This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

September 26, 2001

Global Time: A New Meaning for 24/7

As more business is conducted internationally, more companies will operate 24/7. Business operations in many time zones around the world need to communicate with each other; people will be at work to take the calls. Many businesspeople take calls from home at odd hours of the night to respond to global inquiries. This movement will change lifestyles for many people and the communities in which they live.

Employers have been challenged to find sufficient people to work at night. Late shifts have traditionally been less desirable, since most people typically work during the day. Historically, people working night shifts have been given premium pay to compensate for the inconvenient hours.

Lifestyles are changing. Those hours outside the customary 8-5 time frame are less inconvenient now. People working these shifts find a variety of retailers open to serve them. Even childcare facilities operate late hours- and some around the clock-to serve this special clientele. Some cities, like Las Vegas, have operated 24/7 for years. Many other communities also have 24/7 operations-like hotels, hospitals, emergency services, and newspapers, and broadcast facilities.

As globalization continues to grow, more workers will be recruited to fill 24-hour schedules. For a while, many night positions will be filled by workers with low seniority, but gradually this will change. The work done on all the shifts will be of equal importance, so more experienced workers will be needed. Shifts may be arranged differently to accommodate changing needs and conditions, but longer operating hours will become the norm.

Manufacturers, including those who had not initially designed their facilities for 24-hour operations, will find that this scheduling design will maximize return on capital investment. Multi-income families will take advantage of these opportunities, so children will have at least one parent around all the time.

Schedules will become more creative-with long shifts, short shifts, variable shifts, and successive days off. Employers will be anxious to accommodate the needs of their workers; some will put the scheduling in the hands of the employees. Workers will collaborate to create flexible schedules that respond to the needs of all team members.

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