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The dark side of not automating your work roster

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

As a Roster Officer or Planning Manager, there is a great responsibility to create rosters that consider Air Traffic Controllers' preferences, essential regulations, and the aspect of minimizing operational costs. It's almost impossible to build a balanced roster without wasting time.

The good part, maybe the great part of not automating your roster, is that using spreadsheets to create rosters is free.

But is it really free if we think in terms of time-consuming? Is it worth it in the long run in terms of productivity?

Let's dive into the aspects that are on the other side, the dark side of not automating your roster.

1. The tedious activity of manually creating rosters

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Planning a roster is complex and tedious work, especially when you have to manually enter the data and consider the ANSP's compound regulations. This can often lead to confusion and wasted time. Additionally, it can be hard to maintain fairness in the ANSP if the staff is placed in unsuitable shifts. This can lead to discomfort for Air Traffic Controllers, with requests for changing the shifts, time-off, and leave denied. Changing the roster manually to be optimal for every aspect of the ANSP might be more costly than you thought.

2. High levels of fatigue and errors

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As you can see, hand-building a complex roster is often doomed to fail because of the inevitability of human error. Factors like increased fatigue levels can lead to mistakes, and creating a roster that can effectively calculate these levels and take them into account is challenging. A study showed that a factor like a task load can still interact with fatigue. This aspect may increase the probability of making errors. The lack of rostering automation is a problem for fatigue management. We recommend this article if you are interested in mitigating shift work rostering-induced fatigue.

3. A manual roster might lead to stress

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Besides the costly mistakes that can be made, stress also causes compliance issues. Air Traffic Controllers have an incredibly high-stress job, having to direct the movement of thousands of lives aboard commercial and general aviation aircraft every day. One of the sources of this stress is the shift schedule, specifically the night shift.

Creating a manual roster that keeps track of previous days worked and holidays is more challenging. These days must be considered when they are calculated so Air Traffic Controllers don't end up with burnout. Also, this might cause stress due to poor organization, affecting both roster officers and air traffic controllers.

The above are among the most common aspects of the dark side of not automating your roster, but how can rostering automation help you create effective scheduling?

4. Effective scheduling with SkyRoster

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Through the SkyRoster platform, you can initially set regulations and parameters to be considered in planning without repeating this process every time you create a roster.

Also, it monitors fatigue levels and takes action accordingly. By automatically tracking the hours worked, shift patterns, tasks performed, and breaks taken, you can identify ATCOs at risk of burnout and implement sustainable changes to prevent it. A platform like SkyRoster calculates and considers all the parameters of the ANSP because of the engine with AI constraint-based scheduling algorithms.

By adopting a staff rostering automation software like SkyRoster, companies can reduce staff absenteeism, tardiness, dissatisfaction, and human error.

Would you like to see for yourself how impactful rostering automation can be? Get in touch with us and discover how you could help your ANSP achieve its goals.

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