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

The Old Vicarage
Station Road, Rolleston
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.


What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:28


This old saying comes from the idea that what you rose up into the air will eventually return to Earth under gravity.

However this saying has other applications. In the world of shift patterns, there is a flexible working technique called Banked Hours. Banked Hours are used as part of a system call ‘Annualised Hours’ which makes rostering people much easier to do. Banked Hours enable the shift worker and the company to Bank Hours which can be used at another time for a specific purpose. E.g. used to cover absences and training.

Everyone has an individual number of Banked Hours which can change depending on what they work and what they are scheduled to work. Hours can be added and taken away from the Bank at any time over the year.

Therefore your banked Hours can go up as well as down.

So you start the year with 100 Banked Hours. You are asked to cover for an absent colleague. 12-hour shifts are used, so your Banked Hours are reduced by 12 to 88 hours. Then you want to take a weekend off using Banked Hours instead of holidays. Two 12-hour shifts, increases your Banked Hours to 112.

This will continue throughout the year. Eventually resulting in all of your remaining Banked Hours being zeroed at the end of year.

A Banked Hours system works because the company get a flexible working arrangement which allows them to call in people to cover for unexpected events. From the shift workers perspective, they provide a flexible working arrangement to cover these unexpected events and in return get some extra time off which they are paid for.

Each year is different and depends on multiple factors, some years you will be very lucky and can end up with about two weeks of extra time off per year which is paid. At other times they may end up with nothing extra.

Each year the Banked Hours needs to be reviewed to see if they are still working for everyone.

If you would like to know more about Banked Hours follow this link or buy our kindle book on Amazon UK and Amazon US.


Around the World in 80 days!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015 11:32

At the time when Phileas Fogg went around the world, a man of independent means was not that uncommon. However today most of us are not so lucky! Taking 80 days off work is harder than travelling around the world in the Victorian era.

So if you would like to recreate Fogg’s heroic journey, besides money (you can do it for less than £20,000), you need to ensure that you still have a job to come back too.

So you could take a sabbatical or some other unpaid leave option. Or you could have 80 days off and still get paid!

It’s easy, you just need a holidays included shift pattern and then swap a few shifts with your colleagues. On 12-hour shifts you get over 200 days off so putting 80 days together is a doddle.

Here is one I did earlier!

80 days

As you can see in this version you get slightly more than 80 days off, so you have time to pack and do you laundry before you go back to work. I’ve highlighted the long break in orange. And you can’t really say you would be over worked on this shift pattern either. You still get a few four and five day breaks during the rest of the year.

If you would like to know how to book your trip contact us for the shift pattern and your local travel agent! If you would like to know more about holidays included shift patterns, then our books are available from Amazon


Working at the Weekend?

Friday, 09 October 2015 17:12

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?

Page 6 of 24