November 10th 2014
It is no secret that shift work can disrupt the body’s internal clock and has previously been linked to an increased risk of health problems such as heart problems and even some cancers.
However, according to this new report, scientists in France who carried out a study of 3,000 people found that an additional 6.5 years of age-related cognitive decline was based on rotating morning, afternoon and night shifts.
An estimated 1 in 5 people in Europe work shift patterns that involve some element of night work, while working on a wide range of shift patterns. Circadian rhythms disruption has long been understood to lead to poor efficiency and increased errors and accidents in early hours of the morning. Stress and other issues often arise from abnormal working times however, for other people, opportunities arise to do things at less busy times.
For those working on shift patterns, working time regulations define a requirement of:
A good workforce management software solution, such as Crown’s Open Options™, helps organisations maximise the investment in their people by providing a solution to manage all aspects of workforce time and ensuring these regulations are met.
As studies suggest, performance and other issues as well as higher shift allowances and night working should be avoided as much as possible but if required, then only the correct number of people, with the correct skills, should be rostered.
If capacity is an issue, a business should look at this on a yearly basis. As a business owner or HR manager, ask yourself if there is a way of implementing a flexible shift pattern (e.g. annual hours) that has the required capacity through night shifts at certain times of the year and not others?
As mentioned above shift working often leads to issues within family life, this can be helped by ensuring rotas can be adjusted to suit individuals as well as maintaining the skill cover for the business by allowing swapping of shifts.
By using a solution such as Open Options™, which gives complete visibility across a whole organisation, managers can set limits and targets to ensure each shift pattern is filled by the correct number of people with the right skills for the job. It will also flag up if an employee has already worked his legal requirement of hours, therefore eliminating human error.
Saving all this information allows managers to look back throughout the year and monitor pattern trends and see when people are needed most and enable them to plan ahead for the next year.
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