Published on 5th June 2017
Staff satisfaction is a challenge in 24-hour working environments. Here’s how you can improve it.
Many businesses need people to work overnight.
It could be because you have agreements with your clients that mean there must be someone available in an emergency.
It could be because you work with markets around the world in different time zones.
It could even be because there’s still plenty of business to be done at 3am.
However, managing staff overnight can be much harder than managing staff during the day.
Keeping staff satisfaction and productivity high can be particularly challenging. If left unchecked, this can cause a range of problems, from negative customer experiences to generally running at a low level of efficiency.
The good news, however, is that you can put in place strategies to help your night staff perform better, feel happier and look after their health.
And if that doesn’t work, there are always alternatives to employing staff in-house.
Why staff satisfaction matters
Not only is it your moral duty as an employer to ensure your staff are happy and healthy and not being endangered while at work, but staff satisfaction is also important in making sure your business is productive and efficient.
Studies into staff satisfaction have shown that when people are happy their performance improves on average by 12%, and even as high as 20%.
If night-working is negatively affecting your employees’ happiness and wellbeing, you should take steps as otherwise your business’s productivity could suffer.
The challenge of staff satisfaction in 24 hour working environments
It’s hard to keep staff satisfaction high when people work overnight, because, quite simply, working overnight is a hard thing to do.
Many people experience different problems when it comes to working overnight, ranging from tiredness and health problems to loneliness and boredom.
As an employer it’s your responsibility to lessen these problems as much as possible for your staff.
Here are just some of the key challenges your staff face when working overnight:
When you work overnight, it can be hard to maintain a healthy social life.
While your friends are out of work, you’re normally just on the way in, and then at the weekend you’ll still be sleeping through the day as you adjust back to a normal routine.
Often this will result in people feeling isolated from their friends and family when they work at night, which will inevitably have a negative effective on wellbeing.
While this is always going be a challenge when working overnight and why working antisocial hours often means a higher rate of pay, it’s still something you should be aware of as an employer.
Disconnection from management
One of the most common reasons for low employee satisfaction is the relationship with the boss.
In a recent survey of 1,374 UK employees nearly half (42%) said they had left a job because of a bad boss.
When someone is working at night, chances are they won’t be working at the same time as management – at least not high-level management.
That means it’s easy for messages to get misconstrued, misunderstandings to occur and resentment to build up as people feel increasingly disconnected from a management team they rarely see.
For staff satisfaction to improve this must be addressed.
Lonely working environment
Typically, a night shift isn’t as busy as a normal day shift.
Depending on the business, it could be the case that a night shift is just a couple of people who come into the office to keep things ticking over and to respond to any enquiries that come in outside normal office hours.
Because of this, a night shift can be a lonely environment when the employee has 8 long hours ahead of them in an empty office.
Having some interaction at work is important so dealing with the loneliness some people might feel when working at night is important.
Lacking the feeling of achievement
As people who work at night are often just there to keep things ticking over, they’re less likely to be involved in major projects and won’t have been included in many of the business’s ‘big wins’.
Over time this can lead to night staff feeling like they aren’t achieving much while the day team work on all the exciting projects.
What can be done to fix this lack of staff satisfaction?
It’s clear there are many challenges to overcome for those managing staff satisfaction in a 24-hour working environment.
Fortunately there are plenty of things you can do to help.
Better management structure
By making sure even night shifts have a proper management structure in place, you’ll ensure your staff working overnight will feel better connected to the company.
They’ll have the chance to report problems and get feedback so they’ll know their voices are being heard.
A manager will be present to keep an eye on night staff and spot if any of the challenges that come with working at night are starting to have an effect on them.
Involve night staff in daytime activities
If night staff feel more involved in the day-to-day running of the business, they’ll feel more valued and like they’re achieving more while they’re at work.
One way you can make this happen is to distribute work more evenly between day and night staff. If the night staff have more work to do – and work that’s important to the running of the company – they’ll feel more involved.
Another way to make night staff feel more like part of the wider business is to have more social events and activities that involve everyone from the business regardless of the time they work.
This will give people the chance to put faces to the names they’ve been seeing on emails, and it’ll help people make more bonds and friendships with people from the wider business.
Provide advice on healthy living
One of the most significant problems working at night poses is the effect it can have on people’s health.
If they don’t take proper care, employees working night shifts can find their health is affected.
The reasons range from lack of sleep to lack of exposure to sunlight to the craving for sweet, fatty foods.
By doing things like ensuring healthy food is readily available to night staff, giving them advice on how to manage sleep patterns and even installing lights that replicate natural sunlight, you can significantly improve the health and happiness of your overnight team.
Outsource call handling
If you’re struggling with managing staff in a 24/7 working environment, one option is to outsource to a 24-hour specialist.
At CALLCARE we specialise in providing 24/7 call handling. If you need help running your business outside office hours – whether it’s managing emergency call-outs or providing round-the-clock customer service – read about our service here and get in touch today to find out how we can support your business.