Managing shift work effectively poses a significant challenge for many businesses. As a labour hire agency catering to a wide variety of industries, we have a unique perspective on what it takes to implement robust and sustainable shift management practices. In this article, we share key recommendations based on frequently asked questions by our business clients on optimising their shift scheduling.
Embracing Flexibility in Shift Arrangements
One of the most common pain points businesses face is handling fluctuations in workflow and staffing needs across different days and times. Our advice? Build flexibility into shift arrangements right from the start.
Consider split shifts, part-time positions, and on-call workers. Understanding your employees’ availability and preferences also goes a long way here. The more agile and fluid your shift schedules, the easier it becomes to align staffing levels to your operation’s workflow patterns.
Rotational Shifts Done Right
For businesses operating round-the-clock, having set rotational shifts is crucial to avoid burnout and ensure fairness. Firstly, the rotation system needs to be transparent and managed equitably. Secondly, providing predictable schedules well in advance is vital for your staff to plan out their personal and family time.
Getting these two critical aspects right can greatly minimise conflicts and attrition among your workforce.
Adapting Shift Duration to Changing Needs
In addition to rotating shifts, re-evaluating the duration of shifts can also provide a valuable avenue for optimisation. During seasonal fluctuations or when there are changes in market demand, reconsider if existing shift lengths continue to serve your business needs efficiently. Shortening shifts during leaner periods and extending them during sales peaks can help manage labour costs.
However, take care to comply with laws and not compromise worker health & safety with extremely long shifts. In Australia, work-life balance and employee well-being are being increasingly prioritised. The adoption of flexible working arrangements is becoming more common. Additionally, adherence to workplace safety, fairness in shift assignments, and compliance with labour laws like the Fair Work Act are crucial aspects for any business operating in Australia.
Building an On-Call Workforce
Partnering with a reputable labour hire firm like us enables access to a wider pool of casual, temporary or on-call workers. This workforce agility can be invaluable to fill gaps arising from unplanned absences or meet sporadic spikes in business activities. Clear protocols need to be established on contacting and engaging these workers seamlessly when the need arises.
While complex, some technology solutions and emphasis on open communications can help overcome many hurdles in managing a fluid shift-based workforce. Reach out to us anytime to learn more about how we can support your business’s scheduling, staffing and compliance needs!