Night Shift Survival Guide: How Employees Can Advocate for Their Well-Being

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About the Author: Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, and education When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

This blog was contributed directly to Workplace Fairness and was first published on April 15, 2024.

Whether you’re a nurse, hospitality worker, warehouse employee, or you work in another profession that often requires night shifts, wellness is the name of the game, and you need to ensure that the company has your back. Whether you’re temporarily working overtime or you work the third shift every night, you must fight for your rights. 

Here are some ways to advocate for your well-being on the job.

Demand A Safe Working Atmosphere

According to recent studies, there’s an increased risk of injury for folks who work night and evening shifts. Many of those injuries are tied to fatigue or not having a suitable work environment for later hours. As an employee, you should research the tactics that companies can take to make your life easier for your particular industry.

If you work on a computer all night, there are simple things you can do, like adjust the screens on the monitors so they emit less blue light at night to reduce eye strain. Or, bright light in halls and rooms can be helpful for nurses and warehouse workers who need to see where they’re going. Plus, more radiant light will help you to stay more alert and awake.

Also, it may seem obvious, but employers must prioritize safety by posting proper signage around warehouses that identify hazards. Signage should be written in large and colorful letters so it can’t be missed.

If these or other safety considerations do not exist at your night job, talk to your boss and get a timeline for when they’ll be available. If you’re not getting answers, speak to human resources.

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Encourage Employers To Provide Coffee

Another simple and tasty way to stay energized and productive during night shift jobs is to enjoy a cup of coffee. There are various benefits of coffee in the workplace, including the fact that it helps boost productivity by helping you stay alert, so you can learn new information and tasks faster and be better at your job. Coffee can also improve morale around the office. Many work groups like to gather around the coffee machine at the start of each shift to say hello, talk about the work of the night, and get that caffeinated pick-me-up. If you’re in a good mood, you will likely be happier at work and do a better job.

By staying alert with caffeinated beverages, you can also fight the potential for fatigue that is all too common during night work. That fatigue may lead to accidents on the job site that can cause harm to you and your coworkers. Fatigue has even been linked to advanced health problems like depression and reproductive issues. Needless to say, it can’t hurt to ask your employer to supply coffee during your shift.

Employers can be part of the solution by providing several caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee options. Management can also make it easier for the staff to drink coffee by providing reusable cups and mugs that the employees can keep. 

Safety When Commuting At Night

Another danger of a night shift job is what can happen while you’re commuting to and from the office. The fact is that commuting at night comes with several unique challenges, including limited visibility of the road, the potential to share the road with impaired drivers, and a chance of hitting a nocturnal animal that darts across your path. 

Of course, there’s also the issue of fatigue. While you may be tired driving home after a long shift, you can also feel drowsy behind the wheel on the way to work since it’s dark and your circadian rhythm may be off. If you and your coworkers are concerned about safety while driving at night, talk to your superiors about potential solutions. 

Remedies could include the possibility of flexible schedules, especially when you didn’t get enough sleep, and you’re concerned about your safety on the road. There could be the possibility of starting an hour later or making up the time later. 

If you drive at night as part of your job, you could talk to the company about getting internet in the car. That way, you’ll never have to take your hands off the wheel to make or receive an important phone call or text. You’ll be able to get directions without taking your eyes off the road, which is essential for safety.

Management could also create a carpooling program so you and nearby associates can drive together. That way, if one of you is more tired than the other, someone else can take the wheel. Finally, the company could initiate a program that provides extra money on each paycheck for the employees to take public transportation so they can eliminate the risk of driving altogether.

You must allow your physical and mental well-being to be the priority when you’re working your night job, and if you feel that is threatened, speak to your supervisor. Quality work comes with a safe atmosphere, so demand what’s right.

The post Night Shift Survival Guide: How Employees Can Advocate for Their Well-Being appeared first on Workplace Fairness.

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