They are pale, with red eyes, in rumpled clothes and with tousled hair. From the construction and transportation industries to healthcare and hospitality, more and more businesses have employees working what’s commonly defined as “shift work,” that is, work outside the hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Such a working schedule is not a rule, but is what our society requires. The problem is – employees are not robots. People aren’t designed to stay at the workplace 24/7 and instantly respond to every single task.
In this post, we’re going to talk about how to save your employees’ health and desire to work and achieve great business results at the same time.
Note all the risks of overtiming
Shift work is a type of work that takes place out of set hours, i.e. in the evening, the early morning, at night, during the weekend. Overtiming and extra-long workdays are also considered as shift work.
It goes without saying that having employees with such flexible schedules helps your business be more competitive. People want everything ‘right here and right now’, and of course, experience shows us that it is better not to disappoint the customer.
But if you’re not careful, one day it will backfire both on your business and on your employees.
According to the National Safety Council, a majority of night-shift workers (62%) get inadequate sleep. The problem is they have trouble either falling asleep or staying asleep.
The National Sleep Foundation recognizes a special illness called shift work disorder, that affects up to 10% of U.S. shift workers. The symptoms are sleepiness, insomnia, headaches, depression, irritability and trouble concentrating. Shift work can also lead to chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and anxiety.
Here are several facts your business should consider according to OSHA:
- Shift workers are more likely to get injured and get in an accident. Statistics say that the chance is 18% greater during evening shifts and 30% greater during night shifts as opposed to day shifts.
- Working 12 hours per day is associated with a 37% increase risk of injury.
- Lost productivity due to employees’ fatigue costs employers more than $136 billion a year in productive work time.
Encourage your shift workers and manage their working conditions
With all that said, sometimes shift work is just unavoidable. So how is it possible to make it safer for both your employees and your business?
- First of all, make shift work voluntary and flexible. Remember that people are not likely to acclimate to different schedules. Ask your employees what extra hours are more acceptable for them. And never force those who refuse shift work.
- Pay premiums. Forget about good productivity and relations within the company without sufficient encouragement.
- Try to give shift workers weekends off considering the hours they overworked.
- Watch for signs of fatigue in shift workers. Warning signs may include:
- Irritability or mood changes
- Making more mistakes
- Lapses in judgment
- Dozing off
These points are extremely helpful for your employees’ health and mood.
But in case you wish to make shift work not only comfortable for employees but also beneficial for your company, then you’ll find it especially useful to implement several tools in your business lifestyle.
Shift work ≠ exhausting work. Shift work = flexible work
This formula properly illustrates the attitude you should develop towards your employees. Choose the right tools to alleviate their working schedule and achieve great progress in your business.
- Go digital and manage all your workflow in one place. Use digital document management platforms to reduce the necessity of manual data entry, inconvenient meetings in person, sending mail parcels, creating and filling out repetitive forms etc. Try these features on the PDFfiller platform to see the benefits of this digital solution for your business.
- Embrace mobility. Choose platforms that provide you with a mobile application. This gives your employees, as well as customers, a great advantage when managing necessary tasks from their Android or iOS devices. With a mobile platform, your employees don’t have to stick to their workplaces during shift work. Instead, they get the opportunity to receive, send, create, complete and sign documents while on the go.
- Automate data entry processes. Even when using digital tools your business team may face inconvenient processes such as repetitive form filling, wasting hours and days on collecting and entering clients’ data, organizing and managing payments and so on. The good news is that all these processes can be completely automated. Choose the digital platform that allows you to automate document management processes and free your employees from superfluous actions.
Just imagine – with all the points mentioned above your shift workers will cope with the set tasks twice as fast. These are the main components of the successful business formula “Shift work = flexible work”.