Staff Scheduling : Preferred Assignment

Problem: Covering staff needs while meeting employee preferences for job or shift assignments.

Staff scheduling is usually a very costly and laborious job. In institutions where there are several daily shifts and the staff can rotate between shifts during the same period, the task is even more complicated. The schedule must match the organisation's requirements with the preferences of individual employees. Larger numbers of employees and longer time periods make the task more difficult.

This problem involves scheduling several staff members in an organisation that operates in multiple time shifts each day, seven days a week.

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Your business works in three shifts - day, evening, and night. For each shift, you must meet certain minimum staffing levels. Each staff member must be assigned a specific number of shifts and has individual preferences for working the various shifts. Moreover, because of the nature of the work, each employee must have an adequate rest period between shifts in order to perform the job effectively.

This model demonstrates how you can meet your staffing requirements while satisfying your employees' scheduling preferences to the greatest possible degree.

In addition to considering your staff's preferences, you must abide by two rules in scheduling the shifts:

•    Staff members cannot work more than one shift in a single day

•    After working a shift, a staff member can't work the next two shifts

The objective is to maximise overall staff preference by assigning employees to the shifts they deem most desirable.

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