Today’s post will begin the focus on a 12-hour schedule pattern for covering 24 hours a day, six days a week.
The premise behind this schedule is that you still only want to use three crews to cover six days, but you would rather not hire more employees. Because of this, everyone will still have to work 48 hours a week (changing schedules does not change total hours worked. Only changing staffing or the workload does that). This schedule allows people to get their weekly 48 hours in by only coming to work for four days a week.
Lets look at a quick comparison:
8-hour shifts: Work 6 days @ 8 hours and get one day off per week. Total hours worked – 48
12-hour shifts: Work 4 days @ 12 hours and get three days off per week. Total hours worked – 48
This pattern can be worked as either a fixed schedule, a rotating schedule or and oscillating schedule. The way it is shown here is as an oscillating schedule. This is a schedule that has both “fixed” and “rotating” features. In this example, the crews labeled “Days” and “Nights” are working fixed shifts. That means they are always on Days or Nights. The crew labeled “Day-Night” actually rotates between Day shift and Night shift (Nights on Mondays and Tuesday and then Days on Fridays and Saturdays).
There are several benefits to this schedule over a traditional 6-day, 8-hour pattern.
Employees will like it for a variety of reasons. All will appreciate the extra days off. The Day shift people will like having every weekend off as a 3-day weekend. The Night shift people will like having 3 days off in a row, even though they are Sunday through Tuesday. The rotating crew will typically be the junior-most crew. As the junior employees, they could be looking at years before they have enough seniority to get to the Day shift. In this schedule, they work Night shift for 2 days and then do not have to return to nights for another five days.
On the downside, the nature of the work must always be considered when looking at 12-hour shifts. In nearly all cases, if someone can do something for 8 hours at a time for 6 days in a row with a single day of rest in between, then they can do that same thing for 12 hours at a time for 4 days a week with three days off per week to rest.
Most companies that go to 12-hour shifts will find that they need to rework some of their pay policies. For example, if you only pay up to 8 hours a day when someone goes on jury duty, you may want to rethink that policy.
In 6-day schedules (part 4) I will return to the 8-hour idea. We will look at a way to add people in a less-than-full-crew increment to reduce overtime.
If you have any questions, you can email me at Jim@shift-work.com or call me at (415) 265-1621.