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

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