Corporate Fatigue

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Shiftworkers Are Different

Ask the majority of shift-workers why they work shifts and the answer usually is "Money". Yes, reasonable money is achievable, but at what personal cost - cost in terms of quality of life, relationships and ultimately health. In one organisation where we conducted our training, there was a 100% divorce and separation rate among the 150 shiftworkers.

Shiftworkers and in particular the night-shift workers are not the same people at 3.00am. Their natural systems have been turned 180 degrees within a very short period of time and as a consequence the levels of physiological energy consumed in trying to adjust, limits the capacity of the employee to think and function normally (whatever that is).

Compare the same person working at 3.00pm and you will find you literally have a different person both mentally and physically, working for the company.

It is crucial to understand that in terms of reducing fatigue, maintaining efficiency & productivity, the shiftworker requires specialised training (not just advice) so they can better manage themselves and any environmental factors that can limit their capacity to obtain quality sleep.

The human being cannot survive, let alone take full responsibility for the safety of others and the millions of dollars worth of capital equipment, without adequate sleep.

Organisational expectations for the shiftworker on nights are frequently the same as day workers (who have an advantage), however psychologically and physiologically the night worker is quite different.

So shiftworkers frequently face the dilemma between the financial gains, the issues associated with health & productivity and what being 'different' brings into their lives.

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