Labor scheduling guidelines for construction companies

Labor scheduling guidelines for construction companies

For construction companies, effective labor scheduling can mean the difference between completing projects on time and running massive cost overruns. Keep reading for a labor scheduling template along with some tips that will help you get started.

Construction labor scheduling guidelines

Construction labor scheduling should include the following components.

Project details

Subcontractors generally find it helpful to map each project’s schedule in its own document. This helps workforce management staff find what they’re looking for much faster.

Our template contains fields for your project:

  • name
  • start date
  • end date
  • client/owner
  • total budget


The schedule itself contains these columns:

  • entry date, which is where you’ll write the date on which the labor allocation was made
  • task, in which you’ll describe what the worker is being asked to accomplish
  • task start date
  • task end date
  • task duration
  • resource, which will contain the name of the crew or individual worker handling this task
  • resource cost, which is where you’ll input the cost incurred as a result of the allocation (read this article for more information about calculating labor costs)
  • budget balance, which is where you’ll subtract the resource cost from the total budget, leaving yourself with an indication of how the allocation fits into overall project spending

Construction labor scheduling tips

Next, let’s discuss a few tips for ensuring accuracy and efficiency while scheduling construction labor.

Use dedicated software

While labor scheduling in Excel is common among smaller construction companies, those serious about productivity and efficiency use dedicated workforce management software.

Applications like Bridgit Bench will help you visualize worker allocations with just a few clicks. Meanwhile, you could easily spend hours crafting formulas that don’t even deliver results anywhere near as good with Excel spreadsheets.

Check out this page for a detailed comparison between Bridgit Bench and Excel spreadsheets for the purpose of construction labor scheduling.

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Treat your labor schedule as more than just a reference document; it’s an analytical tool

Savvy construction workforce management professionals use their labor schedules for more than just keeping track of who’s doing what, where, and when. For example, these schedules can offer tremendous value during the human capital planning process.

For instance, they can help you identify exemplary workers who might be prime candidates for promotions. Schedules can also help you identify skill gaps – those areas in which you lack the personnel capable of meeting demands.

Check out this article for more information about using construction workforce data to eliminate skill gaps.

Use labor planning tools that keep your workforce accountable

One major negative impact of poor construction labor planning is that it lets unproductive workers hide. The construction industry is notoriously plagued by issues such as buddy punching, which can severely impact a project’s financials.

This is why it’s so important to incorporate accountability measures into your construction labor scheduling process. Bridgit Bench achieves this through functionality such as reporting, human resources databases, and dashboards that present management with very clear data on key performance indicators.

Beyond increasing accountability, these features help construction management professionals identify under-supported teams. It’s not all about confrontation, after all. The goal is to see which parts of your workforce aren’t meeting targets – for any reason.

Monitor the usage of your labor scheduling tools

This is another area where dedicated construction labor scheduling tools are a major help. 

It’s hard to track who’s using Excel spreadsheets and PDFs emailed around (or worse – printed out and distributed). With software, you can see who’s logged in and made changes.

Maintain a single source of truth

Things are bound to deviate from the original plan on any construction project. Even smaller changes can have big implications for your labor scheduling, necessitating revisions.

This can quickly become a hassle for construction companies handling resource allocations without cloud-based software. Just picture changes made to a PDF that subsequently needs to be mailed around so everyone has an updated copy. It’s a logistical nightmare!

Meanwhile, with cloud-based construction labor scheduling software, you don’t even need to worry about it. Changes on one computer will automatically propagate to other systems, including mobile applications being used remotely.

This will free your managers to have more meaningful conversations about their work.

Get to know your team

Making effective labor scheduling decisions is impossible without knowing your team members and their skills. 

Each worker will naturally be predisposed to certain kinds of tasks. Good managers will recognize this and keep valuable information about each employee’s strengths and weaknesses somewhere, like a human resources database.

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Create a process for requesting scheduling changes

People are among the most complicated of all construction’s many moving parts. Savvy labor management professionals create processes for workers who need to request schedule changes.

The best of the best go one step further and directly involve workers in their scheduling decisions. This can make inconvenient last-minute requests for changes less likely.

Dedicated construction labor scheduling software facilitates this by giving users various access levels. Some can finalize scheduling decisions, while others can merely make suggestions.

Keep your labor schedule readily accessible

Construction management professionals should be able to access the most up-to-date labor schedule with just a few clicks. This will help them manage resource allocations on the fly in between meetings or before heading off on a long drive to the job site.

You guessed it – dedicated software makes this much simpler as well! Management staff will easily open their scheduling applications from anywhere, including on mobile devices.

Monitor your schedule’s effectiveness

Novice construction management professionals often make the mistake of measuring their schedule’s effectiveness based solely on whether projects get completed on time.

There are so many other measures of success, however, including your:

  • workforce utilization rate
  • employee satisfaction
  • quality assurance metrics
  • labor costs (specifically, how they compare to those of competitors in your area)

By evaluating your workforce schedule more creatively, you’ll find many ways to optimize it and deliver even better client results.

We hope you found this resource helpful from the perspective of increasing your labor scheduling efficiency. For more construction workforce management tips, visit our blog.

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Michel Richer

Michel Richer is the Manager of Content and Product Marketing at Bridgit. He started in the construction industry early on with a local restoration company. Michel is driven to propel the construction industry forward by helping to eliminate outdated, ineffective processes.

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