Better manage your rosters with Shift Swapping

Better manage your rosters with Shift Swapping

I am pretty confident in thinking that managing a roster can sometimes get overly frustrating for managers, accountants, bookkeepers and outsourced payroll bureaus. The time spent analysing, forward planning and reviewing unavailability can all be thrown out the window once a roster is published. Employees can have unforeseen personal and/or family responsibilities whereby they cannot always work the shifts they have been assigned. Additionally, there are employees desperate for more shifts than what they've been rostered.

The back and forth that follows after publishing a roster can test anyone's patience! Why not empower your clients' employees to fill the shifts they cannot perform? Imagine the time a manager can save by removing this cumbersome task off their To Do list whilst still maintaining control of the roster?

How does shift swapping work in practice?

To enable shift swapping, select "Employees can swap shifts that have been assigned to them". This setting is located in Payroll Settings > Rostering.

An example of the full shift swap workflow is as follows:

Step 1:

Jack Cody receives a notification for a new shift that has been assigned to him.

Step 2:

Jack can either accept, decline or swap the shift. The shift is on a very special day for him so he chooses to swap the shift with another employee. To do this, Jack clicks on 'Swap':

Shift swapping

Jack chooses, from a dropdown list of eligible employees, the employee he wants to swap the shift with and then enters a comment for Lachlan to see:


Step 3:

Lachlan is notified that there is a shift swap that he needs to action. He logs into his employee dashboard to view the details of the shift:

Shift swapping

Step 4:

Lachlan knows that Jack is a romantic at heart and would be devastated if he couldn't have the day off. He desperately needs the money as well so decides to accept the swap. Once he clicks on 'Accept Swap', the shift status updates to 'Awaiting Approval':

Shift swapping

Step 5:

Jack's manager, Sandra, receives a notification of a pending shift swap that requires approval. Sandra logs into the roster and clicks on the swap shifts icon to view the details of the swap:

Shift swapping

Step 6:

Sandra reviews the details and is happy to approve the swap. Who wants a grumpy employee at work anyway, right?! She clicks on 'Approve'. Jack and Lachlan receive a notification confirming the swap has been approved and the shift is automatically reassigned in the roster to Lachlan.

Sounds great, but we're concerned our managers will lose control over the roster!

Rest assured, chaos will not ensue once employees are allowed to swap shifts! The process can still be controlled by:

  • Knowing who has swapped their shift and to whom;
  • Approving the shift swap before it is applied to the roster; and
  • Tracking shift swaps over periods of time using the Shift Swapping Report.


There are 2 notification settings that managers can switch on to receive email alerts:

  1. A daily reminder that notifies the manager of all pending shift swaps - this details the shift date, the employee initiating the swap and who it is being swapped with; and
  2. An instant notification for when a shift swap requires manager approval.

Swap Cut Off Period

At a business level, you can set the cut off period where an employee can no longer swap a shift. If the setting prescribes that a shift can be swapped up to 48 hours before the shift commences, employees will be prevented from swapping a shift the day before the shift commences.

Manager Approval

Another business level setting is choosing what level of manager approval will apply regarding shift swapping. The options are:

  1. No manager approval required at all: In this scenario, when an employee accepts a shift swap the shift will automatically be reassigned in the roster to the employee who accepted the swap.
  2. Manager approval only required where the swapped shift cost is higher than the original shift cost: In this scenario, the manager will be notified only when the shift cost, as a result of the swap, becomes higher than the original shift cost. If this is the case, the manager will need to approve the swap before it is confirmed. Otherwise, if the swapped shift cost is equal to or lower than the original shift cost, the shift will automatically be reassigned in the roster to the employee who accepted the swap.
  3. Swapped shifts always require manager approval: In this scenario, when an employee accepts a shift swap the shift will need to be approved by the manager before it is reassigned in the roster to the employee who accepted the swap.

These approval settings are configured via Payroll Settings > Rostering:

Shift swapping

Manager Rejection

When a manager rejects a shift swap, they will need to enter a reason:

Shift swapping

Both employees will then be notified and the shift will remain assigned in the roster to the original employee.

Shift Swapping Report

Our new report - Shift Swapping - captures details for all shifts that have been swapped between employees, whether they have been rejected, approved, cancelled or are still pending. This provides a great analysis of:

  • employees who regularly swap shifts;
  • number of shifts swapped over a period of time;
  • common days where shift swaps occur;
  • cost analysis between original shifts and swapped shifts.

This report is automatically available to all full access users and is listed under Time & Attendance in Reports. Restricted users will need to be given access to the report via Manage Users.

To clarify, employees can manage shift swapping via email/sms notifications as well as their employee dashboard. We will be releasing shift swapping in WorkZone in due course.

Shift swapping is available to all subscribers on the Plus plan.

Dimitra Karas

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