Is it necessary to increase staffing levels when converting to a 12-hour shift schedule?
Longer 12-hour shifts don’t necessarily require additional staffing. Unless there’s an increase in the number of days an operation runs (i.e. converting from a 5- to a 7-day operation schedule), staffing levels can remain the same.
With that being said, schedule changes are a great time to review staffing levels – ideally, this occurs prior to the schedule change. Adequate staffing on 12-hour shifts is paramount, because excessive overtime poses a myriad of risks to both workers and the operation (e.g. safety concerns, productivity declines, health problems).
Throughout CIRCADIAN’s 30 years of assisting operations with schedule conversions and staffing level analyses, we know that using schedule conversions to reduce staffing levels can cause major workforce issues – often resulting in increased turnover rates, management-worker tensions and lowered employee morale.
Industry experts recommend that overtime levels shouldn’t exceed 10-12% of regularly scheduled hours, not including ‘built-in’ overtime seen in many industries (i.e. regularly scheduled 42 hour work weeks). When overtime rates approach 15%, management should begin to recruit and hire new workers. If overtime rates reach 20% or greater, immediate changes should be made to staffing levels and/or shift schedules.
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