All previous modeling research involving optimization of performance associated with work-rest cycles has focused upon individual employees working independently. We extend this earlier research by considering the choices of placement for and duration of a single rest period that must be taken simultaneously by all employees in a work group. Assuming linear work-rate decay and recovery functions for individual employees within the group, we show that an appropriate model can be formulated as a mixed-binary, cubic programming problem. We develop an efficient optimal solution procedure with a computational time that appears to be a linear function of the number of employees considered. We report on a preliminary simulation experiment that evaluates the productivity loss that occurs when the rest break policy is determined based on the work characteristics of a randomly selected subset of employees in the work group, and provides an initial exploration of the nature of optimal policy variables. Finally, we offer suggestions for future research.
Bechtold, S. E., & Thompson, G. M. (1992). Optimal scheduling of a flexible-duration rest period for a work group [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, SHA School site: https://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/articles/1160