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What is Shift Work? Advantages and Disadvantages


What is Shift Work?

Shift work is kind of work where specific work is handled in shifts by different sets of the 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 a few advantages and disadvantages of Working in Shifts.

Working Shifts advantages disadvantagesLet’s distinguish to contemplate good and bad effects of shift working through the points mentioned below:

Advantages of Shift Work:

1. Convenience:

Employees are able to choose the shift according to their needs. A person who needs to take care of a 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 seem 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 the 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 traveling 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 that 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 another enjoyable moment.

Shift workers get time to occupy the time where the regular workers are busy with their jobs. Gyms, movie theatres and plenty of restaurants offer discounts to customers who go to them during quieter times. Even a 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 workers, 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.

7. Flexibility:

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 a 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 Shift Work:

1. Abnormal routine:

The pattern of waking in the morning going to 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 a sufficient amount of sleep during the daytime. 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 the 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 midnights 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.

4. Safety:

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 use 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 from 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 an 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 at work suffers a lot due to lack of options. Evening shifts mostly get workers close to junk foods. Night shift workers have a disordered schedule of eating.

9. Boredom:

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 the 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.

Advantages and Disadvantages in Working Night Shifts:

Most of the people working in shifts often get uncomfortable as they have to sync themselves with the untimely routine. This is even worse when you have scheduled night shifts. The nightshift timings are also known as the graveyard shift. Usually, the graveyard shift can be any shift that starts at 12 am.

Not many people like to work in such shifts, but there are few of them who would love to work in night shifts. As the advantages that come with it are no less.

Some of the top advantages and disadvantages of night shifts are,

Advantages of night shifts Disadvantages of night shifts
Not as Much Traffic Lunch and Tea Breaks
Better Pay A Lack of Sleep
It's More Convenient It can be Boring
Go Back to School Health Complications
More Job Opportunities Less Security
Fewer Meetings Family Friction
Less Competition Reduced Access to Food
Unique Opportunities Weekends Become Meaningless
More Time Decreased Vigilance
Less Disruption Support Services Disappear
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Flexible Work Schedules:

Working in flexible work schedules, not only affects employees but employers too can enjoy its benefits. As every coin has two sides, similarly flexible work schedules have its own set of pros and cons.

Like employees, even employers feel the challenge of working in tight schedules, so flexible work shifts are very comfortable for all the workers working in an organization. Let us have a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of flexible work schedules.

Here we are showing you the pros and cons of both employees and employers having flexible work schedules in a tabular form.

Advantage and disadvantage  for employees:

Advantages for Employees Disadvantages for Employees
Work-life balance Can effect work relationships
Can avoid traffic and reduce commute stressSave commute time Comparison of work done arises between colleagues
Better scheduling and organizing of work Take advantage of this feature
Less work stress
Assign employees shift time accordingly
Spend more time with family
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Advantage and disadvantage for employers:

Advantages for Employers Disadvantages for Employers
Improves employee engagement and morale Proper guidelines need to be set
Less absentism Taking flexibility as an advnatage
Best hiring process Ajusting to new management style
Schedule employees limited work Work from home employees are not trusted
Encourages employee work-life balance Dead line may not be achieved
Focuses more on organization goals and vision
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Types of Work Shifts:

Shift work is the type of work scheduling timing allocated for employees where they need to work in that particular time period. It can be day shift, night shift, noon shift and the common time allocated is 9 hours.

Some of the types of work shifts are,

  1. Fixed Shifts
  2. Split Shifts
  3. Irregular Shifts
  4. Rotating Shifts

What are Shift Work Hours?

A regular common shift work period is 9 hours (including break). For organizations or businesses to run perfectly, they need to work 24/7 and for that work shifts are very much necessary.

Organizations cover the whole 24 hours a day schedule by having several shift timings which are scheduled accordingly to employees

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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.