For some employees, flexibility in scheduling is helpful and necessary. Reporters, for instance, may need to adjust to early-morning events or late-evening events. For other employees, scheduling rigidity is essential. Anchors and hosts, for instance, need to be at their assigned posts in time to prepare and deliver the news according to the clock.
So, on any given day, you may have fixed-scheduled employees and flex-schedule employees. You should establish the parameters for each employee based on this model. Fixed schedules will have regular start and end times. Flex-schedule employees will need on-going scheduling attention — but can be given default schedules that only change when variations are communicated. Flex-schedules require as much advance notice as possible.
Holidays may include special variations — such as granting some staff holidays while using others to hold down key airshifts. As holidays are well known in advance, plan your holiday rotations as far in advance as possible.
Similarly, you can communicate the need to plan vacations as far in advance as possible. It is important to accommodate the vacation needs of employees while maintaining a viable news service.
Scheduling back up and fill in personnel will be easier if you have defined back-up personnel. First back-up and second back-up for an air host, for example, helps clarify who is affected and what procedures are enacted when the host is unavailable.
You’ll have legal and labor rules to navigate in scheduling personnel. Be sure to work in cooperation with your human resource office. Newswork can be demanding and require flexibility in staffing and scheduling, but that should be no excuse for treating employees unfairly or denying them their due benefits or appropriate compensation.