Shift working undergoes severe change as the recession takes hold

Employers are making severe changes to shift arrangements driven by the crippling economic climate, exclusive research by Personnel Today‘s paid-for sister service XpertHR has found.

Hours have been slashed and in some cases entire shifts closed, a survey of 87 organisations has revealed.

More than one-third of employers have made changes to shift arrangements during the past 12 months and 19% said this was a result of the economic climate.

Changes often involved reductions or closures of shifts. Digital security provider Gemalto UK revealed that day/night shift workers have temporarily moved from 12-hour to eight-hour shifts, and range cookers supplier Rangemaster said it had ceased its night shift altogether.

Hotel development company BDL Management also revealed the poor economic climate had forced the reintroduction of split shifts in place of straight shift patterns, but stressed “full consultation with the team” had taken place.

And a further 10 organisations plan to make changes to shift-working arrangements in the coming 12 months as a result of the economic background, the 2009 Managing Shift-Working Arrangements Survey revealed.

Encouragingly, many of the firms reported plans to build back up to normal shift-working levels as the economic outlook improves.

Sarah Welfare, XpertHR’s pay and benefits editor, told Personnel Today: “Shift working comes into its own in recession as employers using shifts can be better placed to alter working patterns to reflect reduced demand.

“Our survey gives cause for optimism as many employers say they are planning to restore shifts as soon as trading conditions allow. But recession is not the whole story. Those employers less affected by the economic downturn continue to modernise shift patterns to better meet the needs of their customers or clients.”


To take part in XpertHR employment and HR surveys, check on the progress of recent research, and find out what subjects will be investigated over the coming months visit IRS, part of the XpertHR Group, at

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