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How COVID-19 Is Shining a New Light on Shift Rotations

With more organizations and businesses opening their doors following a period of mandatory shutdowns, how organizations operate their businesses and manage their workforce many never fully return to pre COVID-19 norms. Strict guidelines to reduce the chance of exposure and transmission include limiting interactions with customers and fellow employees. Some mitigation efforts have already been adopted, such as enforcing physical distancing, requiring masks to be worn, leveraging outdoor spaces, installing plexiglass shields, wiping down surfaces regularly and limiting the number of customers allowed inside a business. These measures are all meant to keep our employees and customers safe, but there is another method that is growing in popularity to help control the number of peers that each employee interacts with daily - Shift Rotations.

Let's look at how scheduling may work at a typical organization. If your department has 100 employees and you need 10 staff members to cover each shift, think about how many interactions with peers a single employee may have in each week. During their typical five shifts per week, one employee may interact with 45 other staff members (5 shifts x 9 peers per shift = 45). If one employee is an asymptomatic carrier, this could allow for 45 different employees to be exposed in the span of one week, all due to one positive employee. Any of those employees that were exposed could then pass it on to the other 55 employees before they were to show symptoms. Within one week, the entire team could be exposed to the virus, potentially calling for staff quarantines and allowing the business to become a public health threat. The shift rotation tool allows for management to limit and control who your staffers interact with, and if one of your employees test positive for COVID-19, you would be able to quarantine and test the employees that were on the same shift as the positive case. This is like the testing and tracing protocols that many governments have adopted.

Grouping employees into shift teams and rotating them through the schedule is a proven way to efficiently schedule while reducing how many employees could be exposed at a given time. Shift Rotations have been around for a long time but can now be utilized for a new purpose. In our above example, this would mean groups of 10 employees always working together through a rotating schedule. Protocols will need to be established so that employees from different shift teams do not interact with one another as they are switching shifts. Utilizing this method, if someone from your team were to test positive for the virus, you would only need to quarantine and test the members of that specific shift grouping, as opposed to half of your entire staff.

A best practice to support transitioning to and managing shift rotations is to leverage technology that includes this type of functionality. The SubItUp Shift Rotation tool can help you transition to and manage shift groups and assign the days and times they should be working. In the event you have an exposed team member and need to quarantine a shift group, you can use the platform to ensure that these team members are not scheduled during that time period. With a simple setting, the software also makes it easy to disallow swapping shifts keeping the shift groups consistent.

Want to learn more about SubItUp's Shift Rotation Tool and how it can help your organization? Click here to speak with a Product Specialist today!

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