In my previous article I shed some light on how we use Airtable to run our business.
I also mentioned that this will be a series of articles describing different activities we run using this masterpiece of clean and powerful tech. In this installment of the series, you’ll discover how we organize our entire team’s schedule using Airtable.
Strict schedule or…
It is not a secret that when you run a classic business you have an office and most likely you have a set, strict schedule to keep complete control on working hours, people and tasks. But what if you do not have an office and your team is spread across the globe in different time zones? How do you known when they work on tasks, when they have days off, etc.?
The Art of
War…of Time management
During my career I have worked for different companies with different service level policies—from 24/7 service with 3 weekday shifts + 2 weekend shifts, to completely free schedules that everybody within the company sets for himself.
This last case exactly describes how we run our schedule here at MemberFix. We’ve found that this is—so far—the best model for services like ours. It gives us flexibility and yet enough of control over what is most important.
It also allows the team members in our organization to feel free and confident because every person is different and their productivity depends on many factors we might be not aware of (including factors outside of work itself).
So when person is free to choose his own schedule, and assuming he is a mature professional—it gives him the breathing room to perform at his absolute best.
The Airtable Schedule
Here is the basic grid view (no filters applied) of our schedule in Airtable:
There are not that many fields in this scheduler and most of them are self-explanatory.
- Day – a Formula field type with a very simple value: Team Member + Status. Everything This is a concatenation (fancy word for combination) of 2 pieces of texts from 2 different fields
- Date – pretty much self-explanatory
- Team Member – A linked record field that picks up the team member’s name from the “Team” table
- Status – a single select field with some pre-defined values to choose from (Working, Regular Off, Paid off, Content days)
- First Name – a formula field that searches the first name of a team member in the “Team” table
Below is an example of how the Day formula looks like:
So far it does not look like a normal schedule, right? But you already know that Airtable has a very powerful feature – Views.
Here is where the magic begins – the calendar view!
Now it looks like a real schedule, after initial setup you can forget about the raw view.
From now on you have complete control over the schedule from within the calendar view. You can drag and drop items to adjust the schedule, duplicate or delete items, and so forth. By default, the calendar view in Airtable lets you pick convenient time spans such as monthly, bi-weekly and weekly to get a quick glimpse of your team’s schedule.
You can also add items in this view by clicking on “+” item on top right corner of the block for respective day:
Remember how we used a Formula in the very first field of the table? Whilst it is just a simple concatenation of 2 fields, in this particular view it gives you very powerful abilities if you click on “Expand field”:
You may search and link records to tables from right within this popup! As i said there is no need to return to that ugly raw view anymore, everything you need is available in this expanded view!
Of course, the above merely represents the technical approach we use for scheduling in Airtable.
But we also mind some internal rules when choosing our schedules. for example we mind that there should be at least 2 persons available each single day to work on tasks. So we communicate with each other on that matter before setting our schedules. You might have different policy in your team so if you would go for our approach I suggest you start with the above as a base for developing your own unique schedule and policies.
More interesting information on how we use Airtable in certain aspects of our business to come!
Excellent series, Viktor! I’m looking forward to more!