Improve Shift Handover: Templates, Tips and Best Practices

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Beekeeper's guide to shift handover templates

Teams that communicate task-relevant information between shifts create a safer, more effective workplace. Shift handover templates make for a more reliable, consistent, and accurate changeover process.

We’ll review:

  • Why shift handover reports matter
  • What to include in your shift handover form
  • Tips on delivering a successful shift handover

We’ll also give examples of what shift handover forms might look like —and why they are the best solution for frontline shift management.

Let’s get started.

Why Are Shift Handover Forms Important?

If you’re a shift manager, it’s crucial that every employee going into a shift has as much information at their fingertips as possible. Employees should be aware of any changes or updates to operations during the previous shift.

That way, teams can:

  • Minimize miscommunication
  • Solve ongoing issues
  • Reduce safety incidents

The absence of shift handover procedures can have disastrous consequences. After the Texas City Refinery explosion in 2005, BP released a report identifying poor communication and shift handover management as major contributing factors to the accident. Reliable communication for shift handovers, especially for complex, high-risk operations, is critical for safety.

Even for industries where miscommunication doesn’t have life-or-death consequences, poor communication during shift handovers can slow down operations.

Shift handover forms standardize how communication is preserved and prioritized so workers stay informed and up-to-date on relevant information.

A 2021 study on shift handover in hospitals found that structured handover checklists had, “a positive impact on improving the quality of communication between the surgical team, reducing the information omission rate and increasing the satisfaction.”

Regardless of industry, creating a shift handover template is a shift planning best practice that can have a big impact on productivity, satisfaction, and safety.

3 Elements of a Shift Handover Form

Shift handover reports vary based on the type of industry and specific needs of your organization. 

Here are three key elements to keep in mind when creating a handover report:

1. Production Summary

Including a brief explanation of what was done during a particular shift makes it easier for the incoming team to orient themselves and get to work faster.

Pro Tip: Summaries should be brief and to the point. Complete sentences are unnecessary. Photo or video recordings are efficient ways to convey information.

2. Ongoing Task Status

Chances are, there will be ongoing projects or unsolved issues at the end of a shift. Taking note of what has already been completed and what still needs to be done facilitates a smoother transition between shift teams.

3. Key Roles and Responsibilities

Keeping track of the chain of command can help incoming teams know who to contact for more information. Listing the manager or supervisor of the shift is essential, as well as any team members assigned special projects or tasks.

Other elements of a shift handover report may include: 

  • Obstacles that are blocking progress
  • Upcoming events or deadlines
  • Urgent actions required by the incoming shift team

Ready to put those elements together? Let’s look at some specific examples of shift handover reports.

Shift Handover Template Examples

Not all shift handover reports will look the same. Take a look at the examples below and modify them to your organization’s unique needs.

Pro Tip: Don’t make filling out shift handover reports a lengthy and tedious process. Keep it simple and only ask for the most relevant information.

Shift Handover Form Template #1

Duration of Shift: 

  • Start:
  • End:

Shift Period: (Night/Day Shift)

Location: 

Shift Key Personnel:

  • Role
  • Name

Production Summary:

  • Type of work:
  • Amount/Quantity completed:

Ongoing Issues:

  • Current status of issue: 
  • Action items required for completion:

Shift Handover Form Template #2

Duration of Shift: 

  • Start:
  • End:

Production Summary:

Team Member Names/Responsibilities:

  • Name 1 / Responsibility
  • Name 2 / Responsibility

Status of ongoing tasks:

Upcoming deadlines:

Notes regarding priority/urgency of tasks:

Troubleshooting issues:

Why Mobile Communication Platforms are Key to Delivering a Successful Shift Handover

Once you have a shift handover format tailored to your needs, how do you ensure that shift handover information:

  • Gets documented in a secure manner
  • Is visible and accessible to all who are affected
  • Can be easily shared

Collecting shift handover reports in paper form isn’t ideal. Paperwork may get lost and remain hard to access, particularly for frontline managers who may be on the go. 

Adopting a mobile communication platform like Beekeeper for internal communication, including shift handover, is a better alternative. Here’s why:

Mobile Communication Is More Efficient for Shift Handovers 

Let’s imagine that a manager is done with their shift and has to complete a shift handover report. They can a) fill out a piece of paper and physically file it away or give it to the incoming shift manager; or b) take out their phone, fill out the report, and immediately share it with other shift managers.

The best option is a no-brainer. 

For frontline workers and shift managers, sharing reports via mobile:

  • Saves time
  • Minimizes miscommunication
  • Facilitates collaboration
  • Reduces information silos

Confirmation Campaigns

With Beekeeper’s Confirmation Campaigns, managers who receive a shift handover report can confirm that they’ve received and read it. This provides an additional level of accountability, which may be particularly important for shifts with higher safety risks.

More Opportunities to Collaborate on and Solve Ongoing Issues

Incoming shift managers need to be aware of any issues that have not been resolved by the previous shift. But sharing shift reports with other team members: 

  • Encourages faster problem solving
  • Drives innovation
  • Creates greater team alignment and transparency 

Ready to see if Beekeeper works for your team’s internal communication needs? Schedule a chat with a product expert today and download a free demo.

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