A roster (or duty roster), is another term for rota. It’s a way of scheduling when staff work at a business or organisation, and well actions will be carried out.

In the past, rosters were little more than a series of rows and columns of names, dates, and times scribbled on a sheet of paper, but today’s duty rosters are usually created with dedicated roster planning software, which make the process far quicker and easier.

Etymology of the word roster

The word “roster” is believed to come from the early Dutch word “rooster”, meaning “list” — itself coming from the word “roosten” (“to roast”), due to the parallel lines that would be left on meat or vegetables cooked using a gridiron.

Today, the words “roster” and “rota” are used interchangeably, though the latter term is preferred in the UK, hence the name of people management platform RotaCloud.

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