New Feature: Time Off Coverage Requests

July 20, 2022

If you’re a pharmacy or clinic staff manager, you already know the daily challenges that exist when handling time-off requests. Staff shortages and heightened patient demand continue to spread pharmacy and clinic staff shift coverage very thin.

Two pharmacists checking their inventory in their pharmacy

Creating and managing staff schedules can sometimes seem like two separate tasks, and both involve balancing time off requests, shift preferences, and adequate coverage with qualified employees. Future schedules are released for convenience and proper planning, but changes in live schedules will always occur, and having an efficient way to manage these requests is a welcomed solution for pharmacies of all sizes.

When an hourly employee doesn’t have vacation time to use but they request additional time off for a scheduling period that has already been published, pharmacies can now implement a standard process for handling this type of time off request without pushing the responsibility of shift coverage back onto admins.

The struggle with time off requests for live schedules usually isn’t coming from admins not wanting to honor the request, but rather the time and effort needed to cover the shift.

With Schedule360’s new time off coverage requests feature, users can submit requests for time off, and an admin can approve it contingent on the staff finding their own replacement for the shift.

  • This feature works at a location level.
  • This feature makes the entire process electronic and removes the manual process completely.
  • Coverage requests for OT can be set to pending. This creates checks and balances, so you can’t have someone who is close to OT take a shift with OT approval first.

New Feature Overview: How it Works

  • The first step of the process begins when an employee makes the request for time off by submitting it through the platform. The employee can choose to add a note if desired. Once the request is submitted, it then goes into a pending state, just like a regular time-off request.
  • Schedulers can go into the pending time-offs. They can view the request and either approve it, deny it, or set it to “coverage”, meaning they approve the time-off request provided the employee can get the shift covered.
  • The request changes from a pending status to a covered status and is approved if another employee picks up the shift, closing the loop for coverage and communicating the coverage and change to all parties.
  • The open shift will only show up to employees qualified to cover the shift. An automated email message is sent to the employee who submitted the time-off request letting them know the shift is covered and the request is now approved.

Customer Feedback in Action

Schedule360 is always listening to customer feedback. Based on this feedback, we create new innovative features that solve real scheduling issues. Coverage is a significant dilemma for many of our clients. This feature demonstrates the efficient management process of handling this sort of time off request that only Schedule360 can provide. Thanks to this new feature, anyone can quickly request the time off as it’s not reserved for only those employees who are out of PTO.

This new feature is the ideal solution for the common scenario where the schedule has already been created, but employees want additional time off. This feature eliminates the time-consuming back and forth routine of having to reach out to the scheduler to request time off, then reaching out to fellow employees and asking if someone can take your shift, then going back to the scheduler to say “Hey, this person can take my shift.” And so on.

Before the development of this feature, the scheduler had to manually verify that the replacement staff was qualified and not pushing into OT. It was time consuming and required the scheduler to reach out to the employee covering the shift to confirm and then follow up with the original shift holder to say “Yes, you can have time off”.

Rules-Based Automation

This new feature is yet another example of innovative solutions with rules-based automation that Schedule360 provides. You can set it up to suit the needs and guidelines of your location, shifts get covered, and time off requests can be approved with much less manual back and forth. Make better use of your resources and allow more work-life balance to your Admins and Employees the Schedule360 way by working smarter, not harder, through leveraging technology to create more efficiency in the workplace. If you’re ready to see our software in action, contact Schedule360 for a configured demo today.

At Schedule360, We Know Scheduling™