How Self-Rostering can help organizations plan a safe return to work


All around the globe governments are easing restrictions, gradually lifting lockdowns and allowing businesses to resume operations at regulated capacity. At this stage of the pandemic’s lifecycle, organizations are grappling with two main issues. Business continuity amid great uncertainty and ensuring the health and safety of their employees. These issues are even more challenging for businesses that employ shift workers. Industries such as healthcare, retail, public transport, manufacturing and others all depend on shift workers as a vital part of their operations. These shift workers have been on the frontlines during the pandemic, delivering essential services that have helped societies across the world cope with worldwide lockdowns, disrupted supply chains and wide scale restrictions on the movement of people and goods. Rightfully so, these frontline workers have been lauded as heroes, placing their health and lives at considerable risk in fulfillment of their duties. This article discusses the concept of self-rostering and how this flexible form of staff scheduling can facilitate safe re-opening of businesses employing shift workers.

Scheduling and planning shifts and rosters were already complex tasks before the pandemic. As health and safety of workers and customers has become even more critical to business continuity, organizations must take into consideration additional factors that complicate workforce planning even further. Factors such as, but not limited to, shifting employee preferences, minimizing workers physical interactions amongst themselves and with customers, forecasting demand and workload at a time when historical demand patterns are no longer a robust predictor, the possibility of employees getting infected. This is where the concept of self-rostering becomes more interesting for organizations. Self-rostering is a trend that has been gaining traction in Western Europe in the past two decades. It is a form of flexible scheduling that allows workers to select shifts or shift patterns within defined parameters. Increasingly organizations employing shift workers are realizing the significant benefits this approach can produce. Self-rostering is associated with better work-life balance, higher productivity, higher employee engagement and lower absenteeism. At a time when businesses are resuming operations, the value of these benefits to employers and employees is magnified.

In addition, as Covid-19 continues to be a reality in our lives, employees now have additional considerations that impact which shifts they’d prefer to work. Employees might have partners that work from home, others may be living with individuals from high risk groups (elderly or adults with pre-existing health conditions). Self-rostering can mitigate the effect of these additional complications by allowing workers to have more control over their work schedules, within defined quantitative and qualitative parameters. Laws and regulations, collective labor agreements, company policy, skills and qualifications of workers and of course worker’s shift preferences are all considered when designing base schedules and final rosters. Effectively making workforce scheduling a joint responsibility between employer and employee.

There is no better time to shift to a more modern workforce planning and scheduling approach that allows organizations to plan and schedule effectively while also prioritizing the health and well-being of their staff and customers. Dehora has been one of the pioneers of self-rostering in the Benelux region, having helped organizations across industries design, develop, implement and manage self-rostering. At Dehora we have seen the benefits of self-rostering firsthand. Results show that self-rostering when implemented effectively creates a win-win situation for employers and employees. In practical terms these are the results we’ve helped our clients realize:

  • Productivity gains between 3-8%
  • 10-25% lower sick leave and absenteeism
  • 10-25% less overtime
  • Employer branding: organizations who adopt this approach become more attractive to employees.

How can Dehora help?

Interested in implementing self-rostering in your organization? Want to learn more about how Dehora can support you?

Contact us to learn more!