American culture has accustomed us to working a third of a day for 5 out of 7 days. Certain times are preferred over others. Due to the fixed cost of cryogenic operations, running all day, every day is preferred for a given Run (ie the time between long maintenance periods). Staff load analysis recommends a crew of 2 Operators with a Crew Chief for oversight. How should the coverage be arranged? How should the schedule be disseminated?
At Jefferson Lab, we run three shifts a day: Owl (midnight - 8am), Day (8am - 4pm), Swing (4pm - midnight). For a given Run a Crew works the same shift. Starting on Saturday for a given fortnight (ie two week period) a Crew works 7 days on shift, takes 2 days off (Saturday & Sunday), and then spends three of the next five days training, working on projects, or filling in for other shift personnel. A second Crew works the same schedule offset 7 days. The Crew Chiefs' schedules are offset -25 hours from their Operators.
Scheduling can be chaotic. To manage the chaos, powerful, easy-to-use software is very helpful. We have chosen the commercially available, web-interfaced software, WhenToWork.