What is workforce scheduling in construction?

What is workforce scheduling in construction?

While artificial intelligence is certainly changing construction, the industry remains very labor-driven. Given workers aren’t lines of code that can be infinitely duplicated and run, workforce scheduling is very important. Keep reading as we discuss what workforce scheduling entails and how you can do it efficiently.

What is workforce scheduling in construction?

In construction, workforce scheduling is the process of coordinating employees to ensure projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the client’s satisfaction. 

This is a major part of construction workforce management. However, it focuses on a company’s day-to-day operations whereas other workforce management strategies address long-term staffing and human capital planning concerns.

Professionals involved in the workforce scheduling process take several factors into consideration, including workload projections and existing resource allocations.

Workforce management scheduling objectives

Here are the goals any workforce management scheduling plan should achieve.

OPTIMIZING LABOR COSTS

Labor is among the highest costs construction companies incur. A good workforce management scheduling process avoids wasting money in this department by minimizing issues such as:

  • workers sitting idle on job sites
  • high turnover rates
  • unproductivity
  • time theft
  • buddy punching
  • excessive overtime

MAINTAINING QUALITY

Effective construction workforce scheduling can help you ensure quality by grouping employees together appropriately and allocating them based on skills and the project’s needs. This avoids you having to scramble and fill positions on your lineup with whoever’s available, regardless of their suitability for the project.

KEEPING YOUR WORKFORCE FLEXIBLE

It’s tough to make scheduling changes on the fly without an effective strategy. Experienced workforce schedulers use a variety of tools (including software – more on this shortly) to keep track of all workers and their current allocations. Consequently, they’re able to spot at a moment’s notice which employees are capable of being reshuffled if the need arises.

KEEPING WORKERS HAPPY

While workforce scheduling addresses different concerns than long-term human capital planning, professionals overseeing either discipline don’t operate in silos. On the contrary, poor workforce management scheduling can cause burnout and increase a company’s turnover rate.

This is especially damaging in construction, where a company’s workforce capacity can mean the difference between winning or losing bids. A good worker lost by you can turn into a good worker gained by one of your local competitors, making that rival firm the beneficiary of all the investments (i.e. training) you’ve made.

It’s not just about avoiding overworking your employees, either. You should also strive to ensure they’re being allocated to projects that will benefit their career trajectories.

Workforce management scheduling process

Next, let’s explore the steps involved in workforce scheduling. Keep in mind this isn’t something you do once, even on individual projects. Often, construction management professionals will need to reevaluate their scheduling decisions as a project progresses.

1. EVALUATE YOUR LABOR NEEDS

Start by developing a clear picture of your company’s current projects and their associated workforce needs. Remember, workers aren’t fungible. Each employee brings different skills to the table that make them better suited to some projects than others.

Consequently, good workforce schedulers consider the unique skills required on each project and allocate employees accordingly.

2. EVALUATE YOUR CURRENT WORKFORCE’S CAPACITY AND ALLOCATIONS

In this next step, consider how your current workforce allocations correspond with your labor needs. Do you have enough workers? Are they allocated appropriately?

You should also look at worker performance trends. For example, are certain workers habitually slow or absent? On the positive side, do particular workers display proficiencies that would make them ideal for specific types of projects? Are they being allocated accordingly?

3. BEGIN SCHEDULING YOUR WORKFORCE BASED ON THE DATA YOU’VE OBTAINED

In the previous two steps, you collected data and observations that should inform your workforce scheduling going forward. That’s the purpose of this step, which should entail allocating workers to the correct projects based on your data.

4. MAKE SURE YOUR SCHEDULE IS EASILY-ACCESSIBLE

A good workforce schedule should function as a single source of truth. Consequently, it’s imperative that you keep it accessible within your organization. This is much easier with cloud-based scheduling software, which we’ll explore next.

Why workforce scheduling software is important

Any construction management professional knows how fluid the workload can be, especially in companies that manage multiple projects simultaneously. While we as humans bring many unique skills to the construction industry, computers will always be better at tracking large amounts of data (namely, in this case, individual workers and their availability).

That’s where workforce scheduling software comes in. This is our area of expertise at Brigit Solutions. We’re the company behind Bridgit Bench, an acclaimed workforce scheduling software that helps general contractors and subcontractors alike allocate workers efficiently.

With Bridgit Bench, you can:

  • easily identify over and under-allocated team members
  • track each employee’s professional development
  • implement custom fields for each worker (i.e. conditions relevant to your company, such as willingness to relocate or acquire further certifications)
  • analyze workforce data (including forecasting) in real-time

Click here to request a demo of Bridgit Bench. We’ll show you how the software can help your business!

Important features to look for in workforce scheduling software

Next, let’s discuss the essential features of construction workforce management scheduling software. These relate directly to the aforementioned objectives of workforce scheduling.

SPECIALIZATION

Scheduling in the construction industry is its own beast. Few other industries require such attention to detail and logistical mastery. Consequently, the best construction workforce scheduling professionals use dedicated software like Bridgit Bench. We build our tools specifically for the construction industry based on the needs we hear from professionals.

FORECASTING

Looking miles down the road is an important part of workforce scheduling. Good software helps you do that, spotting trends in the data that wouldn’t necessarily be visible to the naked eye.

EASY ACCESS

Scheduling software is no good if it can’t be accessed from virtually anywhere – especially amid the ongoing pandemic. Look for cloud-based software that can be used on mobile and desktop devices.

SIMPLE REPORTING

Continually evaluating your workforce schedule is important. Good software makes this easy by offering reports in common formats like PDF and CSV. Learn more about Bridgit Bench’s capabilities in this regard here.

In construction, workforce scheduling is an important part of resource management. We hope this article has helped you understand what the process entails and how to do it effectively. For more workforce management tips, visit our blog.


Brandon-Richard Austin

Brandon-Richard Austin is a writer and content strategist focused on the construction sector. He’s passionate about educating readers on construction management techniques and best practices.

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