Proposing a New Guard Duty System

Problems with the Point System

The Proposed Guard Duty System

Dealing with Outliers

How does the Bidding System Compare to the Point System?


  • Efficient Distribution of Duty. With the new bidding system, one can essentially choose which duty day you do not want to be put for. For example, if you already made plans for this week’s Saturday with your girlfriend because it happens to be Valentine’s Day, you could put all your points for that week on that day, or even stack it up with more points from the previous few weeks’ leftovers, to keep that precious day free. Granted, you will have to do every other duty in the week, but some would feel that it is worth it. This ties back to the idea of perceived value. Everybody perceives the value of different guard duty dates differently, and this system maximises total welfare by distributing the duties efficiently based on perceived value, while not discriminating against any individual or group.
  • Total Transparency. Total transparency is a crucial feature of the bidding system because it simply follows an algorithm which no human has influence on. Assuming that nobody hacks and manipulates the system, which can be prevented with enough security measures, everybody in the system can have the fullest assurance that they got the duty because they bid the least for that duty. In other words, out of the entire company, they were the ones which didn’t mind doing the duty the most, which is largely predictable and expected, which leads on to the next benefit.
  • Predictability. A very large problem we face with guard duty now is that we have no clue which duties we will be rostered for. For example, in a particular week, person A could be rostered for 3 or even 4 days without knowing why, being extremely confused and angry at both the system and the planners, who then try to explain the situation before being frustrated themselves at these annoying people who argue without knowing the whole situation. With the absence of the unpredictable human factor, the bidding system provides individuals with predictability and comfort knowing that they do not have to do duties 4 times a week if they spend their credits well.
  • Flexibility. The bidding system is extremely flexible, because it can be adapted to suit many of the company’s needs and wants. For instance, if there are particular roles in the company which should do less duties, then the number of credits given to those individuals can be adjusted based on the company’s consensus.


  • New Infrastructure. Of course, with a new system, you need some form of infrastructure to support it. In this case, the guard duty planners will have to find or code a program which acts as it should without much hiccups. I believe that it is not terribly difficult, nor is it easy, but as guard duty planners, it is their duty to make it work, for the better of the company. Moreover, it is a one-off job, which subsequently makes their job as planners easier, as they do not have to roster people for duty.
  • Outliers, Again. To be honest, this system is not particularly good at dealing with those who are unfit for duty. Many people in the company view them as liabilities and want them to compensate for not participating in guard duties while the rest are. Also, some might be tempted into reporting sick just so they can take a break from guard duty, which is a form of toxic behavior, but at the same time a perfectly legitimate strategy. I think that the point system is being too harsh on the injured, but I concede that there still must be some form of compensation. That being said, this system does not have that form of compensation not because it is not possible, but because I have yet to think of an effective means of doing so. The bidding system is very flexible, and a solution can be found if everyone puts on their thinking caps.
  • SAF Regulations. SAF regulations might be a problem, as the bidding system completely ignores the presence of external rules, such as the one which states that NSFs cannot do more than 2 weekend duties in a month. However, the current point system already regularly infringes that rule, so I do not see how the bidding system is any worse. If, however, the rule becomes enforced, certain changes can again be made to the system to accommodate such rules.
  • Contingencies. There were and will be many instances where guard duty dates in a given week are altered. This could mean that more dates are added into the week, or dates could be removed from the week in the middle of the week, after the bidding is over. This is extremely problematic for the bidding system, as it will be very difficult to cater to these contingencies with the bidding system. Hence, for such infrequent occurrences, intervention has to come from the guard duty planners, a necessary evil in these cases.

Making The Switch

Appendix: Possible Improvements

Calculation Based on Average Credit Use

Delegation and Reward



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Yeo Shen Yong

Yeo Shen Yong

Critically analysing life a lot more than I should.