Approve button will approve all shifts on this Location for this week, but the cogwheel allows you to tailor this if you need (you could just approve one person for one day and leave everything else in Draft, for example).

More advanced options

If you're editing a (as opposed to Adding a New) shift, even if that shift is still in Draft (has never been Approved to notify the employee), you'll notice you have a couple of additional options at the bottom of the dialogue-box.  You can Move it to Gaps, or Mark it as Leave, or both.  This might well be how you update the Schedule when you learn an employee is Sick (which needs recording) and will not be coming in (but perhaps their shift still needs covering - a Gap), for example.  See those other sections for more detail on how to use these features to their full capability.

You'll perhaps have noted that dialogue-box that pops up for either adding or editing a Shift also has tabs for Leave and Availability:

  • As well as editing Leave that may have arrived on this schedule via a prior Request-and-Approval, or Marking a shift as Leave as above, you can also add an absence (Training, pre-planned Medical leave, etc) directly on the Scheduler, from the Leave tab here.  
  • Availability allows you mark an employee as "Unavailable" for this one day, or to make a temporary override to what would ordinarily be this employee's Weekly Work Pattern - see more on Availability in general here.

Want to Learn More About Scheduling?
Now you know how to create, edit and approve shifts in the Scheduler, head over to Scheduling Shortcuts to find out more about Rotageek's timesaving Scheduling functions such as creating shift templates.

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