C-Desk Technology | Old Vicarage | Rolleston | NG23 5SE | Tel: (+44) 01636 816466 | alec@visualrota.co.uk

The aim of this book is to teach you
how to calculate how many staff you
need to run your operation.

The aim of this series of books is
to provide a reference guide for t
he types of available shift patterns
by way of supplying a total of
almost 300 unique shift patterns.

This book is about how to organise
staff holidays so that they do not
affect the operation. A Holidays
Included Shift Pattern will
accommodate everyone’s holiday
in the shift pattern.

This book looks at the details of
introducing and using Banked
Hours based on our experiences
with the many organisations
that use them.

This book not only includes easy to
follow examples of how to calculate
your Absence Rate, but also shows
you how to use your Absence Rate
to predict how absences will occur
in the future. This book has look-up
tables which convert Absence Rate
in to the number you would expect
to be off shift.

Shift working is also more fatiguing than
office hours working; this is especially
prevalent if working nights. However this
book is about minimising fatigue and the
effects of fatigue so that you can enjoy
the advantages of working shifts without
being too fatigued.

Managing holidays are the bane of all
managers. The aim of this book is to
show you some simple techniques to
relieve you of the burden. With a
special section on Office Hours, this
book is ideal for all managers.

Have you found that the year is just not
long enough to fit in all the holidays?

The aim of this book is to help
managers with their shift
operations. Holidays and absences
can play havoc with most operations
unless special procedures are in place.
This book provides the solutions used
by us when setting up a shift system.

These books and others are available from
Amazon, simply search using ‘jezewski moore’.

All prices subject to vat for UK based organisations.

Shift Patterns

BLOGS
•
Holiday Entitlements,
•
Cover Shifts,
•
Easter,
•
Fair Holiday Scheduling,
•
High Sickness,
•
Forward Planning,
•
Skiing,
•
Frosty Mornings,
•
10-hour Shifts,
•
How Good is your Maths,
•
Unlimited Holidays,
•
Stagger Lunch,
•
Optimise Equipment,
•
Absence Management,
•
Christmas Presents,
•
Wedding Planners,
•
Bank Holidays,
•
Annualised Hours,
•
Inventory Modeling,
•
How Many Staff are needed,
•
Flexi-Time,
•
Cover for Sickness,
•
Global shift planning.
•
and many more

The ability to respond to changes in demand for products and services.

All of us would like to think that there is a repeatable pattern of shifts that would only have to be done
once. Yet that pattern seems to elude us. We never seem to be able to take the same schedule, say from
this time last year and repeat it again. When you see how many ways you could schedule staff, then it isn't
such a surprise that the schedule is never the same, ever.
How To Set A 7-Day Operation.
Say you want to set up a 7-day operation, how about a
Tea Rooms selling delicious cakes, where each person
only works 5 shifts a week, how many different ways
are there to do this ‘simple’ task? This is a very common
problem for many types of organisation that have a
‘rule’ that staff can only work 5 days in a week, and a 6th
or 7th day counts as ‘overtime’ and paid at premium
rates.
The table below demonstrates there can be 21 different
ways to schedule staff working 5days a week and 2 days
off a week. If you cycled everyone through the 21 weeks
you could restart it. The first week becomes week 22 and the cycle starts again. The table demonstrates a
perfectly fair schedule where every day is equal. All
variations are covered. This table is not meant to be
an actual method of staff scheduling, it is to illustrate
how it is possible to produce a fair(ish) schedule once
you take a long enough time period and other
conditions of employment into account.
We can look at a table like this and see that it is not a
practical model of how we should schedule staff. If
we imagine ourselves working to this table, we would
probably object to the lack of times that we would be
off for 2 days together, especially weekends. Am I
right or would you be happy only having 2 weekends
off in a year? Have a look yourself. But, the schedule
does have some very good points to it when you look
closely. First the statistics.
1. Continuous days on duty, there is one occasion of 5 days of continuous duty, 12 of 4 days continuous
duty, 8 of 3 days, 7 of 2 days and 7 of 1 day, plus once of 10 continuous days(when the cycle starts again).
2. Continuous days off duty, there are 6 two day breaks and 30 one day breaks, but there are 7 occasions
when the single days off are separated by a day on duty.
3. Holidays. Everyone receives holidays, in this example lets assume that you get 28 days of holiday
including state holidays. If you used 7 of those days in the table above(and don't forget you have to use
them sometime) then you could have changed the pattern so that you get 6 two day periods off and 7
three day periods off, which makes 13 long(ish) breaks in 21 weeks.
4. The number of weekends off will now increase from 1 to 3, still not very good, eh. But what if you used
those holidays on Saturdays and Sundays and added them to the day you already had off on a Saturday or
Sunday, then those 7 days holiday would give you 8 weekends off, which is pretty close to 40% of the
weekends, and you still have 3 weekends of 1 day off. So now we have more than 50% of your weekends
with at least one day off.
5. With the exception of the long 10 day period on duty, you will be working only 3 or 4 days continuously,
which doesn't seem that bad, or stressful.
The above analysis, which starts very negative and ends up as being quite acceptable, is only possible
when more data is available than you would normally get. It isn't easy to visualise in your mind how such
large changes can be made to an original unpalatable idea just by adding a few holidays. You might then
have a schedule that you could repeat every 21 weeks. The staff wouldn't have to start at week 1, they
could start at any week, so you could stagger the weeks. I have reproduced the table using the holidays.
I am sure that you will be able to see many problems in using a table such as the above to run your
business. Instinctively, you object to the mathematical logic of this table and bring up points such as, lack
of staffing cover at weekends, how to fit longer staff holidays in, etc. and you would be right to object on
those grounds, because there is no maths that could take human nature(not to mention 'conditions of
service') into account.
Staff Schedule where staff work a two shift system
A similar table to the first one can be made for staff working a 2 shift
system of Earlies and Lates, which is normal in a service industry.
Now, instead of repeating the pattern after 21 weeks, it would be
WEEK 673 before the cycle starts again. You would not be repeating
the pattern for 13 years. No wonder it's difficult to simply use last
years schedule.
So that you don’t need to look through 673 lines of shifts, I have
simply shown a 5-day operation using Earlies and Lates for one
person. If you had 2 staff and wanted one on Early and one on Late,
then for each of these 32 different lines, every time one person was
on one of these weeks, the other would do the opposite. Hence there
are only 32 options to use.
However, if they could work these Earlies and Lates independently,
then there are 32x32=1024 different ways to do it. This is 20 years of
different shift patterns. If there were 3 staff and you want 2 on Early
and one on Late, then there would be 243 different ways, or 5 years
before you had to repeat yourself.
Scheduling for longer periods
If you did a similar table for staff working 20 shifts in 28 days (5 shifts a week for 4 weeks), the table would
be 3,000,000,000,000 lines long, which represents a period of time, 10 times longer than the Universe has
been in existence. The paper used for the table would circle the Earth a thousand times. You would only
have to get to line 650 before your member of staff retires after 50 years continuous service.
One more mathematical fact. If you tried to schedule 2 staff, then the total number of ways you could
schedule 2 staff to work 5 days on, in a week and 2 days off in a week, all earlies, isn't doubled, it's
squared. There are 441 different ways to do it, and it would be 9 years before you had to repeat it.
Vision and Seeing Patterns
Our strongest sense is vision. More of our brain is devoted to vision and light and its interpretation than
the other senses combined. Our ability to see and interpret what we see is phenomenal and without
parallel. You can see, understand what you see and react in milliseconds. And we also remember what we
see, no matter how short the time was. Hence the banning of subliminal messages on TV.
We use the human ability to spot patterns a lot when we constructed the layout of the results. When you
are preparing a staff schedule, you will know how many staff should be on duty on each shift. In the 2 lines
below representing staff on duty, see how quickly you can spot the odd ones out
Morning 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Evening 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
They stand out like a beacon in the night. Somehow the eye is attracted to just the location where your
attention is needed. The software can use this ability to speed up your skills.

7-day Operation, 4on Early, 4 on Late
The above animation shows one way to roster 12 people so that 4 are on an Early shift (M-
Morning), 4 are on a Late shift (A-Afternoon) and there is an overlap in the middle of the day. The
shifts are 8 hours and they are on a 40-hour week.
Maths: 8 people on 40 hours provide 480 hours per week. Having 4 on Early and 4 on Late over 7
days uses 448 hours (8x7x8) so we have 32 hours left over. These extra hours are used as U shifts
to cover for holidays and absences.
The above shown week can be expanded indefinitely from just that week. You read it like a
newspaper column. Employee 1 works their first week of shifts and Employee 2 works their first
week of shifts, and so on for all the 12 employees. In the second week, Employee 1 works Employee
2’s week of shifts, Employee 2 works Employee 3’s week of shifts and so on. In this way, we have a
12 week cycle and in week 13, they repeat week 1 again.
This example uses 7 consecutive shifts and this is a very common way to work a 7-day operation.