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November 17, 2012

Working in the night shift - Good or Bad

The present working atmosphere has experienced a paradigm shift with globalization. We can serve clients overseas and thus a multinational company is operational round the clock at different places on the globe! There are occupations such as doctors, nurses, store managers, executives, etc who have to work at night at a defined frequency.

Before you take up a job which requires you to work in the night shift, there are few things you should consider. Decide once you have weighed the pro’s and con’s!

Firstly, understand the frequency of night duties you would be assigned. While some jobs require you to work in the night shift (also called the third shift) every day of the week, some involve you to put in one night per week or per month. Some occupations also involve occasional night duties, say only in emergency situations.

The lucrative side of the coin

Third shift jobs tend to allure the young professionals – they tell you that while your counterparts are sleeping, you are doing productive work. Your shift usually ends early morning and after a few hours of sleep, you have lot of time for yourself, your family and friends. The bait is often extended to students who wish to earn extra money.

There is also a belief that because there is very little activity around, you can focus on the work and not be disturbed by traffic noise, incoming phone calls on your cell phone (unless you are prohibited to receive calls on your mobile phones at work), etc.

Depending on the job profile and frequency of night shifts, companies often offer incentives to employees who work in the night shift. For people who have to be on duty in this time slot at defined frequencies, the morning following the night shift is usually an off day. You should read the terms and conditions of your employment before joining any job, and ones that involve night shifts are no exception.

Things that can go wrong

Do not get carried away by the juicy picture painted by your employers. What they tell you is not exactly a lie, but the half truth.

Indeed, you get to utilize the night hours productively, but you do not realize that it jeopardizes your biological cycle completely. You would find it hard to cope in the initial few days – suffering from drowsiness, headaches, puffed eyes, stomach disorders and likewise. Even after your physical system gets used to work at night, you find yourself sleeping when the rest of the world around you is active. You are the one who has worked throughout the night, but your family has to go on with their daily schedules – so the doorbells would ring, people such as maids, milkmen, servants, post men, courier boys, relatives, etc would keep walking in and out of the house, telephones and alarm clocks would break the silence around you, television sets and radios shall play programmes loudly and many such activities would happen around you. No one really means to disturb you but try hard as you might, the activity around you disturbs your sub conscious mind.

When you are up after taking some rest, you would find your realtives and friends have gone about their lives, studying or working. They may not be even able to talk to you over the phone. Everybody seems to be busy with their lives, and have no time for you! This makes you a sort of anti – social animal, for you cannot give time to the people who mean the most to you.

Some organizations such as call centres, BPO’s or KPO’s have the facility of pick and drop for employees to and from their residences, usually because they have to travel at odd hours in the day. What you tend to overlook is a company vehicle is assigned to pick up not only you but a number of colleagues who can be clubbed together along a route. The cars usually have the capacity to seat about ten people at a time, excluding the driver. So if you happen to be the first to be picked up, you would be the last to be dropped! Can you imagine the amount of time you would be spending just in travel?

Companies that work at night usually offer food for the employees who work in the third shift – but after some time, it becomes predictable and you start detesting it. You incline towards loads of coffee and junk food, and that has a direct impact on your health.

What to do?

Take a strong look at your own self. Don’t let night shifts affect you or your health!

Speak to your supervisors (or anyone suitable) to minimize night shifts. Even if it is compulsory for you to do work at late night hours, convey your situation to your family and friends and seek their cooperation – they have to adjust to your “abnormal” schedule!

Try to make the most of the time you spend in travelling. Difficult as it may sound, keep your eyes shut and try to concentrate on the hours ahead, plan what you have to do; meditate or simply, doze off. It is usually difficult to read while travelling in a car packed with people, so don’t even attempt it.

When you go to sleep after returning, try and recreate the ambience of your bedroom at night – use curtains made of heavy material, so that you can have as much darkness as possible. Minimize the sound around you and do not forget to put your cell phone in the silent mode. Also try to get in bed at the same time and use an alarm clock to wake up – this will help your body to get into a rhythm.

Eat sensibly. Consult a dietician and stick to the prescription. Take vitamins, if necessary.

Look after yourself – hit the gym or exercise at home regularly.

On your off days, do give time to your friends and family. Plan it beforehand and go for recreational outings with them.

Follow these tips to be make working in night shifts an easy affair!

Tags : Night shift, Third shift, working in night shift pros, working in night shift cons, good side, bad side

About Anupama

A Transport Planner and Architect, Anupama has been blogging for about six years now. She has taken up professional content writing for the last two years, and can always be contacted for any assignments or queries. Her strength is original presentation of any topic.