Comparison of Two Watch Schedules for Personnel at the White House Military Office President's Emergency Operations Center
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH
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The aim of this study was to assess effectiveness of an alternative, 24-hr-on72-hr-off watchstanding schedule on sleep and morale of personnel assigned to the Presidents Emergency Operations Center PEOC. Background As part of the White House Military Office, PEOC personnel historically worked a 12-hr Panama watch schedule. Personnel reported experiencing chronic insufficient and disrupted sleep patterns and sought advice for improving their watchstanding schedule. Method Participants N 14 active-duty military members, ages 29 to 42 years completed the Profile of Mood State POMS three times before, during, and after switching to the alternative schedule with 5-hr sleep periods built into their workday. Participants completed a poststudy questionnaire to assess individual schedule preferences. Sleep was measured actigraphically, supplemented by activity logs. Results As indicated by POMS scores, mood improved significantly on the new schedule. Although average total sleep amount did not change substantively, the timing of sleep was more consistent on the new schedule, resulting in better sleep hygiene. PEOC personnel overwhelmingly preferred the new schedule, reporting not only that they felt more rested but that the new schedule was more conducive to the demands of family life. Conclusions Demands of family life and time spent commuting were found to be critical factors for acceptance of the alternative schedule. This new schedule will be most effective if personnel adhere to the scheduled rest periods assigned during their 24-hr duty. Application A successful schedule should avoid conflicts between social life and operational demands. Results may lead to changes in the work schedules of other departments with similar 247 responsibilities.
- Medicine and Medical Research
- Stress Physiology
- Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems