Getting to grips with shift working

19 Nov 2020

Night-time work often starts at 10.00pm and goes through to 6.00am in the morning. Some companies expect their employees to be able to accommodate a range of shift work, while some workers opt to undertake a set routine such as working a permanent afternoon or night shift.

Travelling to work

When a client is reliant on public transport, we will accurately plan a route by using the relevant postcodes and check on the frequency of the service.
“We remember to investigate the bus and train timetables for the week and at weekends because there is a reduced service on Sundays,” added Mark. “When we think that the commute is feasible, then I suggest to my client that they undertake an initial journey to ensure that it’s do-able and they feel happy about the travelling time.”
Care comments: the next step is to look at a participant’s family commitments and whether they can accommodate shift working with any caring responsibilities. Relying on the goodwill of friends is often regarded as only a short term solution.
If a client has other family support, or has reliable childcare, I would feel more reassured to recommend them for an interview,” explained Mark.

Sleep patterns

Ingeus participants are often referred to the health team that will advise on how to develop beneficial sleeping patterns through the sleep and routine workshops.

Healthy diets

Again, there are health experts on hand who can offer guidance on maintaining a balanced eating plan and incorporating foods that provide sustained energy release.
Mark commented: “One of my young clients was offered a job that involved early morning starts. He mentioned that he planned to have a couple of high-energy drinks to get him through. I explained that he would experience a sugar high for a few hours, but would also have to deal with a sugar crash, which can be dangerous when handling machinery.”

Getting to grips with shift work
Fifty-three-year-old John had been unemployed for nearly 20 years before he felt able to return to work after his mental health improved.
“My first job was working nights at a warehouse facility,” recalled John. “Mark was my Ingeus advisor and helped me to prepare for my return to work and maintain a positive mental attitude.
“I was obviously concerned about being able to fall asleep during the day after completing a long shift. The advice I received was to start the adjustment before the employment began to establish a routine – and don’t expect to get home and go straight to sleep. You have to wind down first and perhaps have a light meal because if you go to bed on an empty stomach, you will wake up early because your body is reacting to feeling hungry.
“Another handy tip is to leave a message stuck in a prominent position to remind your partner or school age children to be quiet because you are still sleeping, until they get used to your new routine.”

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