Follow-up Post on a Workable 4-shift Schedule

There has been a lot of feedback on the blog posting made in September 2012, so I thought I would follow-up with a few more details.

In my Sept 10, 2012 blog entitled "A 4-Shift, Around-the-Clock Schedule that EVERYONE Will Love", I originally omitted shift times, thinking that local customs would dictate when would be best to start and end a shift.  There were also questions on how vacations and sick time would be covered.  I'll address these questions to clear things up a bit.

The schedule that I am most familiar with started at 6AM.  I'll outline that schedule, but bear in mind that A-Shift can start at 7 am or 8am if the local workers, management or union chooses to.  Also, all workers on that shift, whether hourly, supervisory, engineering or maintenance, all adhere to this schedule.

So, this is what it looks like on paper:



Except for holidays, vacation times and sick days, all shifts always work 6 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 

On week 1 of the two week rotation, A & B shifts work 12 hours each on Thursday and Friday, and get the weekend off.

On week 1 of the two week rotation, C & D shifts get Thursday and Friday off and work 12 hours each on Saturday and Sunday.

On week 2 of the two-week rotation, A & B shifts work the weekend and C & D shifts have the weekend off.

Variations on this theme are starting at another time, such as 7am or 8am, or going to a 4-week rotation in which week 1 is repeated twice then week 2 is repeated twice.

As far as covering for vacations and holidays, this is a universal problem that I think it is a little easier to cover with this schedule than with many other schedules I've encountered.  On Mondays-Wednesdays, "double" shifts will be required to cover those employees that are off, meaning those days will be 12-hour days for some people.  From Thursday - Sunday, those that have off will have to come in to cover those employees that are off.  If supervisory staff is off, it may be necessary to have "Lead Operators" cover the shift.

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