Why is changing schedules so difficult?

October 12, 2018
Source: Jim Dillingham

Companies are often surprised at how difficult changing a shift schedule can be.

There are several reasons for this but the big 2 are: (1) Employees are familiar and thus comfortable with their current schedule while something else represents an unknown.  To an extent, we all fear the unknown and (2) A schedule is very personal to those that work it.  It tells them when they can go on vacation; when they can pick up their kids and when they can coach sports.  Even a small change the the schedule feels like a company has stuck their hand into a shiftworker's private life and stirred things up.

There are other, less dominant issues as well.  Maybe two spouses are on different schedules and they have things worked out so that one is always at home and thus, no money is needed for daycare.  Maybe a shiftworker is also a student and a new schedule will cause them to miss classes.  Maybe there is misinformation about the new schedule - Someone that doesn't want change is spreading the false narrative that "Overtime will go up" or "People will be laid off."

The best way to combat the resistance is a combination of education and participation.

If people knew exactly what they were getting into, the change would be easier.  If the change represented shiftworker input so that it minimized unwanted disruption to their personal situations, change would be easier.  If shiftworkers understood the need for a change as well as how it could personally benefit them, the change would be easier.

As Shiftwork Solutions...we can help with all of this.

Tags:shiftworkchange managementconsultingFear of the unknown