changing shift patterns guide

Changing to new Shift Patterns

If your Company is thinking about changing to new Shift patterns. We describe the processes involved to do this. If you have any questions, please call us.

click here to see the Changing Shift Patterns Guide

Visual Rota

Staff Scheduling Software

Continuous Shortstaffing.

Short staffing is when the tasks to be completed on a shift are not completed because there is not enough staff available. This is a possible definition of short staffing. The problem of defining short staffing into terms (possibly mathematical) which can be analysed and solved is impossible without a computer program such as Visual Rota. Our method of solution is as follows.

1. First insert a few extra dummy staff members (virtual staff). Assign shifts to existing staff according to their contract. If there are no shifts that have less than the correct staffing levels, then you have enough staff.

2. Look back at the previous staffing levels in previous months, and if there are periods of understaffing, then the problem is more to do with such things as absenteeism, over staffing on some shifts, staff altering their shifts and creating mayhem.

3. In the cases of genuine understaffing, then assign shifts to the virtual staff to make the shift staffing levels as required. Assuming that this is prepared in advance, then all staff are aware that you have the following options. The first is to take on more staff to fulfil the shift staffing levels on contracts in accordance with the shifts allocated to the virtual staff. This is the least desirable solution from the point of view of existing staff. New staff on new contracts are a certain threat to existing staff on existing contracts. New staff bring competition for promotion and they bring in new methods of working. This creates the big C, change, and if there is one thing dreaded by staff its CHANGE. This one solution will usually provide enough incentive to the existing staff to solve the problem within the current structure. It may introduce new working practises, eliminate waste, or encourage overtime working.

4. Publish the staff schedule showing the need for the new virtual staff and invite existing staff to add extra shifts to their original shifts to make up your numbers. At this point it will be necessary to note that the staff agree to having shifts extra to their contract. Very often after a while it can become contentious as to what the circumstances were. Visual Rota provides you with the ability to make notes as you go along straight into the schedule, and these notes can be for your private viewing or public viewing.

5. Hire new staff in accordance with the shifts (and hours) allocated to the virtual staff. We regularly have students from university during holiday periods and their numbers and shifts are pre-assigned months in advance. The cost of using agency or temporary staff can be costed out to ensure the minimum expenditure in cases of cyclical short staffing.

Myth - We are always short of Staff

This is a frequent complaint and is perpetuate from staff to staff as if it were true. Using the data and charts it is possible to debunk this myth.

The typical scenario is as follows. A member of staff phones in sick at short notice. We have staff segregated into day trained nurses, day care assistants, night trained nurses, night care assistants, head cooks, catering assistants, cleaning, maintenance. 8 categories in all. There are about 60 full and part time staff and during each day (24 hour day) something like 25-30 staff come into work. Typically 4(2 lots of 2) day trained nurses, 15(8 in the morning and 7 in the afternoon) day care assistants, 1 night trained nurse, 3 night care assistants, 1 cook and 1 assistant, 1 cleaning and 1 laundry, 1 gardener

The person phoning in might be a day trained nurse, in which case the other trained nurse has double the work to do.

The person phoning in might be a day care assistant, in which case the other care assistants have 20% more work to do.

The person phoning in might be the cook, in which case the assistant has all the work to do.

And so on. The absence of one member of staff in the 30 that should turn up is observed by those affected as increasing their work load tremendously. If this happens, say, every other day, then the absentee rate is around 1.5%, which in any other business would be a good rate, instead translates into a perceived problem of continuous short staffing. Because those affected by the absence moan, a tremendous effort is made to bring in someone else to cover the shift. The same people are phoned time and again, as they see it, and the myth is perpetuated because it affects even the staff who are at home. Usually after some 30 minutes of phoning around, the staffing situation is back to the correct levels. But it has caused huge disruptions in the meanwhile and affected everyone. In fact, the only one not affected is the person off sick.

It is essential to debunk myths like that, because it affects morale and future recruitment of staff. The charts produced by the computer programs go a long way in doing just that. We have had staff in the past who have 'felt' over worked because of being short staffed. If a chart is plotted of the hours in each category worked every day and this shows that the correct staffing levels were adhered to each day, then it is possible to convince them of their error.

More alecrmation about Visual Rota

Human Resource Management:Training in Staff Rostering

user guides,help & video record keeping using VR calculating holiday entitlements shifts overlapping pay rates
creating new schedules with VR shift pattern generator changing over to VR hotels and staffing
See your staffing costs as you prepare the schedule On Oct.1st 1998 the new regulations came into force Frequently asked questions Using Visual Rota Statistics to make decisions
 Managing Change. How to introduce changes How to use annual hours in planning schedules What is Whatif analysis? How having too many staff can affect quality as well as too few staff
Continually  short staffed-fact or myth How to reduce staff painlessly please email us Theory and creating the staffing schedule