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A computer-assembled monthly schedule.

A computer-assembled monthly schedule

Efficient preparation of monthly work schedules, providing sufficient notice of what lies ahead, is appreciated not only by management but also by employees. A supervisor receives more support and understanding from the staff if the February schedule is issued in December or early January rather than on Jan. 31.

A program I wrote in Apple Basic on the Apple IIe provides a simple way to do the job. It keeps a permanent record on disk of current employees and their basic weekly schedules, which can be redefined at any time. The basic weekly schedules are also easily modified for temporary purposes --holidays, vacation time, personal days, compensatory time, and shift changes--then automatically assembled by the program into a monthly master schedule listing all employees and their hours.

One menu in the program asks how many days the month has and which day of the week the first of the month falls on. With that information, the program can display each employee's monthly schedule based on his or her typical week. The scheduler then modifies any particular days in the employee's monthly schedule to reflect current needs, from holidays to shift changes.

Figure I shows the permanent basic schedules of several employees, with shifts denoted by letters. The "modify schedules' menu presented in Figure II accompanies an individual employee's schedule, which has already been modified for a holiday. If the lab shuts down on a holiday, that can be entered in the master schedule for all employees, as in Figure III.

Employees are given individual schedules to take home. Most days, the employee in Figure II is on a C schedule, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. He works late Mondays and usually has weekends off. Menu keys A through J provide the option of substituting other hours for an employee's normal shift. For example, B stands for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., F for a part-time 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. K is a set of hours that varies from one month to the next--it gives the scheduler yet another option on shifts.

When any of the other keys listed in the Figure II menu is pressed, an abbreviation is entered in the designated day of the schedule. The L key produces COM for compensatory time, the N key produces HOL for holiday, and the P key produces /L for late work (in conjunction with the regular hours worked that day). M produces a blank for day off.

At the bottom of the monthly master schedule in Figure III is a directory explaining what the various letters and abbreviations mean. Just above that is an important aspect of the program--a summary of how many employees are on duty in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. This is automatically prepared. Certain staff members listed in the schedule, such as administrative personnel, can be dropped by the program from the totals of those on duty.

Within the schedule, I group together individuals from the same section as a quick reference in determining coverage for different areas of the laboratory. Of course, if a lab is large enough, each section would have its own schedule.

Two other features are worth noting. Blank schedules marked off with the days of the month, or schedules with employees' typical hours, can be prepared for use as manual scheduling worksheets. And each month's schedule can be saved to disk for future reference and editing.

If further developed, the program could provide for retrospective entry of sick days, actual vacation time taken, and other schedule changes. Quarterly, semiannual, and annual summaries of employees' hours could then be issued.

Readers interested in obtaining a hard copy of the program should send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the author at 122 Centre St., Somerset, Mass. 02726.

Photo: Figure I Employees' basic weekly schedule

Photo: Figure II Menu to modify an employee's schedule

Photo: Figure III A monthly master schedule
COPYRIGHT 1988 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:work schedule
Author:McNamara, Donald J.
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:column
Date:Jan 1, 1988
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