Achieving the Ten Hour Work Day

The problem is very easy to define. There are only twenty four hours in a day. Ten does not divide into twenty four evenly. Our team of dispatchers wanted to work ten hour shifts but were having a hard time understanding how to create a calendar that didn’t result in several hours of the day being overstaffed by 10-15 people.

The traditional solution to staffing in a 24 hour a day environment is to stick with either eight or twelve hour shifts to meet the staffing requirements of that time frame. But by throwing out the rules, I was able to design a ten hour shift schedulein our workplace that relies on four starting times instead of three, with the added benefit of a four day work week for more than 70% of the dispatchers on duty.

The start times found within the schedule are carefully chosen to take advantage of shift overlap to create a 16 hour peak period where the “on-peak” staffing is exactly double that off the 8 hour “off-peak” period. This peak period corresponds roughly with the alarm room’s busiest times of activity.

Starting times for a ten hour shift schedule

The attached shift calendar on the following pages uses this created peak period of time in conjunction with our traditional three-by-eight hour schedule to create an integrated solution that has potential benefits for all employees. Features of this calendar include:

  • All shifts maintain the same start and end times throughout the course of the work week.
  • All shifts have consecutive days off.
  • The calendar is comprised of 71% ten hour shifts. (40 of 56 shifts.)

If you are considering implementing this schedule into a twenty four hour workplace, I would welcome the chance to help out with the planning process for your facility. Also, it helps to keep in mind that there might be other changes necessary to the culture and work rules of your facility to make the transition successful.

  • The rules for vacation bidding may need to change with different combinations of people off.
  • The process of staffing vacant shifts by offering overtime may change due to new staffing levels.
  • Payroll adjustments may need to be made, especially concerning any “swing” and “night” shift differentials.
  • Break scheduling will also have to be revised, again based on the projected new staffing levels.
  • Redistribution of the span of control of supervisors and employees based on the new shifts.

Please feel free to leave questions about this idea in the comment space below.

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