How to get more from your night shift staff

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The night shift can sometimes be a maligned part of the business. Sometimes nicknamed the ‘graveyard shift’, it can be easily forgotten that this is a key part of the company and you need get as much out of the team as possible. It is likely the case that the rest of your business relies on the night shift in order to be able to do their job, so getting more for them can be extremely valuable to you.

Here we look at some of the ways that any business can help to encourage and motivate their night shift so that the team has high morale and good productivity.

Try to be flexible with shift planning

As with any kind of shift work, staff will often appreciate having as much flexibility as possible. You can improve overall team morale and make work an easier place to be by allowing staff to change their shifts and ensuring that hours can be worked in a way that is best for the team.

If this sounds too complex and challenging to manage this it could be time for you to invest in workforce planning software. Modern online systems can be setup so that staff can easily request shift swaps or even negotiate them directly with colleagues with shift planning software like Planday, while managers can review and approve any changes to stay on top of the shifts.

Request feedback for your staff

If you want to know if there is a way for staff to get more out of their time on the night shift, you should ask them for feedback. You might assume that staff will simply make unreasonable or unproductive requests, but it can actually be a great way to gain valuable insight into the shift and the workers.

Most staff want to do their job well and many will have ideas for ways that the company could work differently to get more from their night tasks. Giving staff the chance to have a say in any changes working practice can also be a great way to show them that their opinion is valued and that they are an important part of the business.

Encourage regular breaks

Of course as with any job, productivity is important. You want your staff to be getting as much done in the time that they have. You might assume that this means you need to be as stringent as possible with working hours. But you shouldn’t ignore the fact that taking regularly breaks can actually help your staff to be more productive.

Working a night shift can be tiring, even for those who are used to it. You should implement a policy to give staff more regular breaks so they can get more done during the time when they are working. This can make a big difference to amount that the team can accomplish but can also raise their spirits.

Ensure you are hiring the right people

Not everyone is suited to night shift work and it is important that you should think about this before you consider hiring someone – both for their benefit and for getting the correct person for the job. Sense check the CVs of prospective employees before you hire anyone and make sure that you ask relevant questions about why someone is considering night shift work and whether they would be suitable for it.

Some people prefer to work at night due to commitments surrounding family life – for example, being free for child care at specific times during the day. Others, however, my simply be applying for any kind of work and have never tried to work nights in the past. It can be common that they will struggle to adapt to sleeping during the day.

Provide free drinks and healthy food

Keeping up your strength and vitality for night shift is paramount. One of the best ways to help your staff stay alert and active through their shift is to provide free drinks and healthy food. Of course many will enjoy caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea, but try to offer some different options as some will not want to drink these. Options can include chilled water and fruit juice.

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Mike James is a UK-based writer for a few small companies and organisations, as well as numerous print and online magazines. Specialising in technology developments and business matters, Mike is best known for articles based around how best to integrate the two - particularly concerning cyber security, where he has been published in some of the leading authorities online.