Contact Details

If you require further information on any of our services please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone or e-mail. All enquiries are extremely welcome.

T: 01636 816 466
E: alec@oranalysts.com

The Old Vicarage
Station Road, Rolleston
Newark
Notts
NG23 5SE                              

Operational Research

You can always be more efficient

Operational Research is all about using analysis to improve decision making. Dr Angela Moore uses mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, optimisation, sequencing and scheduling techniques to create simple heuristics you can employ to run your operation more efficiently.

angela@oranalysts.com

Working at the Weekend?

There are lots of different approaches to weekend working. Some use 8-hour shifts, and some use 12-hour shifts. Some just have on call and some use a skeleton crew. So how the weekends are manned is a result of the workload and how the organisation would like to meet that workload.

Using 12-hour Shifts

Now if you are working 8-hour shifts, you might like to consider 12-hour shifts at your next shift pattern review. Provided 12-hour shifts would not be too fatiguing at weekends, then they are possible. Working 12-hours at weekends will reduce the number of weekend shifts by a third. So if you were down to work 3 out of 4 weekends (not uncommon on an 8-hour arrangement), on a 12-hours arrangement you would be down to work 2 out of 4 weekends. Or to think about it another way, over the year, on 8-hour shifts you could be expected to work 78 shifts at weekends, however on 12-hour shifts you could be expected to work 52 shifts at weekends.

Split Weekends

Split weekends are another aspect of weekend working. Some people like split weekends. On one occasion while talking to some shift workers during a shift pattern review I said “and another benefit is that you no longer have to work split weekends”, to which one person replied “how do you know that’s a benefit?” Split weekends mean that you are working during more weekends, however you still get one day off, so provided you are not going away then split weekends may be seen as a benefit.

The 4on-4off is a good example of split weekends. It works on an eight day rotation, and since eight does not go into seven, it inevitably leads to split weekends. However it is very popular. It works very well as a shift pattern until holidays are taken. If you are using a 4on-4off shift pattern then it is very difficult to cover holidays in-house. This is because of the split weekends. You only get two whole weekends off out of eight on the 4on-4off, so getting people to come in and cover for absent colleagues at weekends is a trifle difficult. Not impossible, but there are easier options.

So when it comes to organising weekend working, you also need to consider not just what happens when everyone is in, but how you will cover for holidays and absences at weekends. This is one of the reasons why the 232 is so popular. Not only does it mean that people just work two or three shifts consecutively, but also it has alternating weekends off and there is lots of opportunity to work overtime without becoming fatigued.  

Weekends Working

So if you do work or are thinking about extending your hours to weekend working, here are a few things to consider:

  • What is your workload at weekends?
  • Can you get away with a skeleton crew?
  • Can you cope with just on-call?
  • Could you man it through volunteers and overtime payments?
  • Do you need a permanent presence?
  • Do you need the same skills at weekends?
  • Do you need them to work 24hours or could you cope with less?
  • Do you mind using split weekends?
  • Do you want to use 12-hour shifts?
  • How are you going to cover holidays at weekends?
  • What will happen if someone fails to turn up at weekends?
  • Who will oversee the operation at weekends?
  • How will they get access to the building?
  • How will they eat? Is there a kitchen, cafeteria?