12 unexpected insights ―When it comes to shiftwork, do you know what you don’t know?

All companies are unique. We found this to be true while working with hundreds of organizations across multiple industries. However, commonalities do exist. The following 12 insights tend to be universally true in a broad sense. Interestingly, some of these insights may run counter to your intuition. There are always variances, exceptions to the rule; nonetheless, in general, you can count on the following:

  1. There is a predictable portion of your workforce that wants all of the overtime they can get.  There is an equally predictable portion that never wants to work a single minute of overtime.
  2. When going to a 24/7 schedule, the number of employees that say they will quit is an order of magnitude greater than those that actually end up doing so.
  3. Changing schedules around the holiday season is problematic, as your workforce has already made plans based on their current schedule. There are three “best times” to implement a schedule change.  (Can you guess which ones they are?)
  4. Differences across industries and geographical locations play a surprisingly small role in employee preferences. A chemical plant operator in West Virginia wants the same features in a shift-schedule as an underground coalminer in Australia.
  5. What day shift people want in a schedule is different from what night shift people want. 
  6. As shift workers age, they don’t want to move away from 12-hour shifts.  However, they do want to work fewer days in a row.
  7. Poor communications are the most cited problem that shift workers have with their company.  The rate of pay is a distant second.
  8. Allowing employees to nap during lunch can have a major positive impact on their alertness for the rest of their shift.
  9. Fear of the unknown is the single biggest obstacle to changing shift schedules.
  10. Shift workers don’t like to be told what to do. On the other hand, employee engagement creates ownership of a new schedule.
  11. Maintenance accomplishment goes up on a 24/7 schedule since maintenance is no longer tasked with fixing everything on Sunday ― when everything is idle.
  12. The right balance between hourly workers and supervision plays a major role in employee satisfaction.

Use our industry-wide expertise when evaluating and changing your shiftwork structure.  Give us a call at (415) 858-8585 for a free expert consultation about your situation.