The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

How to up your rostering game during and post-pandemic

Jake Harvey

With plenty of uncertainty still in the air, FlexiTime CMO Jake Harvey shares some strategies for boosting your bottom line with effective management of rostering, timesheets, and payroll in 2022.

The uncertain climate of the last two years has affected businesses across the board, but the hospitality sector has been hit harder than most – particularly high-density venues such as bars, pubs and clubs. Of course, it’s also been tough on hospo staff, with regular disruptions and decreased earnings during lockdowns, and additional rules and regulations to enforce at other Alert Levels. How can you, as a business owner or manager, streamline your operation to maximise profitability in this environment, while keeping your staff happy and at the top of their game?

Tech timesavers

Whether you’re already using technology to run your staff operations, or managing things with spreadsheets and calculators, now’s a good time to review your setup. Technology moves fast, and it’s worth taking the time to ensure you’re making the most of the best cloud-based tools available.
The tools you need to manage even the most complex hospo operations are at your fingertips. Ideally you should be connecting your rostering, timesheet, payroll, HR and accounting systems together so the data seamlessly flows through. When you build a suite of integrated cloud-based management apps, you’ll begin to see the magic of increased accuracy and time savings emerge.
If not, you’re not only lagging behind, you may also be missing out on vital cost savings with significant potential to impact your overall business performance. The move to upgrade to smarter technology may feel like an overwhelming and time-consuming hurdle, but the potential for improving long run efficiencies is massive. Getting things in place before the (hopefully busy) summer season is highly recommended.

Data is power

Simply put, access to real-time data drives better business decisions. Gone are the days of a hospo boss relying on vague head counts, verbal particulars or manual tallies while they drown in a sea of paper. Improvements to tech-based payroll and workforce management are offering incredible insights and tools for a savvy owner or manager to take advantage of.

Maintaining the right cost/revenue ratio is crucial to success, especially in times of uncertainty or when every trading hour counts. Real-time data can allow you to review forecasts against actual revenue. Having access to a breakdown of wage costs on an hourly, daily and weekly basis, eliminates any guess work and helps you maintain the right ratios for each department, every day.

Timing is everything

The benefits of basing your staff attendance on a time clock can’t be overstated. It’s the quickest and most convenient way for staff to record their time. Real-time stamping gives you the ability to monitor the variance between your budgeted and actual staff costs as the week progresses, as well as keeping track of rest and meal breaks.
Top quality time clock-enabled software makes it simple to avoid unplanned and unbudgeted overtime for employees, or to apply rules around shifts, such as putting strict start and end times in place. Using a photo-based time clock can be especially useful in a hospo environment to avoid buddy punching and so all staff can see at a glance who’s currently on the clock.
Ultimately, a time clock creates a sense of fairness by accurately recording hours, so both the staff and owner know they’re not being taken advantage of.

Delegate down the chain
Depending on the size and structure of your operation, the introduction of online management tools allows you to delegate your rostering, freeing you up for the more important stuff.
FlexiTime’s rostering app Droppah allows duty managers, bar managers or head chefs access to build their own rosters and manage staff attendance, while providing the higher-ups with a bird’s eye view of what’s going on.
When patterns of busy vs quiet times are less predictable, giving department leaders a little more responsibility can empower them, increase job satisfaction, and promote more cohesion for staff overall, all proven ways to develop the kind of hospitality environment that flourishes, whenever it’s open and trading.

Nailing entitlements for public holidays

When it comes to public holiday calculations, Otherwise Working Days (OWDs) are days an employee would normally work if it hadn’t been a public holiday. Whether a given public holiday is an OWD for each employee in turn determines their entitlement.
All employees who work on a public holiday are paid time and a half, but the OWD determines whether they also accrue an alternative day (day in lieu), or whether they’re paid for the day even if not required to work. A public holiday can even be an OWD for a casual employee if there was any expectation that they would have otherwise worked that day.
These calculations can be soul-destroying if you’re manually reviewing several weeks of timesheets for each one of your employees after every public holiday. Look for a payroll system with the ability to automatically determine OWDs from employee work patterns or timesheets.
Using excellent cloud-based software can make these calculations virtually effortless for busy payroll managers, and getting your calculations right the first time will save you time and money.

Public holidays and night shifts

If an employee’s shift runs across midnight into a public holiday, e.g from Sunday at 7pm through to a public holiday Monday at 3am, and the Monday is an OWD for that employee, they should be paid five hours normal pay for the Sunday hours worked, plus at least time-and-a-half for the three hours worked on the Monday, and they’re entitled to an alternative day as well.
This entitlement to an alternative holiday applies, even if the person only works for an hour or two on the public holiday.
In some situations it makes sense to transfer part of the public holiday. Rather than splitting the shift up, this essentially means changing the start time of public holidays. Further information on this can be found at

New timesheet requirements

The government is currently undertaking a review of the Holidays Act, and has signalled some significant changes.
The recommendations from the review require hours worked to be recorded on a day-by-day basis, rather than a total number of hours for the week. This information will be used in leave calculations and will need to appear on payslips, so it’s going to be essential to hold this level of timesheet detail in your payroll software.
It’s well worth getting ahead of this change and putting the right measures in place now, so you don’t need to scramble when the changes become law.

A team-based approach

At the end of the day, the success of a hospitality venue depends on your most important asset – your staff. When they feel valued and cared for they pass on that same vibe to your customers. You can’t please all the people all the time, but it’s well worth making an effort to accommodate people’s preferences when it comes to building rosters. Accounting for unavailability and shift preferences keeps people happy and means you’re not wasting time re-doing rosters. Rostering software can take these elements and more (skills, experience, cost, etc) into account to automatically build highly optimised rosters that you can then tweak for perfection. With automatic, real-time calculations, you can edit rosters and review how any changes influence your wage costs before you publish the roster and send it to staff.

Find out more about FlexiTime’s rostering, time clock and payroll products at

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