Microsoft StaffHub in Focus

Microsoft has unveiled a new application within its Office 365 suite designed for shift workers and management.

The new StaffHub program, introduced in preview last fall, is aimed at those who don't work at desks and tend to have different schedules from week to week such as retail, hospitality and restaurants.

More than 1,000 businesses have signed up for the service, and while there are myriad calendaring applications online, Microsoft's biggest competition is that of the traditional paper schedule.

When adding shifts, managers can take advantage of a variety of features to differentiate the types of shifts, ranging from custom labels (like day, opening, night, etc.) to color coding, and they can also enter notes about the work that needs to be done during the shift in question.

The program also makes it simple to update shifts from week to week, by offering a "Copy last schedule" feature that lets managers use the prior week's shift as a starting point before making changes.

Schedules can be viewed by day, week or month, as needed, and the program has tools for handling common requests, like time off, vacations, sick leave and more.

The solution also works on mobile devices, enables staff to chat (in a group or one on one) as well as share announcements and resources (like an employee handbook).