Balancing work, free time, family life, hobbies and one’s own natural sleeping rhythm is likely challenging for everyone. The traditional working hours from eight to four every weekday do not suit everyone, at least not during all stages of life, so it is refreshing that there are companies that also offer other alternatives.

I have been working for Murata for almost a decade. One of the key reasons I have enjoyed working here so long are the different shift models available at Murata. At Murata, operators in basic line work have five shifts. On weekdays, there are eight-hour morning and evening shifts (6:30 am–2:45 pm and 2:30 pm–10:45 pm), which change on alternate weeks. Then we have a continuous nightshift (10:30 pm–06:45 am), where we only work nights during the week. And, additionally, there are 12-hour day and night shifts at the weekend, 10:30 am–10:45 pm and 10:30 pm–10:45 am.

I started working the weekday nightshift in 2011, which suited a young man who didn’t want to get up too early. The nightshift fitted in well with my lifestyle and the bonuses also offered a better income. The working week started on a Sunday evening and the weekend started on a Friday morning. As there was no special need to turn my daily rhythm around, I also slept long into the day at the weekends.

When my life situation changed as my family grew, the nightshift no longer suited the life of a family with a baby, so I applied for an internal transfer to the weekend shift. At first, I worked the weekend nightshift but finally switched over to the dayshift, which meant that I didn’t need to change my sleeping rhythm during the week. So, I worked on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 10:45 pm (nightshift from 10:30 pm to 10:45 am), and the rest of the week was free. A few times a year I also worked a similar 12 hour and 15 minute shift on Fridays. Another great thing about Murata is that the shift schedule for the entire year is available beforehand. This means that I was aware of these three-day weekend shifts, when I also got to work on Fridays, well in advance.

Whether you work the weekend or weekday shift doesn’t really affect your income that much, not counting the nightshift, which has better bonuses. When working the weekend shift, a large proportion of your pay comes from the Sunday bonuses, and this evens out the difference with the normal weekday shift quite nicely. It is more about whether you value free weekends over more free time in general.

I have advanced to a supervisor role in my career, and as my children started in daycare, I recently transferred back to the alternating morning and evening shifts during the week. This flexibility in working hours has kept me a satisfied company employee. Of course, changing shifts is not that easy; the transfers are only carried through when the positions become available and as needed. Maybe I’ve been lucky with my shift transfers, but I have also been enthusiastic about learning new things and even changing assignments once in a while. With an active, positive attitude, things have always worked out well.

Although I’m happy with my current situation, I also have an optimistic view of the future: if I want to move forward in my career, not only between different shifts and areas but also into more challenging positions, opportunities do come available from time to time. I have also considered further training and education, and Murata’s own training paths would provide the opportunity for this. When the children grow up to be more independent and no longer wake me up at 6 am to make them their breakfast, I could consider applying forbachelor’s or master’s degree education in another field of technology, for example. When the children start at school, I could also consider transferring back to nightshifts during the week, when I could sleep whilst the other family members are gone and then wake up around the time they return home. It remains to be seen, but the fact that there are different options available makes me feel good.

Juha Matilainen, Production Supervisor