Shift Patterns - Benefits to Employee and Employer

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Paula Golby Manufacturing and Engineering, Engineering, Permanent...

Shift Patterns

There are many benefits to shift work for both employers and employees. Although shift work was out of fashion for a while, it is making a comeback as employers become more sensitive to the needs of their employees.

Work is distributed in shifts between different sets and groups of employees working in relay with one another. When operating with shift patterns, it is possible to keep businesses staffed and operating for a full 24-hour period through effective rotations and opposite shifts while still allowing appropriate rest periods for employees.  

Employers might advertise shift work for a number of reasons which include, increased productivity, specialised employees for certain jobs and skills, more efficient project completion, reduced absenteeism and improved morale.

Most notably however, in opening up the prospect of shift work, employers can attract the right high-skilled people unable to commit to office hours, extending the prospective talent pool. For many working people and those looking for work with either family or other important commitments, shifts allow the flexibility needed to maintain a healthy work life balance.

There are a number of established shift patterns used by various industries. These include:

  • The 2 shift: Two staff members rotate; one in the morning one in the afternoon. This could be an 6am-2pm and a 2pm-10pm split. This allows for people who have a preference for morning or evening work to find something that suits their needs. This is common in retail, customer facing industries and manufacturing.
  • 4 on 4 off: Employees will work 4 12-hour shifts in a row (either day or night) then have 4 off. Again, there will be those that prefer nights and those that prefer days so all needs can be catered for if handled correctly. Ideal for those in healthcare or the hospitality sector.
  • Staggered: This involves staggering the beginning of the week for different employees to ensure a 7-day working week is covered at all times. This benefits those that want to work weekends or need days off during the week for other commitments. Popular in retail and customer service industries including telecoms and sales.    
  • Rotational: This ensures fairness. Employees will spend a week working mornings, then afternoons then nights.This suits those only able to commit to a certain number of hours each week. Best suited for warehouse work.
  • Fixed shifts: The same as rotational but you stay as a morning afternoon or night until a request to change is made. Best suited for warehouse work, healthcare and service industries.
  • Continental: This breaks down to 7 8-hour shifts or 4 12-hour shifts, This divides the day into either 3 blocks or 2 blocks respectively and allows employees to rotate around one another. This is ideal for industries that require 24 hour staffing such as the hospitality sector and roadside services.
  • Weekend Shift: Employees will only work 12 hour shifts at weekends. This allows week-day staff to have their weekends off and suits those that can only commit to work at the weekend. This shift pattern is common in all 7 day a week industries such as retail.
  • Night shifts:  Same as above with nights instead of weekends. Suits industries that operate 24 hours a day such as warehousing, healthcare, and services.

There are others available but these are the most common and significant.

The working world is transitioning away from traditional rigid patterns towards flexible family friendly options; shift work could help you get back into employment without you having to compromise other commitments.

Whatever your needs or circumstances, there will be an expert at Cooper Golding able to assist and advice as to how to find the work that suits your circumstances in the industry you want.