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Including shift workers in the “future of work” conversation.

Don’t forget the shiftworkers - the millions of people who work the weekends and the odd hours.

There’s been a lot of commentary about flexible, 4-day week, hybrid and remote working arrangements and applauding the initiatives of those companies who let us adapt work arrangements to suit our own specific needs.

Whilst they should be applauded, most of these options suit knowledge, technical, managerial and support roles that may not be directly tied to a specific customer or operational need each day. 

But what about the shiftworkers and those out-of-hours staff that have to directly align to these workload demand profiles?  

The miners, manufacturers, construction, emergency services, corrections, call centre, and network operations people to name a few.

Many of these were our COVID heroes who kept the lights burning in our care and essential services, and turned up to their workplace every day whilst the rest of us remotely worked from home. 

These hands on, forward facing and customer delivery type roles are also looking for flexible and hybrid options. 

According to the ABS (Aug ’21), the working arrangements for employed persons:

  • 15% usually worked shiftwork (about 2 million people)
  • 52% worked Monday to Friday only (although it’s not clear if some are also shiftworkers)

That still leaves one third of the workforce that doesn’t solely align with standard office hours, and whom may regularly work overtime, evenings, weekends or call-outs.

Some companies have implemented viable options that create roles or adjust shift times for parents between school and care times. Don Castlemaine, Jayco and BHP to name a few who were able to carve out a niche with enough equipment and manufacturing space for these roles to be productive.

But for the majority of operations, there are only so many trucks, excavators, desks, computers and phones to go around.  

The challenge is to create working arrangement solutions that consider the whole picture – from health and safety considerations, operational requirements and employee preferences, to market disruptors and new technologies.

Using these 5 key considerations, you develop work arrangements that are both fair and equitable, and can balance the needs of people and the business.

Orkest is an expert workforce planning and design consultancy, specialising in roster optimisation. 

Drawing on two decades of advisory across Australia and the Asia Pacific, we’re helping organisations solve their most crucial workforce challenges by finding balanced solutions that are good for business and good for people.