Planning employees’ working hours according to the business requirements is necessary for any company. Unfortunately, a standard solution will not work, as each company has different requirements. For the mining industry, often round-the-clock work is required, while for manufacturing companies, extra work strength might be needed when there is increased demand.
Maintaining sustainable shift patterns is beneficial not only for employers but also for employees. The shift schedules affect the day-to-day life of the workers, and unhealthy shift patterns can cause anxiety and lower productivity among workers.
Managers must understand a shift pattern and create them to benefit the workforce. In this guide on shift patterns, we cover all these questions and more.
What is a shift pattern?
The word shift pattern is often used interchangeably with shift schedule, but it is a broader term. A shift pattern is a unique combination of workers, working hours, schedules, and infrastructure that meet the company’s specific goals.
Shift patterns are designed so that there are always enough workers available at any given time on the premises to ensure productivity is at an optimal level. The managers can create shift patterns depending on the company’s goals, available labor, and other resources.
A company can require more than one shifting pattern depending on how the requirements for workers change. For instance, a factory might need a different shifting pattern when the production is unusually high.
You must create the right kind of shift pattern that meets the requirements of the business and keeps the workforce satisfied and happier.
5 Types of shift patterns
The ultimate goal of a shift pattern is to ensure that enough labor is available to keep services going or production at the optimum level at any given time. To achieve this, different shift patterns can be implemented.
Here are different types of shift patterns usually implemented.
1. 2 shift
It is a typical Monday to Friday shift pattern that is usually scheduled from 06:00-14:00 and 14:00-22:00. The staff is rotated once a week in this pattern. However, you can customize shift rotation depending on the company’s requirements.
2. Night shifts
Night shift patterns are usually from 22:00-06:00. It is often combined with 2 shift patterns to ensure the availability of the workers 24×7. Night shifts are not usually preferred, so companies offer higher pay to encourage workers. You can speak with the workers to find out what shift they like and what compensation for night shifts can be.
3. 4 on 4 off shift calendar
It is one of the most common rotating shifts that you will find in the construction and manufacturing industry. It relies on maintaining a fixed 12-hour shift for four consecutive days. The hard work is rewarded with four days off.
4. Staggered days
In this shift pattern, workers work a 5 x 8 hours a day shift. It is usually spread over 6 or 7 days to ensure that weekends are covered for your company. In this shift pattern, workers get off during the week, not the weekend. The staggered day shift pattern is typical in the maintenance industry.
5. Rotating shifts
Then we have the rotational model that can cover various schedules. It is a good option for companies with day and night shifts, such as construction. In the construction business, labor is often required around the clock. The rotating shift pattern allows to maintain the continuous work without stressing the workers.
Which shift patterns are popular?
Unsurprisingly, the traditional Monday to Friday-full-time shift pattern is the most popular. However, this is because of the large-scale adoption of this model. The actual answer varies from business to business.
For instance, if you have a startup with a young and enthusiastic workforce, they would prefer longer hours for lesser days. In such a scenario, a 4 on 4 off shift pattern will encourage them to provide their best for 12 hours daily.
Manufacturing and construction companies that employ a large number of workers prefer 2 shift pattern to ensure that workers are available in each shift and there is some time to hand over the work when the new shift begins.
Our advice for managers is to engage with supervisors who work closely with laborers to know what work schedule they would prefer. Then the feedback can be matched with the business requirements to create an optimal shift pattern.
What is the best shift pattern?
There is no simple answer. Every shift pattern has its relevance depending on the industry and the type of workforce it employs.
Let’s take a look at some of the best shift patterns.
1. 2 shift system: Best for manufacturing companies
Companies that need to operate for long periods and require intense concentration can implement 2 shift system. As workers are liable to work for 8 hours, they can maintain their focus on creating products of the best quality. Also, some manufacturing companies have restrictions on working times for health and safety reasons. They can benefit from this shift pattern.
2. Rotating shifts: Hospitality businesses
Establishments like hotels, restaurants, and leisure centers can have rotating shifts to allow their staff plans their personal lives. As this shift pattern has flexibility and familiarity, hospitality workers can better plan their day as they are aware of the shift changes a week before.
3. 4 on 4 off: Startups and business leaders
It is the least common shift pattern and is reportedly used by new-age startups and some business leaders to work intensively without feeling burned out.
How can you automatically maintain a shift pattern?
Shift pattern creation and maintenance are complex. There are several factors to consider and even more variables as workers are involved. Automatic shift schedule management is the most efficient way to ensure the success of a shift pattern within your company, irrespective of the industry.
Truein, an AI-based face recognition attendance system with shift scheduling, can help HR automatically maintain shift patterns. It is a cloud-based, hardware-less workforce management application with advanced shift scheduling features.
Truein allows managers to track the attendance and availability of workers at any time. Staff can request shift changes using the Truein app. Besides shift scheduling, it offers leave and overtime management and easily integrates with payroll software. Schedule a free demo today and see how Truein can automate your shift scheduling and attendance management.
Shift patterns are essential for the operational needs of any business. We hope this guide served you best in understanding what a shift pattern is and how you can choose the best type from the shift pattern examples we shared.