Shiftwork Challenge: Scheduling Shifts

Shiftwork Challenge: Scheduling Shifts

FACT: Shiftworkers care deeply about their work schedule. If you don't have a good shift schedule, it impacts employee performance, safety, morale and retention.

Finding the Best Shift Schedule

Finding the best shift schedule for your facility is hard, because there are so many stakeholders with strong opinions. You can only achieve the best shift schedule through a logical and systematic search for what is optimal for your business efficiency and for the needs of your shiftworkers.

CIRCADIAN® can help you answer the following questions:

Supporting Employees with Shiftwork Lifestyle Training

Shift schedules affect every aspect of an employee's work and family life. Moreover, without proper training employees often find it hard to adapt to working non-traditional hours.

Therefore, it is important to provide information to employees on how to adapt to a shiftwork schedule so that they can try to minimize the day-to-day difficulties associated with shiftwork lifestyles. Not every schedule is the same, so you cannot expect your employees to successfully adapt to a new schedule by simply using the same approach as the previous schedule. Without proper training employees often find it hard to adapt to working non-traditional hours.

Educating Managers

A 24/7 business is vastly different from a 9-5 Monday to Friday workplace – and so is managing it. Many factors contribute to that difference, including:

  • Reduced management - employee contact
  • Increased family/social stresses on the workers
  • Increased risk of employee impairment because of fatigue

Managing 24/7 operations is an art they do not teach in business school, but it pays to have your mangers understand the best management practices.

Reducing or Expanding Operations

Whether reducing from 7 days to 5-day schedules, or increasing from 5 days to 7 days, it is critical to bring employees into the process of designing work schedules to achieve fuller capacity utilization.

The Situation: In today's global economy, many plants operating on traditional 5-day production schedules are finding it difficult to compete. They may experience:

  • Significant idle capacity.
  • Excessive overtime as employees are asked to work weekends.
  • High turnover - especially if token crews are used on the weekends.
  • Moreover, weekly startups and shutdowns only further reduce productivity and efficiency.

Eventually comes the realization that something must be done, and that more efficient utilization of equipment and human assets must be obtained. This can best be accomplished by expanding the plant to a 7-day continuous operation.

The Problem: Unfortunately, such conversions are extremely complex and fraught with pitfalls that can have disastrous consequences if not meticulously planned and managed. To achieve all the benefits of continuous operations requires major cultural, organizational, and operational change. While the opportunity to reduce unit costs, achieve greater asset utilization, defer capital expenditures, and better meet customer needs is alluring, the effect on the people throughout your organization is dramatic. Many problems must be solved before the new ways of working can be accepted.

How CIRCADIAN® can help you

CIRCADIAN® provides specialized assistance in planning and facilitating 5- to 7-day plant expansions. These technical and tactical support services are designed to help you realize the full benefits of the change and achieve the desired return-on-investment.

  • Expanding to 7 Day Operations. CIRCADIAN®  provides specialized assistance to plan and facilitate 5- to 7-day plant expansions. Based on 25 years of hands-on field experience, CIRCADIAN® 's support services will help you to realize the full benefits of the change, and to achieve the desired return-on-investment.
  • Shift Schedule Optimization. By collaborating with employees, unions, and management, CIRCADIAN®  develops schedule options that meet the business needs, satisfy worker preferences, and are compatible with human physiology to promote health, safety, and alertness. This ensures that the best possible scheduling solution will be achieved.
  • Training: Managing a Shiftwork Lifestyle. This on-site training program provides critical information to help employees better deal with the unique challenges of working shiftwork, especially with night shifts, rotating schedules, and long extended hours. This training includes practical information on fatigue, alertness, sleep, nutrition, health, family/social life and more. Studies confirm that this training not only provides substantial improvements in employee health, safety, and performance, but also serves to maximize the overall benefits of the new or existing schedule.
  • Educational Support Publications. Educating safety-sensitive and quality-critical employees about fatigue and helping them be fully rested on the job is a non-stop challenge. To reinforce and maintain the benefits of employee training and/or scheduling changes, or to simply provide practical information to help them better cope with the special challenges of shiftwork, support publications can serve a critical function. CIRCADIAN®  has developed a range of award-winning publications specifically written to sustain the benefits of its in-person consulting and training, as well as provide knowledge that will empower employees to take better control in improving their own health, safety, and performance.
  • On-Site Workshops. CIRCADIAN®  offers On-Site Workshops for managers and their task teams to address the challenges of operating 24/7. CIRCADIAN®  tailors these workshops to address the specific issues at your site.
  • Management Seminars. CIRCADIAN® has developed several effective on-site seminars that create awareness and understanding of the special challenges of shiftwork. All seminars are customized to the specific need of the operation and can be developed to cover a short 2-4 hour introduction to a specific topic or a full 2-day seminar to explore specific site issues and develop a plan of action more fully.
  • Management Reports. Based on over 40 years of experience and data, CIRCADIAN®’s experts have written numerous reports to help managers understand and reduce the costs, risks and liabilities of the extended hours operations in their company.
  • White Papers. Throughout our 40 years of working with shiftwork and extended hours operations, CIRCADIAN® has received countless enquiries from our clients asking for more information on various subjects. The white papers reflect some of the most common issues we are asked about.

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