The work environment today has the potential to be very different from what it was even a few years ago. What was just theory earlier has entered the realms of practicality with the advances in Information Technology and Web-based functionality. Concepts like self-rostering and work-at-home are practical possibilities now, and could even lead to greater productivity.
What Is Self Rostering?
In practice, there are degrees of self-rostering. It can simply mean allowing staff to indicate their work shift preferences (to be accommodated to the extent possible) to creating a team that agrees amongst themselves how to allocate working time to team members.
The skill requirements for each shift are identified and agreed upon by the team. The team then develops the roster allocating working times to their members in order to meet the skill requirements and also member conveniences.
As in the case of work-at-home scenarios, such self-rostering also provides the flexibility for workers to meet both work and personal commitments without disrupting one for the other.
Benefits of Self Rostering
The change in worker attitude towards work is a major gain that can be expected from such flexibility. They are likely to come to see work not as a life-disruptive evil but as another manageable component of their lives. This can lead to greater productivity and less negativism at work.
Self rostering can also allow workers to choose working hours during non-traffic-peak times. Instead of adding to the traffic jam, they can help to lessen it, by choosing to travel during non-peak hours to reach their workplaces.
Staff can also rearrange their work hours so that formerly idle time they spent at office or factory could be put to more productive use.
Greater sense of participation and decision making, that can lead better quality work output too in course of time.
Workers can “bank” times for future use by working longer hours when they can afford to, and then withdrawing the banked extra time when needed.
Harried managers, who earlier had to attend to the work of rostering workers to shifts (and then listen to complaints however hard they had tried to maintain fairness), can get back to more meaningful work.
Shifts Can Get Transformed in the Process
A self-rostering team can consider skill and manpower requirements hour by hour, and arrange for meeting these through their work allocation. This can mean doing away with the inflexibility of shifts where high value skills or manpower can remain unutilized.
Another shift-related aspect is that some workers might opt for longer, but fewer, shifts so that they can avoid wasted travel time (or gain some other benefit).
The overall result could be a transformation of shift working. The matching of requirements to allocation can also be much better, resulting in greater quality and quantity of output.
Greatest Benefit: Worker Retention
Few workers who have experienced a self-rostering environment are likely to wish to leave that for the earlier inflexible and often unfair manager-rostered work environment. Thus, implementing self rostering can give you a competitive advantage in the skilled manpower market.