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27 April 2018

Déhora will offer a 2-day training seminar

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The training will include all aspects of workforce planning:

capacity planning & worktime optimisation,

scheduling techniques,

scheduling, well being, health and fatigue management,

the legal frame work.

One of the topics is self-scheduling, a scheduling methodology that is increasingly popular.

Exact date will follow. For more information and to let us know of you interest, please visit the Déhora website:


NCCC member opened its doors in the Czech Republic in June 2017 and has executed already some major projects in the Czech Republic in the areas of logistics, fast moving consumer goods and automotive.

Déhora, with its head quarters in Amsterdam, advises public and private organisations in the area of workforce planning and optimisation and has been doing so all over Europe for more than 30 year. It provides its services to practically every sector of the economy: production &manufacturing, fmcg, care and cure, security, transport & logistics, leisure etc. Especially in times of strong competition and labour shortages, up to date workforce planning and scheduling is vital for flexibility and maintaining good company results. Also, better roster and scheduling practices are a must when it comes finding and binding quality staff.

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Shift work today

Today, about one in five workers in Europe are employed on shift work involving night work and over one in 20 work works more than 48 hours a week (extended hours). Some workers only work on the two day shifts, some only nights, while others rotate through all three shifts with variable degrees of speed of rotation and direction of rotation. Although the shift worker of 50 years ago was likely to be factory based, increasing demand for services, both business and pleasure, has extended to those employed in more traditionally “white collar” occupations. E-commerce will increase the need for 24 hour services for most retail and service organisations.But shift work has consequences.

Health effects

In humans circadian rhythms exist, running on a 25 hour cycle. Cycles include body temperature, respiratory rate, urinary excretion, cell division, and hormone production, and can be modulated by exogenous factors such as light-dark cycle, social climate, and of course, work schedules. A recent review of the data suggests that shift workers have a 40% increase in risk for cardiovascular disorders, mainly angina pectoris, hypertension, and infarction.

Some of the increased difficulties that women have on shift work are related to their greater domestic obligations and to the broad based assertion that women tend to report health symptoms more often than men. Shift work and particularly night work, may present special risks to women of child bearing age. The causative factors probably include disruption of the menstrual cycle and increased stress from the conflicts created by night work on family life.

The evidence all points in the direction of asserting that the aging worker tolerates shift work less well than younger colleagues. With age, sleep becomes shorter and more fragmented. Anxiety and depression indices also point to the likelihood of an adverse effect on mental health from shift work and long working hours. There seems to be increased neuroticism with increasing years of shift work.

Social effects

Shift work also influences humans social life. Saturday and Sunday work, for example, can preclude involvement in sporting events or religious activities. Shift work can thus lead to social marginalisation. Family and marital responsibilities can be severely disrupted by shift work or long hours. Childcare, housework, shopping, and leaving a partner alone at night can all lead to marital strain and family dysfunction.

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Effects on production

In general, efficiency of performance seems to parallel the circadian variation in body temperature. The disruption of circadian rhythm, combined with sleep deficit and fatigue, can lead to workplace inefficiency, particularly in the early hours of the morning. A dip after lunch has also been described for lowered efficiency of performance and this is only partially dependent on the meal itself.

The shortening of the sleep period caused by an early start at work (0600) has also been shown to be associated with an increase in errors and accidents in transport workers. One of the most authoritative reviews concludes that despite considerable variation between people, sleep loss is a major effect of shift work.

There are individual differences. People who are at their best in the morning face more difficulties in adjusting their circadian rhythms to night work compared with those who feel better in the evening. By contrast, evening types have greater problems with the early morning shift.

On an anecdotal note, it is interesting that some major catastrophes such as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Exxon Valdez, and the space shuttle Challenger all started in the early hours of the morning with errors by people who had been on duty for long hours.

Well designed studies (Vernon et all) clearly show that shift time reduction may result in improvement in the quality and quantity of units produced. Vernon et al also showed that pauses of 10 minutes in the morning and afternoon could increase production by 5–12%.

It has been suggested that almost one in five workers leave shift work because they cannot tolerate it, about 10% positively enjoy it, and the rest tolerate it to a greater and lesser extent.

What to do?

Most of the work on minimising the deleterious effects of shift work has concentrated on the three 8 hour shift rotation. Other factors which can ameliorate shift schedules include workplace improvements in catering, supervision, health care, transportation, and recreational facilities. There is some limited evidence that bright light might be useful on the night shift to offset some of the circadian effects of the day-night changes.

As the night shift seems to cause a disproportionate amount of the problems of shift work, night work should be reduced as much as possible, perhaps by increasing the number of crews involved. Rapid rotation of shifts (a change every few days) is preferable to slow rotation as this schedule produces less interference with circadian rhythm. Clockwise rotation (morning, afternoon, night) is preferable to counter clockwise rotation as quick changeovers—for example, the morning and the night shift in the same 24 hour period—are avoided and this rotation allows longer rest periods between shifts.

Finally, a later start for the morning shift which is traditionally 0600 reduces the truncation of the previous sleep period, particularly for REM sleep.

On balance, the duration of shift should not be extended to 10 or 12 hours as complaints of fatigue are greater on the long shifts, notwithstanding that workers may favour the longer shifts, not because they are longer but because the breaks between shift weeks are longer, often 3–4 days and they have to commute less, thus saving also money.

Finally, there is increasing evidence that allowing the workers to design their own shift schedules encourages good work performance as they take responsibility for achieving the work output targets.

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