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Gulf Times
Doha, Oct 11: EVEN as employers and employees debate the merits of split-shifts, more companies are switching over  to straight-shift schedules.

Earlier a straight-shift was prevalent only in government offices and state-owned companies. The multi-national companies who brought along the global work practices seemed to have triggered the change.

Slowly but surely, more private companies also adopted straight-shifts, with no or a short break for lunch.
While the jury is still out on the merits of the practices, many employees find that shift job disrupts their family and personal life and leads to health problems including chronic fatigue and gastrointestinal disorders.

On the other hand, some prefer shift work because it usually allows for more free time.

Gulf Times received mixed opinions from the people it spoke to. “The split-shift makes no sense whichever way you look at it,” remarked P K Viswanath, business development manager at Petrotec.

“It is more so now given the traffic situation in Qatar. Split shift takes away valuable time away from the family. Straight-shift makes perfect sense at least for businesses which deal with corporates. With most government entities working only until afternoon, straight shift enables one to do adequate justice to work,” Vish added.

However, Raichal Thomas, a mother of two, who has been moved to a split-shift, said the long mid-day break had its advantages.

Previously, she could reach home by 12.45pm, finish off the cooking, receive the children from school and feed them, before getting back to work. Now, the children have to fend for themselves during lunch time.

Roshan Varma, a computer professional working for a bank, said he any day preferred a straight shift. “Split-shifts require us to sketch a schedule out for everything, be it official or personal. It can be a bit confusing to keep a track always and causes burnout and fatigue. Moreover, it gives us less time to spend with family and friends”.

T Nagarathinam, operations manager at Qatar Technical Inspections Company, sees only advantages in a single shift work. “It will help us in organising the remaining portion of the day in a better way. Also, to go back to work, we have to deal with the extreme weather conditions, road congestion. The split-shift also affects the quality time that we get to spend with the family”.

For Alaa Elebiary, corporate HR manager at Mannai Corporation, it is an endless debate. “Actually, it is the nature of business that dictates which system is more applicable.” According to him, a split-shift would be ideal for some businesses such as retail and travel as well as sales.
On the other hand, support functions or back office jobs could be done efficiently through straight-shifts”.

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