The key to resource and workforce development planning is optimising the available working hours of the team, whist ensuring there is contingency for planned and unplanned absence. Over the past ten years we have developed and modified schemes for 24x7x365 operations both in the UK and Germany. The location of the service is important as any scheme must be compliant with employment legislation which can vary greatly in different countries.
At a site in Scotland, we developed a shift plan that ensured 2 operators were available at any time to operate a remote satellite ground station. This was based on rotating 12 hour shifts (day and night) with additional support available through the day with floating shift staff. These floating shift staff would then drop into the shift plan in the case of any absence (planned or otherwise).
This plan was highly effective but could not be used on a project we secured in Germany due to staff not being legally permitted to regularly work shifts of 12 hours. Adding in a 3rd shift (Early, Late, Night) hugely impacted the number of individuals needed to cover a rota. The key to the shift pattern in Germany was utilising additional hours for staff training and development at the start of end of a shift. We also had to ensure that the shift handover times were suitable for staff to use public transport should they need to.
More recently, we worked with a client operating with a team of UK Nationals in a European country. The need here was to have a pattern that allowed for regular working hours but also had built-in trips home. This final shift pattern was based on a 17/4 cycle over 21 days ensuring staff had a long weekend with their families every 3 weeks.