The length of work time is a significant factor in the operations of a company or institution. Nowadays the 8-hour working day model is largely a thing of the past. The length of shifts is now dictated by factors such as a company’s business environment, its type of business, sales or production lines’ structure. Employers are more and more commonly opting for flexible solutions enabling free time management by staff. Thankfully they now may use intuitive tools to pick the optimal option.

Shift length management and productivity

Appropriate time management may help in day to day running of a company, leading to higher productivity and regular achievement of targets. Achieving the above calls for consideration of an organisation’s corporate culture and its business environment. Verification and appropriate analysis of this area will doubtlessly assist in the selection of a shift length optimal for that organisation. Factors such as sales transaction number and frequency, or a Customer’s path across the store’s premises also are highly relevant. Consumer behaviour is undergoing constant modifications hence following changes in that area may be of high benefit to a company.

Shift length should also be linked to the economic calendar. Looking at the possible impact upon one’s business of the newly introduced ban of Sunday trading – or that of seasonality – may help with a seamless introduction of the whole process. This is related to the economic cycle which also should be considered in the shift length determination process. In manufacturing production plans or layovers should be taken into account as well. If such data are not included in the analysis then it becomes difficult to find answers to the question of how to organise work time as to make it both highly productive and profitable.

The Labour Code – employees’ right to breaks in particular – is yet another issue to be looked at when planning shift lengths. For instance people employed on work contracts have the right to 11 hours of interrupted rest inside a 24 hour period. Also, in the course of a seven day long period – an employee has the right to a single instance of uninterrupted 35 hours of free time (usually Sunday is the day off, unless a company works on weekends).

A step towards automation

The most effective solutions –  cost-wise as well – are those using so-called data mining. This is an automated process of extracting data from databases with an eye at better understanding of existing rules and regularities, which would translate directly into more efficient problem resolution or more effective fine-tuning. Intraworq offers its Clients the IWQ Shift Optimizer software which makes the planning and implementation of new solutions easier and faster.