Case

Koskenkorva switches to 12-hour shifts

Altia’s Koskenkorva plant implemented a 12-hour shift work model in May 2015. The new system has been met with 100 percent positive feedback.

’We have a lot of young fathers working at the plant, and the longer stretches of time off make a big difference in arranging family life’, says plant manager Antti Snellman.

Our employees wanted to have more time for their hobbies and achieve a better balance between work and family life
Antti Snellman, Koskenkorva Plant Manager

The first request to revamp the shift work model came from Koskenkorva employees back in 2011. The previous model was the traditional three-shift model consisting of eight-hour shifts.

"Our employees wanted to have more time for their hobbies and achieve a better balance between work and family life", explains plant manager Antti Snellman.

The initiative led to a comprehensive change process that took four years. It began with establishing a working group that visited other companies; for example, in the process industry, or those working in food and energy, to learn more about alternative approaches to shift work.

Not a single employee wanted to go back to the old model
Antti Snellman, Koskenkorva Plant Manager

The employees in the working group became interested in the 12-hour model. It involves employees working two morning shifts from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by one day off. The employees then work two night shifts from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., followed by six days off.

’After receiving the green light from occupational health services, the employers’ federation and the employee union, we started a one-year pilot in May 2014. All of the feedback we received during and after the one-year pilot was positive. Not a single employee wanted to go back to the old model. Also worth noting is that sickness-related absences declined by 50 percent after the change’, Snellman adds.

This is the best shift model I can imagine
Sami Kokko, Process Controller

Altia has about 50 employees at the Koskenkorva plant, with approximately half of them working as operators under the shift work model. The majority of them work in the control room, monitoring plant processes on computer terminals.

"There is plenty to do throughout the day, but it is not physically strenuous work", says process controller Antti Latva-Hirvelä.

"I get to spend more time at home with the kids. We don’t need to worry about day-care arrangements, and we know my work schedule until the end of the year. If I want some variation, I can trade shifts with my colleagues", he adds.

Fellow process controller Sami Kokko echoes his colleague’s views.

"I wouldn’t change this new model for anything. This is the best shift model I can imagine. I have much more free time than I did under the old model, and the 12-hour workdays don’t feel different than the old 8-hour workdays did", Kokko says.