– When did you last look at your shift patterns?

Do your current shift patterns really meet the requirements of your business? When did you last evaluate them? For many organisations this is just too painful to contemplate and yet in today’s complex 24/7 business environment where requirements are changing all the time to be really efficient you need to keep your workforce agile too.
Many software systems can tell you the most efficient shift patterns, but your staff simply wouldn’t work them, and they probably wouldn’t meet compliance regulations, take account of staff fatigue or work/life balance. Experience tells us that it takes considerable skill to balance meeting the requirements of the business efficiently without compromising the wellbeing of your workforce.
The recent tube strikes in London are largely about the introduction of all night services. If you want to change workers terms and conditions you have to be prepared to negotiate. Introducing staff friendly shifts and work patterns that give weekends off as often as possible, ensure that staff receive two rest days together and that in short, ensure adequate breaks from work for staff to be fully refreshed when they return, are a great bargaining chip. Such working patterns also keep the unions happy, comply with working time regulations, and they meet business requirements.
Start with a clean sheet
However, starting with a clean sheet sounds like it’ll be hugely disruptive, and where do you even start? You start with a Workforce Design tool. It is a totally new class of product, one which you use to design your work patterns. It works as a standalone solution, or it can be applied to your existing workforce management systems.
Workforce Design enables you to create a strategic workforce plan. It looks at the scenarios you need to plan for, peaks and troughs in demand, and what staff levels and skills mixes you need to support that demand. It takes into account hourly rates, overtime, use of temporary staff, service level agreements, customer satisfaction surveys and unit outputs.
A workforce design tool will enable you to do ‘what if’ modelling, enabling you to think outside of conventional wisdom. In just a few hours from installation you can completely remodel your workforce and uncover hidden opportunities to make your organisation more efficient.
Benefits of a Workforce Design tool
By putting your staff at the heart of your work patterns, ensuring that they get good breaks, you can still meet the requirements of the business. You avoid staff unrest, keep unions on side, and provide a better service to customers from staff who are adequately refreshed. Benefits include:
• Improvements in productivity and output
• More motivated and engaged workforce
• Improved revenues and customer experience
Optimising your workforce needn’t be as painful as you might imagine. With the right tool you can reap all these rewards, with a light touch, high impact tool.