There have been many deliberations over the advantages and disadvantages of working in shifts for employer or the employee. A specific work is handled in shifts by different sets of crew working in shift relay which is how the work gets 24 hours exposure and coverage. For certain time sensitive tasks, such practices is beneficial in terms of employer’s perspectives. For the employee it can mean liberty and convenience. However it can have many negative impacts too. Most of the bad impacts on employees are related to health. So here are few advantages and disadvantages of Working in Shifts.
Let’s distinguish to contemplate good and bad effects of shift working through the points mentioned below:
Advantages of Working in Shifts:
Employees are able to choose the shift according to their needs. A person who needs to take care of home can opt for night shift and a person who is free in the morning can opt for morning shifts. At the same time it is beneficial when it comes to taking leave. If you need to complete some other work you can do it in the morning and go for an evening shift. The common morning shifts seems convenient however these days people choose for night or evening shifts because they get the liberty of time with such shifts. This is one of the benefits of working nights.
2. Reduced amount of working hours:
The working hours are less in shift works. It is because there consists of enough relaxation time and breaks. In regular ordeal the work hours extend to overtime with the purpose of completion of tasks given. However in shift works it becomes easier as the next crew to shift will be handling the rest of the work thus no need of putting in extra hours. Thus reduced work hours prove beneficial.
3. Training prospects:
One gets enough time to invest in training activities. Without taking leaves for such training sessions from work one can arrange to upgrade the skills. This is the best attribute in the shift work. One gets opportunity to enhance his skills by working in shifts and managing time for the training. One can maintain a good work life balance.
4. Avoid peak hours:
One can avoid being in rush hours to travel to work. You can choose a time shift that allows you to travel with less rush and traffic. Most of the rush one can find is in the morning shift works so one can do evening or night shifts. It makes travelling flexible. It is very satisfying for the employees as they get locals or the public transports vacant and experience a journey without congested spaces.
5. Avoiding peak hours of gyms or cinema:
Working in shifts at a time which allows you to get such gym timings when there is not much rush and makes it cheaper for you is very self satisfying. Going for a movie when you hardly find any crowd at ticket counters is other enjoyable moment. Shift workers get time to occupy the time where the regular workers are busy with their jobs. Gyms, the movie theaters and a plenty of restaurants offer discounts to customers who go to them during the quieter times. Even few of the shops follow this.
6. No restriction of pushing works for weekends:
Working in shifts can be advantageous for completing other chores and not keeping them for the weekends. For regular hour worker it is hard to do other things during a day as most of it is occupied by office hour. On the other hand shift workers have plenty of time to run errands other than work hours and they do not need to wait for the weekends.
One can request to take leave in any part of the week and make it up for the work somewhere else. It is easier as one can swap shifts with coworkers too. You can take leaves in the midweek and compensate for it later. As it is on rotational basis, one gets varied works unlike routine where one person handles all aspects of the work. Different aspects of one work can be handled by rotational crews which increases and yields full productivity.
Disadvantages of Working in Shifts:
1. Abnormal routine:
The pattern of waking in the morning going to the work having lunch by afternoon and leaving the workplace by evening is not the same for the shift workers. Regular hour workers become accustomed to the routine and feel disoriented when there are any alterations in the balance. Night shift workers feel tired and lazy as they do not achieve sufficient amount of sleep during day time. Even the eating schedule changes for the night shift employees. Shift workers come across many schedule changes as per shift change thus they are totally disconnected with social life.
2. Shift inequality:
Sometimes shifts are based on seniority. The seniors get the best slot like the day shift and the rest employees get evening and night. Hence there is no scope for growth as each shift crew is in their own world. Improvements are hardly observed due to total isolation of skills. Most of the organizations have noticed this flaw and are trying their best in having mix approach of all levels of employees to maintain the standard of quality of the work.
3. Work imbalance:
Shift workers like in the hospitals for instance have the most imbalanced works. Night shift nurses get the most of the work as most of the casualty occurs during the mid nights or the early mornings. While the day shifts staff has less pressure. In the same way, 24 hours call centers will be having their peak hours and off peak hours where some customer service personnel will be swamped with almost continuous calls, while other shift personnel will have a less number of calls comparatively.
Even though the law enforcement for women safety is being functioned, night shifts still prove risky for women out of the workplace premises. At the odd hours men’s safety is also imperative. Most of the time odd hour commuters become victims to ambush and robbery or rape. Thus the to and fro travel facility has been arranged by many organizations.
5. Health issues:
While one is young fluctuations can be handled by the body in terms of eating and sleeping habits. As the body grows old it is natural that it will face with sluggishness and inactivity which will not allow you to fully using the body with much less effort. These impediments show up in your mid thirties. In this point of age if you take up shift work it is likely to suffer with health problems like blood pressure, insomnia, indigestion, gastritis and acidity. Due to these reasons organizations appoint young professionals for shift works and the seniors are given fixed shifts.
6. Conflicts with family:
Most of the time in shift works your schedule will be different from your family’s schedule. Your shift working hours can make your family members feel abandoned and ignored. Especially parents of young professionals feel mistreated and uncared for. And parents of young kids who do not understand the working parent’s patterns also feel deserted. Thus shift working often creates tensed environments at employee’s home.
7. Poor caution:
One who works in shifts suffers lack of sleep if he is in night shift and is conditioned to sleeping in the night. Such workers are bound to feel sleepy during work hours and which eventually reduces productivity. It reduces the ability to be attentive at work. Observation and alertness is lost. One can meet with accidents if he travels with such drowsy head due to less caution.
8. Accessing food:
When working in shifts like night or evening shifts access to food is difficult. Workers compromise and gulp down whatever is available to them. Someone who follows a healthy diet suffers a lot due to lack of options. Evening shifts mostly get workers close to junk foods. Night shift workers have disordered schedule of eating.
Eventually with time you will become bored with the routine. Night shift workers become used to the silence of the environment within the workplace and outside too. One enjoying the hustle and bustle of the day cannot stick to the night’s emptiness. It may make the workers feel drowsier.
10. Low productivity:
In rotational shifts one may get very less sleep. One might have changed set of shifts which makes him even more sleepy and tired. This will consequently reduce the worker’s efficiency and competence to work. Besides each of the points above, are responsible in making the individual working in shifts, less competent.
These were the pros and cons for working in shifts and the preference depends on each individual on work shift. The shift work has a number of variations from which one can choose. The debate remains the same as the shift works really are beneficial or not. Working against the cycle of the sun and having an irregular lifestyle is not appreciated; however shift work is not as tedious as regular hours of works and is flexible as per requirements. Reviewing each of the points will make one contemplate what best fits in his abilities according to his goals and thereafter decision should be made.