Software Platform Playfully Designs Duty Rosters for Nursing Professions

Project GameOfRoster

2.9 million people were in need of care in 2015; by 2050 this figure is expected to rise to more than 4 million (source: Federal Statistical Office of Germany). However, the increasing demand for nursing staff is facing difficult working conditions. High physical and psychological stress as well as impairments of social life due to shift work characterise everyday working life.

At the same time, studies have shown that the involvement of employees in the design of their duty rosters and greater planning certainty with regard to their leisure activities result in a significantly better assessment of the work situation.


Improvement of the Work Situation through Team-Oriented Self-Organisation

The main goal of the project GamOR (GameOfRoster) is to improve the disadvantageous conditions of shift work. In the nursing professions, employees often suffer from restrictions in their social life. The duty planning process is therefore designed collaboratively through digital participation and enables team-oriented self-organization.

To achieve this goal, we pursue these goals:

  • development of the collaborative rostering process
  • the integration into the professional everyday life
  • the development and testing of a digital assistance platform
  • Ensuring sustainable motivation through experience-oriented design
Software gestaltet spielerisch Dienstpläne für Pflegeberufe
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Dr. Sebastian Velten und Rasmus Schroeder gehören im Fraunhofer ITWM zum Projektteam.

Digitalization of Planning Assistance

The digital assistants of the software platform use the predefined key data such as staffing specifications and qualifications, legal regulations as well as ergonomic and collective bargaining regulations and then perform the following tasks:

  • the recording, planning and tracking of desired dates
  • coordination of working hours with colleagues and superiors
  • the consolidation of subplans and the control of overall plans

In the area of tension between high required temporal flexibility on the one hand and the need for plannable private life on the other hand, we develop a solution based on concrete practices that combines both requirements.

Implementation Through a Digital Services Platform

The concepts for collaborative duty scheduling and the algorithms for planning support are implemented prototypically by a service platform. Employees see the planning month with all wishes entered. New wishes can be added, existing wishes can be withdrawn. Conflicts that involve the employee are presented clearly and possible solutions are shown. The employees operate the platform via tablets, in perspective also from their own smartphone.

The mathematical basis for this are combinatorial models and algorithms for generating and merging roster alternatives. In addition, we implement game theory approaches to support and organize coordination processes. In addition, information such as staffing requirements, qualifications, legal regulations, ergonomic or collective bargaining regulations are automatically taken into account.

In the digital wish book, employees can see existing wishes of their colleagues in a calendar overview, as well as the resulting conflicts
© GamOR
In the digital wish book, employees can see existing wishes of their colleagues in a calendar overview, as well as the resulting conflicts. Proposed solutions are also offered for these.
Consortium Meeting GamOR
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Consortium Meeting in March 2018

Work Scientific Monitoring and Evaluation of the Results

We want to ensure a holistic view of people, technology and organisation and guarantee a participatory process design in the development and exemplary introduction of the service platform. The transfer of the project results into practice is achieved both by Protestantische Altenhilfe Westpfalz as the central application partner and by integrating several companies from the social economy. To evaluate our results, we measure the satisfaction of the nursing staff at the start of the project and during and after the introduction of the collaborative service platform. With our results and experience we continue to examine the transfer possibilities of collaborative duty planning to other companies in the social economy.

Project Partners

Six partners from research and industry work closely together in the GamOR project. The main areas of work are divided into the areas of organisation, technology and people.

  • Institut für Technologie und Arbeit
  • University in Siegen
  • SIEDA GmbH
  • Protestantische Altenhilfe Westpfalz
  • ergosign Ergonomie und Design GmbH

This research and development project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Europan Social Fund (ESF) in the progam »Innovationen für die Produktion, Dienstleistung und Arbeit von morgen« and supervised by Projektträger Karlsruhe (PTKA).