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The best shift patterns for 24/7 working

This article is the second in our series of shift pattern guides. It helps to answer what is the best 24/7 shift pattern and how do you schedule a 24/7 shift? Totalmobile has helped hundreds of organisations identify what is the best 24/7 shift pattern for them and to schedule 24/7 shifts. Sometimes we find that other shift patterns may be more suitable and can identify alternatives to 24/7 working. Likewise, we help many organisations extend their working window by introducing a 24/7 shift schedule.

What is the best 24/7 shift pattern?

We’re often asked what is the best 24/7 shift pattern? There is no one answer to this and there are many shift pattern options which suit different organisations and their employees.
When exploring the best shift 24/7 patterns for you, consider firstly how your demand varies throughout the week, whether you require agency staff or overtime to cover peaks and troughs in demand and other factors such as absence rates and fatigue risk.
  • Assuming a flat 24/7 shift pattern cover requirement, the best 24/7 shift pattern tends to be either a 4 team or 5 team solution and each can use three shifts (usually 8 hours each) or two twelve-hour shifts, both of which would provide 24/7 shift pattern cover.
  • The best 24/7 shift patterns with 4 teams can be a traditional 4 on 4 off shift pattern or shorter runs of shifts and shorter breaks, through to variable consecutive shifts and rest days with some longer rest breaks.
  • 4 team 24/7 shift patterns may repeat across 4, 8, 12 or 16 weeks. Holiday cover must be built into the shift team or covered by agency or overtime.
  • Similarly, patterns can be developed for 5 teams, but the key difference is that holidays are rostered and so the 24/7 shift pattern cover repeats every 5, 10, 15 or 20 weeks giving staff an average of 1 week off every 5 weeks.

How do you make a 24/7 shift schedule?

Your 24/7 shift schedule will depend on a wide range of factors including demand, holiday entitlement, employee preferences, the nature of the work undertaken and other details such as equipment or machinery availability and the work environment.
Due to this complexity, for many organisations trying to make a 24/7 shift schedule manually is a challenging and time-consuming process that often leads to productivity, efficiency and employee wellbeing issues.
Creating the best shift patterns for 24/7 working can often require specialist consultancy and software which considers many variables and unique operational factors to arrive at a 24/7 shift schedule that is optimised for a specific organisation and its workforce.
When Totalmobile is asked how do you make a 24/7 shift schedule, our shift work expert consultants use their shift pattern knowledge and our specialist shift planning software to work with customers and quickly arrive at the best shift patterns for 24/7 working. Once you have made a 24/7 shift schedule it’s then important that it is managed effectively as there will invariably be changes to demand and employee availability.
Demand Planning, Rostering and Employee Scheduling tools to maintain a 24/7 shift schedule are crucial elements in the best workforce management software such as Totalmobile’s Organise.

What is the best shift pattern to work?

The 4 on, 4 off shift pattern model is extremely common and is often used in 24/7 shift work environments.
We explain what is a 4 on 4 off shift pattern in our previous post.
Whilst this shift pattern is popular with some employees, it may not suit all working environments or demographics. It’s important to ask your employees what is the best shift pattern to work? Through collaboration and co-design you’ll arrive at the best shift patterns for 24/7 working which balance the needs of your organisation, workforce and customers.
To identify what the best shift pattern to work is for our customers, we use the Shift Pattern Design Tool in our Organise software. This powerful shift pattern calculator and shift pattern generator is unique.
It uses algorithms to quickly find the best shift patterns for 24/7 working and can generate a wide range of alternatives to 4 on 4 off shift patterns that you and your employees can consider. It helps you make a 24/7 shift schedule which can be placed into a shift pattern calendar for ongoing Rostering and Employee Scheduling activity.
Our shift pattern experts can also help you with employee engagement, involving your workforce in the process of finding the best shift patterns for 24/7 working or the best shift pattern for your specific organisation. We know shift planning and shift rostering can be challenging without the knowledge, experience and access to the best scheduling software and workforce management software.
Our experts are only a call or email away.
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