We’re deep into the UK’s third lockdown since the start of the pandemic and while many people have adapted to working from home, it’s not a luxury that exists for key workers - many of whom work shifts.
After the events of 2020, health, and wellbeing - especially wellbeing at work - are well and truly in the spotlight. And it’s not hard to see why. Research we carried out last year found mental health is a growing issue for thousands working in hospitality, retail, healthcare, and logistics.
According to the research, more than half of the UK’s deskless workforce say their job has had a negative impact on their mental health in the past 12 months. A combination of long hours, low pay, concerns over job security, fear of having to take sick days and poor communication have created a perfect storm of stress and poor mental health.
So, what can be done about? How can we improve the health and wellbeing of our key workers and shift workers?
To start with, we must approach the problem differently, the corporate wellbeing techniques of offering virtual yoga classes or encouraging ten minutes of meditation each day simply don’t work for shift workers.
Instead, what shift workers crave is control and choice.
Rarely do shift workers have control of their schedules. This can have a huge impact on their lives, making it hard for them to plan outside of work. For part time workers, the deskless workforce, or people working in the gig economy, this also increases the challenge of working multiple jobs and calculating their income, as their hours can fluctuate wildly.
The same research from above found shift workers are unable to achieve a work life balance, with two in three giving up sleep, hobbies, and normal eating routines due to inflexible schedules.
On top of this, workers are regularly forced to choose between their personal lives and their jobs, with around two thirds missing social events or holidays. 49% of the workers surveyed said they’ve missed major milestones such as funerals or weddings due to inflexible schedules.
Figures also showed that at least 1 in 3 have left a job because their employer did not provide schedules with enough advance notice, making it difficult for them to balance their work and personal life.
Your employees are desperate for more control and flexibility. They want the ability to be able to choose the shifts they work, easily switch shifts, and take on extra shifts if they need to.
Not only do flexible schedules give you the ability to respond to unpredictable demand, but they also make your employees happier, lead to a more efficient business and, ultimately, ensure your customers receive a better service.
It may seem like keeping workers to a rigid schedule will keep them productive, but data says that the opposite is true with 85% of workers saying flexible schedules make them more productive.
With the right tools and technology in place, flexible working can help improve productivity, save time, reduce costs, improve employee retention, and boost employee happiness.
Download our free Playbook for Better Scheduling for more insight into the best ways of optimising your workforce, your scheduling and your business.