When I joined the job we used to work a four week/seven-day shift pattern. In other words we worked for seven days on lates, then two days off, seven earlies, three days off and seven nights, two days off.
We worked 8 hour shifts. I did this for many years. we got one weekend every 4 weeks but the beauty was that we finished work at 2pm on the Thursday and weren’t back until 10pm on the Monday.
Now we work a pattern of 5 week/3 & 4 day pattern. We work longer hours but we only work three or four days at a time. We get two weekends off every five but they are much shorter. Our short weekend starts at 4pm on the Friday and ends at 10pm on the Monday, while our long weekend starts at 7am on Friday straight after night shift then back at midday on Monday. It means we lose most of the Friday off because we have to sleep after nights. It completely mucks up your sleep pattern for your weekend.
The consequence is that I spend my entire life tired. They used to reckon doing the 7 day shift pattern for 25 years took 5 years off the average life expectancy, God knows what the current pattern does, but I can’t see it is much of an improvement.
The rest days after weekend nights are even worse; you finish at 7am Monday morning and go to bed, get up Monday afternoon and spend the rest of the day knackered because you had to get up early so you could sleep Monday night, then you spend Tuesday knackered trying to recover before going to work at 8am on the Wednesday for a day in the lecture room listening to pointless powerpoint shows while people with monotonous voices read what’s on the screen.
No wonder half the people fall asleep during training days, as I did this week. (not for the first time!)
Now they’re talking about changing our shift pattern again. I can’t wait.