How to keep your frontline workers connected using the Shifts App in Microsoft Teams

How to keep your frontline workers connected using the Shifts App in Microsoft Teams

Connect Frontline workers with the Shifts app

Written by Suzy Dean

Having enjoyed 16 years within the Microsoft eco-system Suzy has an unrivalled and unequivocal understanding of what solutions organisations need to perform at their best and how to meet those requirements on time and in budget. One of the three Microsoft MVP’s within Addin365, Suzy applies her acute understanding of digital possibilities when leading the leadership team and their clients.

20th May 2021

Shifts in Microsoft Teams is a schedule management tool that helps you create, update, and manage schedules for your team.

Frontline workers

Much has been made of office based employees working from home, or remotely, throughout the pandemic period. However, 80% of the global workforce is not bound to a desk, a majority historically overlooked by technology providers. As computing platforms have become more advanced, and commonplace, smartphones with access to productivity services like Microsoft Teams are now ideally suited to the needs of frontline workers. In this blog, we explore how the Shifts app in Microsoft Teams can help organisations connect with their frontline workers, wherever they are, for improved internal communications and productivity.

 

 

The top 8 deskless industries: Agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Retail, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Transportation, and Construction, employ 2.7B employees – 80% of the global workforce.

What is Shifts and why do frontline workers need it?

Microsoft Teams, now boasting 145million daily users, has become the app of choice for employees to stay connected with their colleagues and leadership teams.

 

Designed for mobile use, the Shifts app makes time management and communications easy, allowing frontline and deskless workers, and their management, to remain connected and in sync, wherever they are working.

 

As a schedule management tool, managers can produce, edit and manage schedules for their teams, which then appear directly in the calendar. Notifications can be shared instantly to either a specific worker, or a group, including resource documents such as policies, daily news, urgent announcements and even video recordings.

 

Employees are empowered with a personalised schedule view, allowing them to see their upcoming shifts, request to exchange shifts with colleagues, view upcoming available shifts and request time off from management.

 

The Shifts app is available to all Teams users, but will have to be enabled by Admin (IT).

 

You can watch the ‘What is Shifts’ video from Microsoft below, or keep reading to discover the possibilities for Admins (IT), Managers and Employees:

 

Admin:

  1. Enable Shifts for your users.
  2. Pin the Shifts app to the Teams navigation bar
  3. Set up the Frontline Worker policy

 

Managers:

  1. Access and use the Shifts app
  2. Manage your team’s schedule
  3. Create groups for your employees
  4. Copy repeated schedules to save time
  5. Notify your team with updates
  6. Recieve clock in / clock out and location data

 

Employees / Frontline Workers:

  1. Access and use the Shifts app
  2. Manage your own schedule
  3. Request time off, swap shifts and schedule breaks
  4. View upcoming available shifts
  5. Clock in and out of your shift and notify of your location

 

 

How to set up and use Shifts:

The Shifts app is available to all Teams users, but will have to be enabled by your Microsoft Teams admin. Click the relevant button to skip to the steps for your role.

Instructions for admins: Enable Shifts for Teams and pin the app for selected users.

To enable the Shifts app for your employee acess the Microsoft Teams Admin Centre, then follow these steps:

 

  1. From the bar on the left, open the Teams app.
  2. Click ‘Manage Apps’.
  3. Search Shifts and click to open.
  4. Select ‘Allow’.

 

You can now add Shifts to your users’ Teams and pin the app to their side bar of the Teams desktop client and at the bottom of the Teams mobile clients—where users can quickly and easily access them.

 

 

To pin Shifts, whilst still in the Microsoft Teams Admin Centre follow these steps:

 

  1. From the bar on the left, open the Teams app.
  2. Click ‘Set-Up Policies’ and select ‘Global’.
  3. Locate your pinned app and click ‘Add Apps’.
  4. From the box on the left you can open the drop down menu labelled ‘Search based on this app permission policy’ and select ‘Global’.
  5. You can now type ‘Shifts’ into the search bar, select, then click ‘Add’.

 

Once Microsoft Teams has been restarted the Shifts app will be enabled and pinned for your employees to start using.

 

Teams now includes a built-in Frontline Worker app setup policy which includes the Activity, Shifts, Chat, and Calling apps. This policy can be assigned whilst in the Microsoft Teams Admin Centre by doing the following:

  1. Open your ‘Users’ in the bar on the left.
  2. Select the relevant users and click on ‘Policies’. Then click ‘Edit’.
  3. In the box on the right locate ‘Frontline Worker’, then click ‘Apply’.

 

Warehouse

 Microsoft Teams has reached 145 million daily active users, an increase of 30 million since the company’s last update in October 2020.

For Managers: Access Shifts in Teams:

Open up Microsoft Teams and click the elipsis circled in the image below (1.) to open your application box. You can now type ‘Shifts’ in the search bar (2), then click on the Shifts app icon that has appeared (3). Once you’ve selected your correct timezone you can start creating schedules.

 

 

For Managers: Use Shifts in Teams:

Once you have accessed Shifts, you have the following capabilities, circled in the image below:

 1) Manage and use your schedule – Create, edit and manage your team’s past, present and future schedules from here. You can also add notes to describe or explain any edits you make.

 2) Create your own groups – Group employees together for more targetted communications.

3) Copy shifts – Save time by copying the same weekly / monthly shifts for your team whenever possible.

4) Share your schedule so everybody is up to date – Once you’ve created or edited your schedule you can choose to notify all group members or specific individuals only.

 

For Employees: Access Shifts in Teams:

Open up Microsoft Teams and click the elipsis circled in the image below (1.) to open your application box. You can now type ‘Shifts’ in the search bar (2), then click on the Shifts app icon that has appeared (3). Once you’ve selected your correct timezone you can start viewing your schedules.

 

 

For Employees: Access Shifts in Teams:

Once you have accessed Shifts, you have the following capabilities, circled in the image below:

1) View your own schedule – In the central timeline you can view past, present and future schedule, including free shifts which you can request to fill.

 

2) Request – Use this button to request time off from your management or swap shifts with your colleagues.

 

3) Time clock – Clock in and out of your shifts, notify your organisation exactly when you arrive and leave work, directly from your mobile. Location settings can also be enabled here so your management know when you have arrived and left their destinations. 

 

 

 

Do let us know in the comments section below what you think of the Shifts app, and what other functions you might like to see within Microsoft Teams to help streamline your work process.

 

You can learn more about how our Work Hub solution enriches Microsoft Teams for improved productivity and collaboration here AddIn365 – AddIn Work Hub .

 

We regularly share the latest functions within Microsoft Teams and how to best utilise them, our insight can be found here, on LinkedIn and on Twitter, so do give us a follow. Leave a comment below to ask your question about how to get the most out of your digital experience or email an enquiry to hello@addin365.com.

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