According to research carried out by the TUC, the number of people regularly working through the night has rocketed to over 3 million since the start of the recession. Interestingly, more and more females than ever before are working the nightshift.
Regardless of the industry that you operate in, it’s quite likely that there may come a time when you need your team to work a nightshift, even if it’s just temporarily. Maybe your IT employees will have to install important updates outside of normal working hours or employees on your shop floor will be asked to change their shift patterns to stack the shelves in the run up to the festive period.
The potential health and lifestyle implications are well documented and you have a responsibility to ensure that you’re giving your workforce the support they need. Let’s take a look at some valuable tips that could make all the difference to your employees when the times comes that they have to work unsociable hours.
Think carefully about the journey home
Most of us know what it’s like to feel exhausted after a long day, and drive home almost on autopilot. After a nightshift though, tiredness can become a serious problem that can quite quickly escalate into a potentially dangerous situation.
It makes sense to consider how you could help with provisions for getting home at the end of a nightshift. It might make good business sense to provide financial support for the cost of taxis, or to share information about local public transport arrangements.
Create good sleep routines
Sleeping during the day can feel unnatural, so it’s important to get into a good routine if you want to enjoy quality rest. Blackout curtains can make a big difference, as well as avoiding using mobile phones before sleeping, and ensuring that you aren’t exposed to too much daylight before trying to nod off. In other words, it can really help if night workers get straight to bed after their shift.
Of course, every individual is different, and there’ll be a strong element of trial and error when it comes to finding the best pattern and routine. Make sure you support your employees, by sharing guidance and positive suggestions.
Never underestimate the value of quality sleep
Many of us would agree that there’s no better feeling than crashing out in a comfortable bed, but it’s way too easy to underestimate just how important sleep really is. There’s a whole host of medical problems and conditions that have been linked to poor sleep patterns, including heart attacks and diabetes.
Make sure you stress the importance of good sleep to your workers. If they’re struggling, do the right thing and suggest that they make an appointment with their GP to discuss their options.
There have been various calls to give extra rights to staff working nightshifts, to help protect them from the physical, mental, and emotional strain of working such unsociable hours, although whether this is something that will happen remains to be seen. Right now, you need to focus on doing all you can to support your employees and ensure that you’re taking reasonable steps to protect their wellbeing.
If you’re unsure about your responsibilities, download our free Guide to Nightworking below, or get in touch and HR Revolution will help you understand exactly what you need to know.