Managing a Shift Pattern
Holidays will make up most of your problems with shift patterns. A "holidays included shift pattern" will eliminate almost all these. Alternatively, a holiday management plan will be required. A holiday management plan is a set of rules under which a worker can take their holiday without effecting the operation.
Absences will be the next biggest problem. In the UK the average sickness rate for a public sector worker is 2.6% and 1.6% for a private sector worker. For more information on sickness rates and absences please see our blog.
Holidays are the bane of all Shift Managers lives; this is because there are a lot of holidays to fit into every year. Summer is never long enough and by the time Christmas comes around you find out that everyone has two-weeks of holiday left and they have to take it before the end of the year. So how do you squeeze it all into a year?
We need to look at the problem in detail, and do some basic arithmetic. In a small office hours environment, say 10 people, they will all have about 6 weeks of holiday each. That is about 60 weeks of holiday to fit into 52 weeks in a year. That means that everyday at least one person will have to be on holiday.
Holidays Cost Money
People on holiday cost money, in holiday pay and in lost production or underutilised equipment. We either need to replace them or have extra staff around in case someone wants a holiday – but how many do we need and what skills should they have? A lot of processes require small numbers of staff with specialised skills, so if an operation takes a team of 5 staff all with different skills, how do we maintain the team when they are due 30 weeks of holiday between them?
Holidays also cost a lot in manager’s time. If you think of how much effort has to go into processing one holiday request, and then multiply it by the number of staff you are looking after, the final figure is huge. Not only must we look at each request individually to see if it can be accommodated, we also have to plan the operation to run without that person. Very few requests are denied once asked for; we simply make the effort of fitting it in with all the other requests from everyone else. A lot of management time is wasted in re-organising the work. As part of the holiday request and granting process, managers get involved in the personal lives of their staff, and hear about all the little problems. So the best way to reduce the manager’s workload is to alleviate the necessity for the managers to have to listen to all of their problems.
Now you can look at the problem you have by looking at the number of staff you employ and the annual number of holidays they have. If your staff are entitled to 30 days off per year, 10 staff equals 300 days of holidays, 100 staff equals 3000 holidays, and someone has to deal with them. What is needed is a system that manages the holidays with almost zero effort, zero time and leaves the company unaffected.
Holidays Included or Holidays Excluded?
There are two approaches to Holiday Management. You can either use a Holidays Included Shift Pattern or a Holidays Excluded Shift Pattern with a Holiday Management Plan.
Holidays Included Shift Patterns are almost effortless, very efficient, minimal management involvement & everyone loves it. Basically, all the holiday entitlement is incorporated into the shift pattern. This optimises everyone's holiday, giving them the best quality time off in a fair and regular way. If you would like to find out more please read our ebook Holiday Included Shift Patterns available from Amazon for only £6.64.
If a Holidays Included Shift Pattern is not for you, then the alternative is a Holidays Excluded Shift Pattern. This is what most companies operate; where the staff are rostered onto additional shifts and then they can select their holiday on a first come first served basis.
With a Holidays Excluded Shift Pattern you can't eliminate the effort entirely. However you can vastly reduce the effort of managing them with a Holiday Management Plan. A Holiday Management Plan will set limits on the number of staff allowed on holiday on any shift, the timetables for requests and information. This works best if the holiday resources have already been organised to match expected holiday requests. If you would like to find out more please read our ebook Holiday Management available from Amazon for only £6.24.
Positive Absence Management
Absence is the largest unplanned expense companies face daily.
We cannot avoid absences and they are very distracting to managers, use a disproportionate amount of management time and often fail in being covered if an informal cover plan is used irrespective of the effort involved.
The use of a formal cover arrangement carries a cost but the income generated by maintaining operations is much higher.
C-Desk Technology works with many organisations round the world, to help them manage their shift operations more effectively. A large part of this work is about managing Absence. We help companies understand their Absence Rate, and create the policies and procedures to ensure that Absence never affects their operations.
Every company needs an absence policy to cover key workers. The policies are all very specific to a company, but all have a similar framework. One of the aims of the cover arrangements is how to motivate the staff to provide the cover. As every individual is different, it is often difficult to find a single solution, hence a menu of rewards is often set up. Money and Time Off In Lieu (TOIL) are the main motivators.
When deciding what sort of absence cover arrangements you want, you need to consider the shift pattern/rota too. How you cover for an eight-hour shift is very different to covering for a 12-hour shift etc.
Your Absence Rate will tell you how many hours you need to cover for absence next year. When planning a Cover Arrangement policy you will also need to know how these absences will occur. Our e-book “Understanding your Absence Rate” is filled with tables to help you plan your absence strategy better.
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Managing a shift pattern can be easy if you plan ahead.
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