Once the workload is established and quantified, a planner will break it down into shifts that have start and end times. These start and end times are based on the constraints also identified earlier.
The constraints will force the planner to do some math gymnastics to get to shifts that make sense for the employees and that cover the workload appropriately. The important item to remember in this step is that even though the planner is trying to match the number of hours of work with the sum of shift durations, they most probably won’t match.
Depending on the profile of the workload, it may not be possible to service a peak of customers just for two hours. If the planner has to deal with a constraint of a minimum shift of 4 hours in duration, then the total number of hours in the shifts will exceed the workload to cover this peak.
Therefore, the next steps should be planned using the hours in the shifts and not necessarily the hours in the workload only.
It is also important to remember all the different skills that are required to run a business. A planner will typically have to create a set of shifts for each of these skills (unless they can be combined to be worked by the same person). This also adds more hours to the total that is used for deciding what to hire.