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Managing Change: 9 Tips for Transitioning to 12-Hour Shifts

Oct. 5, 2014
Is your company transitioning to a 12-hour work schedule from an eight-hour shift? Circadian offers nine tips to help ease the change:

Is your company transitioning to a 12-hour work schedule from an
eight-hour shift? Circadian offers nine tips to help ease the change:

  1. Don’t rely on overtime.

    Overtime can be the downfall of a successful move to 12-hour shifts. Why? Workers lose what is deemed by many as a primary benefit of 12-hour shifts for them -- added time off.

  2. Permit multiple short breaks.

    Keep the same work-to-break ratio, both for the sake of fairness and to avoid fatigue and vigilance challenges.

  3. Cross-train.

    Done effectively, cross-training can increase job satisfaction and make the physical and mental requirements of a 12-hour shift easier to handle

  4. Focus on communication.

    Circadian says the potential for communication breakdowns occurs in 12-hours shifts, particularly when the shift cycle includes six- or seven-day breaks. Develop solutions, such as message boards or short debriefing processes.


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  5. Require managers to work 12-hour shifts.

    Not necessarily all the time, but managers should regularly experience a 12-hour shift, Circadian proposes. It improves communication channels and raises employee morale.

  6. Establish an internal review team.

    A team comprised of workers can serve as a liaison to other workers, as well as share insights or concerns with senior management.

  7. Hold team-building social functions.

    This may be easier to do with 12-hour-shift workers.

  8. Encourage exercise.

    As long as it’s not too close to bedtime, exercise improves morale, alertness, health and sleep. Circadian says providing an opportunity to exercise at work frequently is well-received as well.

  9. Look for shiftwork-friendly products.

    Consider incorporating products that ease worker fatigue, such as anti-fatigue mats, and providing ergonomically correct positioning. Also keep in mind that these products typically are in use 24 hours per day, so durability should be a factor when making selections.

Source: Circadian

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