“24/7” is a standard business buzzword, but how are around-the-clock operations actually handled? A recent survey by the newsletter Managing 24/7 reveals:

  • Slightly less than half (43 percent) of the 552 companies responding use 12-hour shift schedules for most of their employees.

  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents use rotating schedules (employees switch between various shifts), compared to 66 percent last year. Among companies using 12-hour shifts, 86 percent use rotating schedules.

  • One-third of the companies permit workers to nap on their breaks if it’s done discreetly, while 15 percent openly permit and encourage breaktime napping. Thirty-one percent of respondents forbid naps at work and discipline workers who are discovered napping.

  • Twenty percent of companies responding report that employees average more than 300 hours of unscheduled overtime per year, with seven percent indicating the average overtime exceeds 500 hours per year.

"Overall the shiftwork practices are getting more favorable," says Ed Coburn, publisher of Managing 24x7. "The typical shiftworker in North America works overtime on a regular basis but less than 200 hours per year, earns 50 cents extra an hour, and is more likely to be able to nap during breaks.”

Twenty-three million people in the United States work the majority of their time outside the traditional Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 hours.

The complete text of the survey report is downloadable for free at www.circadian.com.