Shift rostering using decomposition: assign weekend shifts first

Egbert van der Veen, Erwin W. Hans, Gerhard Post, Bart Veltman

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This paper introduces a shift rostering problem that surprisingly has not been studied in literature: the weekend shift rostering problem. It is motivated by our experience that employees’ shift preferences predominantly focus on the weekends, since many social activities happen during weekends. The Weekend Rostering Problem (WRP) addresses the rostering of weekend shifts, for which we design a problem specific heuristic. We consider the WRP as the first phase of the shift rostering problem. To complete the shift roster, the second phase assigns the weekday shifts using an existing algorithm. We discuss effects of this two-phase approach both on the weekend shift roster and on the roster as a whole. We demonstrate that our first-phase heuristic is effective both on generated instances and real-life instances. For situations where the weekend shift roster is one of the key determinants of the quality of the complete roster, our two-phase approach shows to be effective when incorporated in a commercially implemented algorithm.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente, Department of Applied Mathematics
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

Publication series

NameMemorandum / Department of Applied Mathematics
PublisherUniversity of Twente, Department of Applied Mathematics
ISSN (Print)1874-4850


  • Weekend shift rostering
  • Shift rostering
  • Heuristics
  • Decomposition
  • Decision support software


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