The ability to auto-approve removes the current reliance on a Team owner to approve requests. In less formal Teams, this would be an excellent improvement to speed up the process and give autonomy to your team members.
While most of the templates’ triggers are set to use “Recurrence” (regularly reviewing requests and approving on the hour), you can also create your own flow using Shifts itself as a trigger instead.
Note: In high-activity Teams, using Recurrence as the trigger might cut down the number of runs/flows you use if that’s a consideration for you. Using Shifts as the trigger as seen below will run every time a request is made, but provides a faster response to your users.
The templates for Power Automate auto-approval of Shifts requests range from simple flows to more complex flows. Check them out below:
Shifts, formerly StaffHub, is an app available for use within Microsoft Teams to share schedules and allow employees to submit requests. There is also a mobile app that can be used for many of the same desktop features, and adds a clock in/out functionality for members.
In this post, I’ll go over some Shifts basics to give you an idea of what’s possible. Please note you must be a Team owner to set up Shifts for your team.
Set up Shifts for the first time
To get started using Shifts, open Teams and select the ellipses from the left menu. Here you can select the Shifts app.
Next, you’ll choose the Team for which you’re configuring Shifts. Click Create next to the correct Team.
Next, confirm the time zone you want to use for this team. Once correct, click Confirm.
Add groups/types of shifts
Next, you’ll want to do some planning. What types of Shifts are you going to be scheduling? For each “type” of shift, you’ll create a group.
Click Add group and enter a name for each group/type of shifts or roles.
Once you’ve added all the possible types of shifts, you may wish to reorder the shift groups. Just click the “move” button on any of the groups, then drag the groups into the order you wish and save.
Add members to groups/roles
Choose who will have shifts in each group by selecting the “add people to group” icon.
Add members you wish, then close the dialog.
A person can be a member of multiple roles. For example, I may have shifts in concessions AND the admin office. You must add these members manually to each group they’ll appear in – they are not automatically added to all groups.
Add shifts for members
You can double-click in any square on the schedule to add a shift.
If you add a shift to “Open shifts” you can assign it later.
Share/publish the schedule
As you add Shifts, changes will be marked with an asterisk meaning only you as an owner can see them. You must Share with team to publish changes and let others see the schedule.
After clicking Share with team, you choose which dates to “publish” and whether to notify the entire team or just those affected by the changes/additions.
Remember to “share” every time you make changes so members are aware of your edits or new schedules.
Adding time off for members
To add time off for a team member, just right-click a square in their row and choose Add time off. Time off will appear in ALL groups for that team member – you can’t have a sick or vacation day in one shift group, and work in another.
You can classify these time off shifts in different ways, and save when satisfied.
If someone requests time off after they’ve already been scheduled you can move their affected assigned shifts to open shifts to re-assign later or have them make a request for someone to cover them.
Your team members, not just owners, can make their own requests for time off, swaps, or offers (giving a shift up without taking another in return). This takes some of the administrative burden off owners and makes employees accountable for their own changes and communication.
Time off requests
Employees can request time off, which sends a request for approval to the manager/owner.
When time off has been requested, a pulsing orange dot will appear with the request on the schedule itself, not just in the Requests tab.
Members can offer to exchange shifts with another person. The other employee must accept the proposal for it to take affect. When making the request, your employees will be able to tell which “group” the shift is in easily.
Sometimes employees just want to give a shift away without taking another in return. They can “Offer” shifts to other employees which sends the other employee a request for approval (similar to swaps).
Not all members may have easy access to Teams at all times, so you can easily print the schedule and post anywhere.
Using the “scale to one page” setting to make sure it will fit on your desired paper size.
The next logical piece, after scheduling, is the actual shift performance itself. Shifts even includes a Time Clock feature which allows mobile clock-in and clock-out with optional location detection for reporting.
If you choose to turn on location tracking, you must enter the coordinates from which you expect employees to be clocking in and out.
From the Teams mobile app, team members can then clock in and clock out. They can edit clockings before confirming (in case they forgot to clock in/out) but the export/report will note the entry was edited. When clocking in/out, members will be notified if they’re noticed as off-location but can still clock in/out with that note added to the record.
The export (Shifts > Settings > Time Clock > Export) will highlight those clock-ins and clock-outs that were off-location:
Shifts comes at no additional cost with your O365 subscription. It could easily replace your Excel sheet schedules or expensive clock in/out software. While it may not be the best solution for all scenarios, I’d argue it could be a game-changer and cost-saver for many organizations and committees or event staff.