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Scheduling software and policies

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by babyjay newsignon, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. Does anyone know of any scheduling software or program that would help keep track of how many days off a person is allowed or has taken, that can project out for the full year and people can access to make requests in the system? All I see used at our place is Google calendar.

    While we're talking scheduling, for the copy editors out there, how does your shop do scheduling? Is it based on seniority? A lottery system? The whim of the boss? I'm trying to figure out a way that will keep me from feeling like crap when I have to tell everyone "no" all the time . . .
  2. beanpole

    beanpole Member

    I keep track of everything manually, which is a pain in the ass for a shop of 35 people. If there's software out there, I'd love to see it.

    As far as vacations, I figure out the maximum number of people that can take vacation at the same time and stick to it. Then I let seniority rule for any vacation request in my hands before March 1 -- that gives the vets the chance to claim Christmas week if they want. On March 1 I send out vacation approval notes for anything that I can reasonably sign off on, then throw it open to first-come, first-served. Most importantly, I tell everyone the policy, and haven't had any complaints.
  3. Wow, you do Christmas week by seniority? Doesn't the most senior person take it every year? We do a lottery for holidays and holiday weeks. Our "newest" person has been here at least eight years.
  4. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    There are systems out there. We used one at Delta. I'm sure it was expensive, as it managed 10,000+ employees at ATL.

    I'm sure there's smaller, cheaper ones out there.
  5. funky_mountain

    funky_mountain Active Member

    Google 'vacation tracker' and see what you find.
  6. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    I think my former shop did it as well as anywhere I've been.

    There was a 3-ring binder with 12 monthly calendar pages in it. No one but the boss wrote anything in it, and when people gave him time off requests, he wrote them in the binder to make it official. Once 2 people were taking that week (full or more than 2-3 days), it was "locked" and no one else could take PTO during that week. The binder was kept in a specific spot on his desk that everyone had access to, and was at his fingertips when he was putting together schedules.

    As far as requesting time off, it went on a rotating thing based on rank and seniority. Starting with the boss and his assistants, then progressing through rank, people could request PTO time, 2 weeks (or 10 days) at a time. When it got to the bottom, it went back up to the top for 2 more weeks of requests, and so on until everyone had all their PTO time scheduled or said "Skip me, I'll schedule it later." That way the bosses and people with most seniority got the first pick, but couldn't take all the best weeks and leave the newest people with last choice of vacation time. And with it being so cut-and-dried, there was minimal bitching about wanting to take vacation time and having the request be denied. The boss put a checklist in the front inside folder of the binder that had the PTO policy, the listing of the selection order and how many weeks every employee had coming.

    On the holidays, there was no one allowed to take vacation during holiday weeks. The thinking was that with things being as short-staffed as it was toward the end, if anyone took off for the week of Christmas, for example, pretty much the rest of the desk would have to work 5 days that week and no one else would get a holiday day off somewhere in there. I didn't necessarily agree with that part of it, but I saw why it was done.
  7. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    Ours is based on seniority, for the most part.

    Everybody works most of the major holidays. We allow most vacation requests, even if it leaves us ridiculously short-staffed. Reason being, we'd all prefer to take off when we want, and we'd just prefer to be slammed in order to make that happen.
  8. beanpole

    beanpole Member

    I do, and yes, he does.
  9. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Best system I ever worked under (and it was at a small, 10K daily) was part seniority, part equality regarding holidays

    It was understood that, among the three copy editors who laid out the news section of the paper, one would work the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, one would work Christmas Eve/Christmas, and the other would work New Year's Eve/New Year's Day. The "news editor" (aka copy desk chief) picked first, next in seniority picked next.

    I was lowest on the totem pole, so I always worked the Christmas days. But it was nice to know I had the four-day Thanksgiving weekend off every year, which hasn't happened since I left that shop.
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