If your business is operating on a schedule that is anything other than standard office hours, chances are you’ll have some idea about rotating work schedules. You may even have considered implementing one, but perhaps there is something holding you back from taking the leap.
Perhaps it seems too complicated; perhaps you think things are fine as they are; perhaps you operate on a policy of ‘if it ain’t broke…’ But what you may not have considered is that even though your current system might seem like it works just fine, there might still be a better way to do things.
A rotating schedule – for those who don’t already know – is a system in which your employees go through a cycle of shift patterns. They might do two weeks on the day shift and then one week on the night shift, for example. Rather than having the same people always fixed on the same shifts, it gives a bit of variety.
There are many benefits to introducing a rotational shift pattern, and not just for your employees. Just like properly investing in training, it could be something that will transform your business for the better.
So why might you consider moving to a rotational shift model in your business when it seems simpler to stay with the fixed shift system you’re used to?
Boost employee motivation
The happiness of your staff is one of the most important things to consider in a successful business. You cannot afford to underestimate the impact of morale on productivity and loyalty.
Rotating shifts will give your staff the chance to work with new team members, forging new bonds and strengthening connections.
Additionally, some shift times are seen as more desirable than others. For example, restaurant staff will know which service is better for tips, or which has the most unsociable hours. Similarly, care home staff might not always want to work night shifts, with no opportunity to switch to day time hours.
If you restrict one team to the same shift all the time, it’s a sure-fire way to build resentment and ill-feeling amongst staff.
Become a more flexible employer
If you offer a variety of shift patterns to your staff, you can demonstrate flexibility and an understanding of people’s differing home situations and family responsibilities.
Also, if you are rigid in your shift patterns, it becomes very difficult to allow employees time off or to juggle leave requests on the same days.
With a rotational shift model, you can allow for unforeseen and emergency requests for time off without interrupting your business.
Staff would also be able to arrange to swap shifts with each other much more easily. If you allow staff to organise shift swaps themselves, this gives them a bit more autonomy in their work which is an important part of staff empowerment. It follows that staff members who feel more empowered are more likely to be happy in their work and loyal to the business.
If you have a more fluid and rotational design for your shift patterns, you can do away with the natural lull in productivity that comes during shift handovers.
If you stagger start and finish times so that you don’t have any gaps in output, you can eliminate any lost time and make sure your business is always ticking over.
If you rotate shifts, you can allow your employees more rest time between working days – this is especially pertinent when it comes to those working night shifts. A more energised and well-rested workforce is a more productive workforce.
Distribute your expertise
It is always helpful to be able to have an even spread of skills and experience across your business. A rotational shift pattern can support this further.
If you stick to a fixed shift model, you run the risk of lumping all your experienced staff together at one time of day, leaving your new staff floundering and unsure of themselves.
With a rotating shift system, you can make sure that you have a fair mix of experience levels working at any one time. You can pair newer employees with long-standing members of staff so that they can learn from them, gaining knowledge and skills at a much faster rate.
The potential benefits of implementing a rotating schedule into your business are many. If you haven’t already done it, now might be the time to consider thinking about it.
Although we are still in lockdown, the vaccine schedule is ramping up and many are hopeful that we will return to some semblance of normality before long. Now might be just the time to overhaul your shift patterns and give your organisation’s productivity a boost as we come out of lockdown.
If the task seems too daunting there are experts, like those over at uRoster, who can help you devise a plan that works for you and your workforce.