The next generation of shift work schedules
September 3, 2015
Source: James Dillingham
As unemployment drops and wage pressures rise, companies are scrambling to find ways to attract people. This is an especially challenging task for companies that work around the clock. How can they be expected to attract people to jobs that require work on nights and weekends?
Here is an example of two schedules that work in tandem.
Let's start with the situation. This company had a very popular shift schedule (12-hour, 2-3-2 pattern) and yet, they were having trouble recruiting people to the night shift. They were doing some things right: (1) Used fixed shifts and (2) paid a 12% shift premium for nights. Still, they were having trouble. Since people were not sticking around, training was a problem as well as staffing. How could they attract quality people to nights, get them trained by senior people on days all the while giving them a Night Shift schedule that many would prefer to work over the existing Day Shift pattern.
We recommended the following:
Keep the 12-hour day shift pattern as it is.
Replace the night shift pattern with one that has fewer short breaks, some day shift exposure and more weekend off. Below is a copy of the schedule. A few notes about the features:
A few notes about the features:
- The Day shift is staffed by 2 crews. Their schedule's pay week starts on Sunday.
- The Night shift is staffed by 5 half-crews. Their schedule's pay week starts on Monday.
- Day shift people can take 24 hours of vacation on either Monday/Tuesday of week 1 or Wednesday/Thursday of week 2. This 24 hour vacation nets them 7 days off in a row and thus represents prime vacation time for the Day Shift.
- Since the Night Shift is broken up into half-crews, two crews will show up every day to make up a full crew.
- Nights have a 7-day break every 5 weeks. They also have two 3-day weekends off (in addition to the long break) every 5 weeks.
- Nights can get a 14 day vacation break using 32 hours of vacation time if they take off during week 2.
- Once, every five weeks, each crew rotates into week 2 where they go to days. While on Day Shift they can be trained, relieve others for training or cover the expected high vacation rates on these days.
This is an example of a schedule working for the company instead of the other way around. All too often, companies see their schedule as a static situation; one they must change their operation to conform to. The reality is that a schedule can be used to enhance product flow, increase employee morale, lower costs, control overtime, flex the workforce, match the workload and much much more.