4 Day Week

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Reganstorm

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Hi,

I am contemplating a driving career with South West Trains at the moment.

They are going to a 4 day week in Dec next year, but obviously, at the moment, there is no information regarding what that shift pattern would look like.

Would it be possible for anyone who currently works a 4 day week to give me some idea of how the shifts are arranged please? Whether the days off are mostly together or separated and how many weekends/part weekends you have off?

Many thanks in advance
 
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reapz

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From what I gather the days off will be together, not sure about the rest though.
mtwtfss
dddd---
---dddd
dd--ddd
dddd--

will be something like this, but some depots may keeps weeks of restdays it will be voted on per depot .

i have done both systems and prefer the 4day week to weeks of restdays
 

Reganstorm

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How do you mean by 'weeks of rest days'?

Do you mean having a whole 7 days off but then working more days for the other 3 weeks for example?
 

Greenback

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How do you mean by 'weeks of rest days'?

Do you mean having a whole 7 days off but then working more days for the other 3 weeks for example?
Yes; rosters that work that way will typically have 4 or 5 days (or even longer) followed by 1 or 2 rest days so that more RD's can be concentrated together.

The ATW Valleys rosters, for example, used to basically have a week or almost a week off on average three times during a thirteen week cycle. I haven't seen the rosters for a few years now so i don't know if this has changed in any way.
 

Reganstorm

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Ah, ok, makes sense now, thanks :)

I'm not sure what I'd prefer out of those 2. Having almost a week off every 3-4 weeks does sound nice, but then finding time to see my partner who would still be working office hours would be nice too!

Cheers for all the answers!
 

driver9000

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I work a 4 day week and the links at my TOC are divisible by 3. My rest day pattern goes:

Week 1 - Monday,Tuesday
Week 2 - Wednesday, Thursday
Week 3 - Friday, Saturday.

Sundays are outside the working week for me and this pattern gives a long weekend every 3 weeks regardless of the link size. It suits me down to the ground :D
 

Reganstorm

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You're right, that sounds a cracking pattern of shifts.
Sunday is part of the working week at SWT, which I don't mind too much to be honest.
I can't say I've ever worked a 4 day week ever! Looking forward to it! :D
 

Greenback

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You're right, that sounds a cracking pattern of shifts.
Sunday is part of the working week at SWT, which I don't mind too much to be honest.
I can't say I've ever worked a 4 day week ever! Looking forward to it! :D
I worked a four night week outside of the railway. I thought the longer shifts (2000-0615) were well worth it for an additional night off! Especially since my real working hours were more like 2030-0515!
 

Bellwater

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I work a 4 day week and the links at my TOC are divisible by 3. My rest day pattern goes:

Week 1 - Monday,Tuesday
Week 2 - Wednesday, Thursday
Week 3 - Friday, Saturday.

Sundays are outside the working week for me and this pattern gives a long weekend every 3 weeks regardless of the link size. It suits me down to the ground :D
That's what we do also.. Plenty of time off if you want it or to work overtime if available.

 

pitdiver

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Am I right in saying your work pattern is as follows;-
SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT
WK1 R R R W W W W
WK 2 R W W R R W W
WK 3 R W W W W R R
 

pendolino

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I work a 4 day week and the links at my TOC are divisible by 3. My rest day pattern goes:

Week 1 - Monday,Tuesday
Week 2 - Wednesday, Thursday
Week 3 - Friday, Saturday.

Sundays are outside the working week for me and this pattern gives a long weekend every 3 weeks regardless of the link size. It suits me down to the ground :D
Me too. The only downside is the late Saturday/off Sunday/early Monday which is always a bit of a bodyclock killer. Do you have that too?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Am I right in saying your work pattern is as follows;-
SUN MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT
WK1 R R R W W W W
WK 2 R W W R R W W
WK 3 R W W W W R R
Mine's like that, except the week 2 Sunday is worked (unless you can get someone to cover it for you) so there's a stretch of 7 days on.
 

SkinnyDave

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Me too. The only downside is the late Saturday/off Sunday/early Monday which is always a bit of a bodyclock killer. Do you have that too?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Mine's like that, except the week 2 Sunday is worked (unless you can get someone to cover it for you) so there's a stretch of 7 days on.
Sorry if this is a stupid question.. How does the shift pattern if
The company bank a RD to give you a clear week off every so often?
 

Beveridges

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Me too. The only downside is the late Saturday/off Sunday/early Monday which is always a bit of a bodyclock killer. Do you have that too?
I used to get no sleep whatsoever before the early turn when that transition took place from nights to early's. Getting 2 periods of sleep in about 23 hours (or even less!) is impossible for some people. Thats when I used to do varied shifts. Now I do permenant nights since Ive moved to Blackpool. Crap hours but otherwise a good job
 

SkinnyDave

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Sorry if this is a stupid question.. How does the shift pattern if
The company bank a RD to give you a clear week off every so often?[/QUOTE

Ill try again now I have more time to type.

How do the shift patterns look for TOCs that bank the second Rest Day and give every 5th week off?
Do Virgin still do this? Thanks
 

pendolino

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Yes. Takes a bit of getting used to and pretty much writes Sunday off.
I find the best way to deal with it is to not treat Sunday as a write off, but to get up early (even though having a long lie-in is what I feel like doing) then do something preferably physical (go for a long walk or similar) then I feel that I haven't wasted the day, and it helps me feel tired enough to get to sleep at a reasonable hour in the evening.

Everyone deals with it in their own way though, I find this works for me.
 

O L Leigh

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Shift work is a pain and something you NEVER get used to. There are tricks and ways of working it out to make things better, but all solutions are going to be personal. Find out what works for you and stick with it.

4 day weeks are good, but it all depends on what your local booking and rostering arrangements are like. Some companies (like mine) allow split rest days. Just this week I've worked Mon, Tue and Wed, had Thur off, worked Fri and will have Sat off. Not a great pattern, I'm sure you'll agree. The hours are also averaged on a cycle (8 weeks in my case), so some weeks you'll work more hours than others. However, I'd rather have this system than the system that the GE uses, where they work a 5 day week and bank their rest days to give a week off every 5th week. But again, that's just my own personal preference.

This is the problem. People tend to prefer whatever they are used to and think it is the best system, so discussion tends to be difficult. If SWT are still deciding what shape their 4 day week rostering is going to take it will be impossible to say what it will involve and how it will work. If you can get a contact within SWT's staff then so much the better, but even then there will be a lot of hearsay and rumour to contend with. Either way, the proposed "new" conditions are unlikely to be a million miles away from their existing conditions.

A bit rambling, I'm afraid. Sorry. Hopefully at least some of this is useful.

O L Leigh
 

Reganstorm

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Shift work is a pain and something you NEVER get used to. There are tricks and ways of working it out to make things better, but all solutions are going to be personal. Find out what works for you and stick with it.

4 day weeks are good, but it all depends on what your local booking and rostering arrangements are like. Some companies (like mine) allow split rest days. Just this week I've worked Mon, Tue and Wed, had Thur off, worked Fri and will have Sat off. Not a great pattern, I'm sure you'll agree. The hours are also averaged on a cycle (8 weeks in my case), so some weeks you'll work more hours than others. However, I'd rather have this system than the system that the GE uses, where they work a 5 day week and bank their rest days to give a week off every 5th week. But again, that's just my own personal preference.

This is the problem. People tend to prefer whatever they are used to and think it is the best system, so discussion tends to be difficult. If SWT are still deciding what shape their 4 day week rostering is going to take it will be impossible to say what it will involve and how it will work. If you can get a contact within SWT's staff then so much the better, but even then there will be a lot of hearsay and rumour to contend with. Either way, the proposed "new" conditions are unlikely to be a million miles away from their existing conditions.

A bit rambling, I'm afraid. Sorry. Hopefully at least some of this is useful.

O L Leigh

Very useful, and much appreciated, thank you:)

Much as I want this career, and I do really want it! I just want to make sure that I am still going to have a 'life' as well. I don't want to end up losing my quality of life because I just can't adjust to the shifts.
I'm not one for going out, prefer to stay at home and don't drink. These things will all help I'm sure. My worry though is just whether the shift work still leaves you enough time with a partner that works 'normal' hours to continue a normal, well functioning relationship.

Does anyone have any comments on this area in particular?

Cheers :)
 

Greenback

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Very useful, and much appreciated, thank you:)

Much as I want this career, and I do really want it! I just want to make sure that I am still going to have a 'life' as well. I don't want to end up losing my quality of life because I just can't adjust to the shifts.
I'm not one for going out, prefer to stay at home and don't drink. These things will all help I'm sure. My worry though is just whether the shift work still leaves you enough time with a partner that works 'normal' hours to continue a normal, well functioning relationship.

Does anyone have any comments on this area in particular?

Cheers :)
I think that very much depend son the people involved. I know some couples who seem to have very separate lives, either because one of them works away from home a lot, or because they usually work opposite shifts. They seem to have very good relationships.

On the other hand, I also know couples who have split up and blamed shift work or patterns. I suppose it's a bit like running a business together - with some it can be a great success but working alongside your partner can be a recipe for disaster for others.

As for whether you can adjust to the shifts, that might only be something you find out when you try it. I worked shifts over something like fourteen years altogether for different organisations. I was able to swap shifts around which helped, but sometimes I had to endure shift patterns and turn arounds that were not ideal.
 

driver9000

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Since leaving school I have never worked 9-5 and I have worked shifts since I was 18. I have been with my wife since I was 17, my shift work and her 9-5 work has never got in the way of our relationship or with the relationships I have with my friends. Both of us are used to it. As Greenback says, it's down to who you are and some can adjust, some can't. It can be a bind when your friends are going out or there is something cool happening and you've got some lump of metal to be in charge of at 3am or your finishing at 1:30am so you have to sit it out. On the other hand I think that by working shifts and having a 4 day recurring rest day pattern that won't change enables me to plan things in advance, plus I think I see more of my young children than my 9-5 friends do of theirs. If I'm on lates I see them in the morning and when I'm on earlies I have the afternoon to spend with them. Having days off mid week which helps with any appointments that I may need to make. I feel that I have a "life" despite working shifts and having to place my professional life towards the front when planning trips away or visits to the pub. For me, shift work suits me and I wouldn't trade it for a 9-5 job at all even if certain elements of it aren't ideal
 

Reganstorm

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Cheers Greenback and Driver. That's made me feel a bit better! :)
I know I'm probably coming across as really lame :oops:, I just want to make the right decision.

Thanks again for the advice.
 

Beveridges

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For me the sleep deprivation is what does it, mainly on early and night shifts, with late shifts being the least painful of the 3 types. I have never been able to adjust - even if working night or early type shifts permanent. A Constant changing shift pattern makes it even harder, maybe impossible. But it's still probably worth putting up with even if you can't adjust as I find the railway operational jobs is definitely better than working in a office or similar alternative, so it's worth putting up with
 
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TDK

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Very useful, and much appreciated, thank you:)

Much as I want this career, and I do really want it! I just want to make sure that I am still going to have a 'life' as well. I don't want to end up losing my quality of life because I just can't adjust to the shifts.
I'm not one for going out, prefer to stay at home and don't drink. These things will all help I'm sure. My worry though is just whether the shift work still leaves you enough time with a partner that works 'normal' hours to continue a normal, well functioning relationship.

Does anyone have any comments on this area in particular?

Cheers :)
Put it this way you need a very understanding partner and yes, it does disrupt your life especially if you are already in a relationship, I met my current wife when I was on shifts so she doesn't know it any other way but I am sure it would have been tense if I was on 9 - 5 and went to shifts especially when there are family functions, I am lucky to attend functions one in 3 times and have to work on many occasions. Just bear this in mind when taking on the job buddy
 

pitdiver

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I worked shifts for 16 years on LUL. It wasn't so much the shifts themselves that got to me but the change over between the shifts. I also used to feel a bit depressed when going to work when everybody else was at home eg. a Sunday evenings. In relation to doing things with family and friends the problem I found was having to work Bank Holidays/Weekends when everybody else was off. It didn't bother me working these days but how my family and friends were affected.
 

Greenback

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I worked shifts for 16 years on LUL. It wasn't so much the shifts themselves that got to me but the change over between the shifts. I also used to feel a bit depressed when going to work when everybody else was at home eg. a Sunday evenings. In relation to doing things with family and friends the problem I found was having to work Bank Holidays/Weekends when everybody else was off. It didn't bother me working these days but how my family and friends were affected.
What used to keep me going on a Sunday late turn or a bank holiday was the thought that not everyone else was off, and that the majority of those whow ere off would be getting depressed at the thought of work the next day!

There are downsides to shifts, but there are some upsides as well, like the long weekends I used to have when my friends were either working or going back in to work when I was still off!
 

Reganstorm

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It's such a hard decision :-?

From what you are all saying a lot of it seems to be mind over matter.

As far as the physical demands of shift work it seems that everyone falls into their own pattern that works for them.

I don't think I'll ever know 100% whether it will work for me. I know it's the career I want and I think that the shifts are just the necessary evil that goes with it.

Just got to get the job now eh! ;)
 

Greenback

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It's such a hard decision :-?

From what you are all saying a lot of it seems to be mind over matter.

As far as the physical demands of shift work it seems that everyone falls into their own pattern that works for them.

I don't think I'll ever know 100% whether it will work for me. I know it's the career I want and I think that the shifts are just the necessary evil that goes with it.

Just got to get the job now eh! ;)
I think it would be a shame if you wrote off any job because of shift work, without at least trying the shifts out for yourself. Some people just can't get used to it and never will, some people seem to have no problems whatsoever. You won't know if you can do it until you try!
 
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