Round the Clock Teams Require Special Communication

If your company runs around the clock on a twenty four by seven, three sixty five schedule, it could be at risk for communication issues among the teams who cover different shifts. Twenty-four hour operations add an additional dimension of complication to working in teams.

Before you run into problems and start hearing things like “Well, we couldn't because third shift didn't…” or “Yea, those day shift guys think they're better than…” take some proactive steps to ensure good communication between your shifts.

The key to your success is having each shift communicate critical issues to the next shift so they can be successful. Too many times companies end up with shift teams working against – rather than with – each other. It's critical that you consistently communicate how each shift team contributes to the success of the whole. That will help you keep their communication lines open.

Here are four simple tactics you can implement to overcome that challenge.

  1. Overlap shifts by thirty minutes. Use that time to have a shift transition meeting to identify key issues and successes that were encountered by the outgoing shift.
  2. Place easels around the team work space. Designate what items will be updated on the easel by each shift.
  3. Distribute a shift transition email. This email should be in a standard format that's been communicated to all shift workers so they can quickly read it and get on with their work.
  4. Create a ‘communicator' role on each shift. This role would be responsible for meeting with the previous and following shifts at shift transition time to communicate key issues.

These are four pretty low tech solutions. With today's technology, there's no reason to have communication disconnects between shifts. What other suggestions do you have?

About Denise O'Berry

Denise O'Berry is President of The Small Business Edge Corp, a small business consulting firm. A small business owner since 1996, Denise understands the challenges facing small business. She's lived them herself and helped hundreds of clients work through the frustrations, fears, and joys of owning a small business. Denise is the author of Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success, a practical guide about keeping the cash in your business - where it belongs. Find more resources and tips at deniseoberry.com and askteamdoc.com