Shift circumstances

In companies that operate around the clock, there are likely IT pros pulling an evening or overnight shift to keep systems running. And if these people are anything like the respondents of a survey on shiftwork from Circadian Technologies, they're feeling overworked and undersupported.

Circadian Technologies, a research and consulting firm specializing in the 24/7 workplace, surveyed managers from 623 facilities about their shiftwork practices. The results point to insufficient staffing, higher overtime levels, and inadequate provisions for those who work nontraditional hours.

"The survey underscores the challenges posed by record levels of overtime, increasing risks due to human-error accidents, and limited workplace provisions for the unique needs of those in 24/7 shiftwork positions, such as childcare, employee training, and rest facilities," says Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, president and CEO of Circadian Technologies. "Addressing these demands should be an early priority in the recovery cycle or it will hamper business recovery."

Here are some of the results:

  • Overtime is up. The number of shiftworkers working more than 400 hours of overtime each year has increased by 45 per cent since 2000.

  • Shifts are getting longer. Close to three-fourths of facilities use holdovers in which shift lengths are increased or doubled to cover necessary overtime.

  • Employee fatigue, a direct outgrowth of overwork and stress, has increased 101 per cent since 2000. The number of workplaces reporting no employee fatigue has decreased by 52 per cent. Only 44 per cent of employers permit napping in the workplace, down 4 per cent since 2000.

  • Childcare provisions are lacking. Only 1 per cent of companies provide on-site 24-hour childcare.

  • In 93 per cent of companies, Human Resources aren't available outside the traditional hours of 9 to 5.

To download an executive summary of the report, click here.

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