Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Oh My, Did You See the Toilets at Glastonbury!

Last weekend over a hundred thousand people descended on Glastonbury. They had over 1,300 toilets strategically placed over the site. Your nose told you very quickly which were the best, so festival goers quickly got the knack of planning their routes so they could go to the best toilets. Everyone’s favourite was the compost loos; they had a longer queue but didn’t smell and were a hundred times cleaner.
It’s interesting how rarely anyone ever talks about toilets; it is only through extreme shared experiences that we ever discuss it. Yet it is a normal bodily function and vital to our health and wellbeing. At Glastonbury the program even mentioned the dangers of not going and recommended that everyone should be passing urine at least three times a day to avoid dehydration. Yet when we are at work, going to the toilet is often frowned on or discouraged. The toilets are hidden away, or you have to pass through the gauntlet of multiple locks and stares to access the toilet. In extreme cases, where an alternate (cover person) has to be used for any break, a toilet break has to be requested. This can often discourage people from using the toilet regularly.
Yet as I said going to the toilet is a natural bodily function and vital to our wellbeing. So when it is discouraged, people avoid drinking as much which leads to dehydration. This in turn has an effect on the body’s immune system and the body’s ability to digest food and remove toxins. In the long term this will affect your health and can cause serious illnesses.
So when you are planning your operations, spare a thought for the toilets. Are they easily accessible? Have you allowed for regular toilet breaks? Have you thought about staggered breaks to reduce the queue times? Are they in the correct proportion of ladies to gentlemen for your workforce?

A healthy workforce is a more productive and efficient workforce. If you don’t have enough toilets then you need a good absence management system to cope when illness breaks out!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Why Do Shift Workers have Easter Monday as a Bank Holiday?

Easter Monday, holds no religious significance, yet it is a Bank Holiday because it is the day after Easter Sunday. Therefore office workers get an extra day off. However, shift worker who work the weekend still have Easter Monday as a Bank Holiday.
Wouldn’t it be more practical to have the Bank Holiday as Easter Sunday which like Christmas Day is transferred to the Monday for Office Workers?

Employment Laws and working regulations were all created by Office Workers for Office Workers. So when you work shifts interesting anomalies crop up.
When an organisation is operating a 24/7 shift pattern, they need to revisit their terms and conditions of employment to see if it needs rewriting or if an appendix should be added for shift workers.
How to Manage Your Shift Pattern is a book to help you run your shift operation efficiently. There is a whole chapter on Terms and Conditions of Employment with examples of how to add shift related definitions and procedures. Available now from Amazon.

And while we are on the subject of Bank Holidays, did you know the official Christmas Day in 2016 will occur after Boxing Day.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Weekends are Precious

For most of us our weekends are precious, they are times when our family and friends are available. Already when I try to organise meeting up with friends, I am hearing the lament that everyone is now booked up till September. No one likes to feel they have wasted a weekend, especially during the summer. So barbeques, picnics, theatre, parties, weddings all need to be arranged long before if you hope anyone will come. Then everyone seems to be away on holiday, “I’m just off to …” or “I just got back from …” Italy, Greece, Spain, with the odd China and Australia thrown in for good measure.

It feels like the summer has already come and gone.

However shift workers don’t have every weekend off. Most shift workers will work some weekends during the year. The number depends on, how many are required at weekends and their shift length. Therefore shift workers will place a higher value their weekends off than office hours workers who get every weekend off.

That is why when you create a shift pattern you need to consider how the weekends will fall;

  • Are they split?
  • How many full weekends do they have off per year?
  • How many weekends will they work?
  • Do they get alternating weekends off?
  • Do they get consecutive weekends off?
  • Is a Friday Night part of the weekend?
  • What are the cover arrangements over the weekend?
  • How many shifts at weekends will they work?

When you consider introducing a shift pattern, you need to think about how your shift workers will operate on the shift pattern. If they only get four weekends off per year would they be happy? That may sound extreme yet I have seen shift patterns which inadvertently only allow shift workers one weekend off per quarter unless they book a holiday. Cover arrangements and split weekends can severely limit the number of whole weekends off.

On average most 8-hour shift patterns allow shift workers one weekend off in four or 13 weekends off per year. On average most 12-hour shift patterns allow shift workers one weekend off in two or 26 weekends off per year. Then holidays can be booked on top of this number.

However shift workers do have a few advantages over office hours workers. They may work on weekends, but in return they get days off during the week. Then they can get all the boring jobs done during the week, when there are less queues. The picture above is from a 1940's film on Every Minute Counts and why workers are absent. Shift worker don't have the same problems, they can actually get to see a doctor, enjoy cheap seats at the cinema on Mondays and watch Wimbledon without booking a holiday. This all means that when you do have a weekend off, you can just enjoy it with friends and family. Cleaning the house, shopping etc. have all been done during the week.

To find out more about shift pattern design go to: http://www.oranalysts.com/optimising-shift-working/creating-a-shift-pattern