Managing shift workers is difficult, add in large teams and complex shift scheduling and you are in trouble. Not to worry though, that’s what Celayix is here for. In this blog post, we will take you through the best practices for managing shift workers to get better results.
Shift work is defined by the Sleep Foundation as any shift that falls outside of 6 am to 7 pm. Having to work on weekends or overtime is also considered shift work. A shift worker’s hours can also vary a lot from day to day and may not have a set schedule list most workers do. Industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, security, and hospitality have taken advantage of shift work and the flexibility it brings.
Why is managing shift workers important?
Working these unsociable hours has an impact on employees in many ways. This is why it’s important to be managing your shift workers.
Working irregular or long shifts can mean employees are missing a lot of time with their friends and family. It also means that they have to adapt to frequent changes in their body clock. A person should be able to meet work demands as well as balance their family and social activities too.
Fatigue often goes hand in hand with shift workers especially when someone is working nonstandard shifts such as night shifts. It can be dangerous as it impairs employees which compromise their physical, mental and emotional tolerance. This makes it easy for workers to make mistakes which can be dangerous in a lot of these workplaces. Did you know workers with sleep problems are 1.62 times more likely to get injured than workers with no sleep issues? (Shiftboard.com)
Employee burnout can be caused by a poor work-life balance. Burnout is a type of stress that is caused by a person’s job that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion. It is really prevalent in 24/7 industries and has a huge impact on the health of an employee.
Low employee engagement
Low employee engagement can result from long, monotonous hours late at night. Of course, it’s normal to lose interest in a task during these hours. However, if this lack of engagement is constant it means reduced productivity and a low-quality workforce.
How to manage shift workers to gain better results
1. Manage their safety
It goes without saying that this should be your number one focus for your employees. Businesses have a duty to ensure their workers are safe at work both mentally and physically. You can do this by ensuring workplace conditions are adequate for the type of work they are doing. For example, if you have security guards standing outside, ensure their uniforms are of good quality and warm enough to withstand bad weather. If workers are working indoors ensure the workplace is well-lit and ventilated.
You should also ensure safety hazards are well marked and kept to a minimum. Maintaining the environment to a high standard is paramount to managing workers’ safety. Implement regular safety checks when your workers are working in isolated environments too. Companies like Celayix have mobile apps for employees to use where they can complete safety checks to give employers peace of mind.
2. Employee Wellbeing
An employee’s emotional wellbeing is just as important as their physical state. When employees are engaged in work it will lead to improved productivity and more loyalty to your company. Employee assistance programs are a great way of helping to improve the well-being of your workers. They give workers a safe place to talk about the feelings they are experiencing and ways to deal with them.
You should also provide a good benefits program so that workers can visit professionals if they need it. Another way to improve employee wellbeing is to have regular check-ins with your team. Face-to-face contact is great and it’s a good way to find out if your employees need assistance with everything.
3. Effective Scheduling
Scheduling is difficult, especially with shift work. Sometimes it is necessary to have workers work long shifts but there are some things you can do to make a fair schedule.
Take employee sleep needs into account and ensure they are getting enough days off in between their shifts so they can rest up. Try to keep the amount of overtime worked to a minimum as employees are already working long enough shifts. Aim to give workers predictable shifts so they can make plans ahead of time and improve their work-life balance. Try not to make sudden changes to the shifts as these impact your workers.
Here are some features you should have in your scheduling to help manage shift workers:
- Self-Scheduling: This is where you can create the open shifts you need and your workers can pick them up on a first come, first-served basis.
- Shift-Bidding: This is similar to self-scheduling but your workers will bid on your open shifts. It is then up to the discretion of the scheduler to approve or deny the request.
- Rules Engine: The Celayix software allows you to create certain business rules which dictates who can get your shifts. For example, you can set rules to disallow overtime or create a rule that only workers with certain qualifications can get certain shifts too.
Managing your shift workers to get better results is all about first ensuring their safety and wellbeing are being monitored. Once those items are in place you will see productivity and engagement rise. How you schedule your workers also has a big impact on how they perform. Ensure you are implementing a fair schedule too which will help with happier workers and get better performance results.