A Better Work-Life Balance for Healthcare Workers with UKG Dimensions

Healthcare Worker

In the fast-paced and oftentimes stressful environment of any healthcare organization, it can be difficult to keep track of all the latest UKG Dimensions® offerings that can ultimately make managers’ and employees’ lives easier and create a better work-life balance. For this reason, we’ve highlighted a few of the top requested new Dimensions features to drive manager and employee satisfaction in your organization that you might want to explore a little more closely. Let’s dive in!  

Team Absence Heat Map in a Calendar View

One of the hottest features from the R9 release is the Team Absence Heat Map. This feature helps employees decide which days off to request by showing a team heat map of approved and pending paid time off (PTO).  

Employee benefits  
By giving employees a view of their colleagues’ PTO statuses, the heat map allows them to see who has already received approval and who has pending approvals for time off so they can plan their time off accordingly. It will show high, medium, and low demand by day, helping the employees consider how likely it is their request for a particular day(s) will be approved or so they can change days if they have flexibility. If they do not have flexibility to change their day off, this will help them determine if they need to initiate a shift swap or the request-to-cover process.  

Manager benefits 
While the heat map is a game changer for employees, it’s also valuable for managers because it reduces the number of requests they’ll have to decline and it will reduce back and forth with employees. “It saves time and creates efficiencies in that process as a whole for both the employee and the manager,” said Mike McGrath, UKG workforce solution consultant. “It really streamlines and speeds up that process, and it cuts down on the number of steps and potentially the number of refusals a manager might have to take action on.” 

Additionally, managers can establish different absence quotas for specific dates and even exclude certain absences from quotas. What does that mean exactly? In previous releases, managers could enter a base absence quota for each day and holiday. Now they can override those base quotas to account for special dates or seasonal periods that require lower absence quotas or no days off at all. These include public holidays, blackout dates, multidate selections, named days, and calendar days. 

“We are excited for the upcoming release of the Team Absence Heat Map! Many of our clinical managers oversee large units, some with upwards of 80 or 90 employees included. This view showing absences in calendar format is easy for staff to see rather than asking a clinical manager to check coverage on a particular day. This is a huge win for our Dimensions users.”

Mike O’Neil

IT Manager of Corporate Applications, Lifespan – Providence, RI

How to Configure:

*For your convenience, you can access the job aids in KnowledgeMap.

Employee Self-Service (ESS) — Partial Shifts Requests to Cover 

Employee Self-Service — Partial Shifts Request to Cover is a great new feature that drives employee engagement and satisfaction by allowing them more control over their schedule.  

Employee Benefits 
One of the most highly anticipated features from R9 gives employees the flexibility to offer a “partial shift” to be covered, allowing them to come in late or leave early without compromising pay for a full shift or initiating a shift swap. In addition, the partial coverage feature gives employees the flexibility to pick up a few extra hours to cover part of an open shift, which is a win-win for everyone. Best of all, they can do this from their phone by using the Dimensions mobile app. 

Manager Benefits 
By allowing employees to pick up partial shifts, managers no longer will need to manually adjust open shifts to accommodate partial coverage. Let the system do the work for you!

For your team to take advantage of this feature, you will need to configure partial shift rules, including restrictions. For example, you may want to enforce that at least one hour is covered or the coverage is tied to the beginning or end of the shift. Once the rules are configured, the employee will have the option to offer their whole shift or a partial shift. If they choose partial, your list of restrictions will pop up, and your employee will see whether their request meets your requirements. Once the request is submitted and approved, you will be able to see if anyone picks up the partial shift.

How to Configure:

*For your convenience, you can access the job aids in KnowledgeMap.

18-Month Shift Builder 

Schedules can now be built 18 months in advance rather than the previous cap of 12 months.

Employee Benefits 
With the ability to build schedules 18 months in advance, employees can request time off further into the future to plan for vacations, sabbaticals, and other reasons.    

Manager Benefits 
Generating schedules up to 18 months in advance offers greater flexibility to managers, permitting them to plan further into the future and accommodate more time-off requests. Scheduling varies from health system to health system, and some organizations truly need the ability to schedule more in advance. 

Unlike most new features, this feature was delivered “on” with the R9 release. Administrators simply need to go into the Shift Builder criteria and change the “Days for Pattern Rollout” to 550 (approximately 18 months) or fewer.

Pro Tip: Consult your company guidelines before changing this setting. By default, the Shift Builder is set to 30 days. Keep in mind that extending the schedule may cause performance issues because shift patterns must be built out for those extra days. 

How to Configure:

  • The 18-Month Shift Builder feature is delivered “on,” but system administrators must manually change the “Days for Pattern Rollout.” See details above. Once this change is made, employees and managers can begin taking advantage of the feature. 


We are over the moon about these R9 features, and we think you and your organization will be, too! It is time to get back to business and add more time back in your schedule. Check out a few R9 resources: