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Avoid a City Power crisis! Consider these two things before you implement a shift system

by , 06 September 2013
Parts of Johannesburg have been plunged into darkness as a result of strike action at City Power. On Wednesday, a group of technicians at the power utility stopped work. The reason? City Power wants to introduce a new shift system and workers aren't happy with the proposal. Don't make the same mistake in your workplace. Here's what you must look at BEFORE you implement a shift system in your workplace.

There are certain factors you need to take into account before you implement a shift system.

If you overlook them, you may just find yourself in the same boat as City Power, says the Health&Safety Advisor.

Two things you must look at before implementing a shift system

#1: Length of rotation periods:  This is the number of days on any one shift before switching to the next shift. You have to allow for a 36-hour continuous rest period per week.

You must also take into account that your employee needs enough time to rest for his next shift.

And that's why you need to think about factors like:

  • The time of night/morning the shift starts and ends,
  • Your office location,
  • How far your employees have to travel
  • Whether they have to travel through high crime/high risk areas.

You also need to consider start and finish times. Early morning shifts are associated with shorter sleep and fatigue. So avoid shift starting times as early as 5am or 6am.

#2: Direction of rotation of shifts: It's advisable that your shifts rotate forward from day to afternoon to night because circadian rhythms are better moving ahead than back.

For instance, if your employee works an eight hour shift schedule, then his shift will start at 6am and end at 2pm. His next shift change will start at 2pm till 10pm and then his final shift change will be from 10pm to 6am.

While these factors may seem trivial, taking them into account when you implement your shift system will help ensure your workers are more productive. But more importantly, they could help you avoid a scenario like the one City Power is currently facing.


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