We are now firmly into our first phase of the wellbeing trial where we are monitoring the wellbeing of staff under usual working practises. The first round of questionnaires will be sent to employees last week to be confidentially filled out in order to provide insights into their stress levels, sleep times and average steps, among other measures. However, for this update we feel it would be useful to give an insight on how the trial will affect those in the operations department. This includes what measures we are looking at to consider productivity levels and how we came to a decision on the way in which compressed hours would work best for the staff in the warehouse while maintaining our high levels of customer satisfaction and service.
One of the departments we feel will be seeing great benefits is the operations department. Their work is physically demanding and involves a lot of driving. By reducing their hours, we hope they will have increased energy levels and have more time to rest and recover.
However, although we expect it will provide greater benefits to the staff, operations provide a much greater hurdle to overcome when looking to implement compressed working hours than other departments. They are often required to start early, finish late or work weekends. There is a huge amount of flexibility and commitment provided by the installers to make sure we can fit to work around our customers. If jobs aren’t complete, they work late. If the customer needs them on site for 8am, they load after work the night before and leave early the following morning. They go to the site on their own or as teams depending on the job. All of which creates additional barriers when trying to formulate a way in which to compress the operations department hours.
Considering this, the operations team recently met with the managers to discuss how to manipulate their hours so that they work for both the company and the staff. The main criteria meant finding a solution which:
From this it was established that it would be best for all members of the operations team to be in at the same time; staggering start times would mean that if teams were needed for an installation then one would need to change their times to be at the warehouse for the same time or the one starting earlier would be hanging around until both were in. It was also discussed that by coming in half an hour earlier, it would give the team enough time to talk through the days’ plans and undergo final checks while still leaving on time to make their deliveries as normal (for the majority of cases).
However, some jobs do require installation or out of hours so flexibility will still be a key component of how we work. Because of this, throughout the trial we will look to ensure any additional time is given in lieu so that they can maintain a better work life balance. We will also pay over-time rate for any out of normal office hours work so that they are compensated for the unsociable hours.
With regards to covering the warehouse for deliveries and pallets we considered the usual times for deliveries and ascertained that the majority of deliveries are before 3.30PM with collections also being around the same time.
From this, and a few other considerations, we found that by starting the day 30 minutes earlier than usual they would have enough time to brief in the morning, complete the deliveries and perform the usual warehouse duties. As it looks now, the need for staff in the warehouse in the later part of the day is less critical than the mornings or early afternoons. This meant that we could offer compressed working hours without leaving the team short staffed at critical times.
By working with the team to analyse our best options we feel confident that we have addressed the departmental issues and given ourselves the greatest chance of this being successful and benefiting the staff without reducing productivity levels.
In order to be able to understand whether compressed hours affect the productivity levels we are using current KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) as well as some additional criteria as a gauge for the trial. These include:
We hope that these will provide suitable information to be able to adequately reflect the key areas of performance and allow objective analysis on the success of the trial.
In order for us to give this the best chance of success we have looked into the details necessary to measure the impacts on both the personal aspects and the commercial activity. By having taken the time to work with the staff and managers we hope we have given the greatest chance of success to a department which poses the greatest challenges in this trial. Fingers crossed.
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