EFFECTS OF EXTENDED WORK SHIFTS ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH & PRODUCTIVITY

Most of us are familiar with jobs offering overtime hours extending beyond a 40-hour work week. For entrepreneurs and employees creating their schedule, working long hours is often the norm, making it difficult to disengage mentally from work. In turn many employees. Electronic devices intended to increase productivity are being used throughout the day, evening, and on weekends for work-related responsibilities. There are great benefits in using technology, yet it’s crucial to diligently balance work and social life. Whether you work a fixed schedule or different hours of the day employee safety begins with education. Taking positive steps when working extended hours promotes health, safety, and work productivity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comments on long work shifts, “According to U.S. National Health Interview data from 2010, almost 19% of working adults work 48 hour or more per week and over 7% worked 60 hours or more. Both shift work and long work hours have been associated with health and safety risks.” Sleep deprivation can affect concentration, alertness, mood, and general health. Attentiveness to details is critical in certain occupations like nursing, chemists, pharmacists, employees operating heavy machinery, and others. Feeling tired, stressed, fatigued, or burnout not only affects work performance, but also safety concerns for yourself and others.  

The University of Surrey documents a study by the Journal of Science on the effects of sleep loss on various brain regions. “Research has significant implications for our understanding of how the brain is locally affected by internal time of day and sleep-wake cycles.  Results shed light on why shift workers and people working very long hours struggle to pay attention and concentrate on their job, in particular in the early morning hours,” documents The University of Surrey. Working extended hours coupled with consistent lack of sleep can only raise health concerns. When working overtime hours, consider ways to ensure adequate sleep and proper nutrition each day. Accommodate your work schedule to allow times of relaxation. Perhaps take a power nap during one of your breaks or enjoy a 15-minute meditation? The idea is to find creative ways to take breaks, eat nutritious foods, and get adequate sleep each night when working extended hours.

5 TIPS WHEN WORKING OVERTIME HOURS:

1. Don’t skip meals. Healthy foods fuel your body and mind. When working long hours, it’s important to fuel the brain and body with nutritious foods.

2. Take a break. Disconnecting for a few minutes can increase creativity and focus.

3. Maintain a regular sleep schedule. To be your most productive and keep mentally sharp it’s vital to get a good night’s rest. If having trouble sleeping early, refrain from having caffeine in the later afternoon.  

4. Make times for activities that bring joy. Lasting success is grounded with balance. Hobbies and activities that create meaning, joy, and purpose enhance mood.

5. If overwhelmed talk with your employer. If you feel exhausted and depleted with all the job responsibilities, voice your concerns. At times the employer is not fully aware of the workload or how you’re coping with working extended hours. If you’re feeling burnout be sure to express your concerns to your supervisor. 

*This article is for informational purposes only and not intended to direct health advice. For health questions please inquire with your physician.

MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR MILLENNIALS IN THE WORKFORCE

Millennials account for 36 percent of the U.S. workforce, and currently hold numerous leadership positions. Research from DDI and The Conference Board relates positive attributions young leaders offer to their work environments. According to the DDI study, the pace at which an organization grows is highly related to the number of Millennials in leadership positions. As young professionals continue to emerge in leadership roles it’s important to implement effective management skills.

TIPS FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONS ON EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT SKILLS:

1. Seek counsel: Part of gaining expertise is learning from people who share similar proficiencies and from individuals who “paved the way”. There is much to gain from coworkers and experts who experienced like trials.

2. Ask when in doubt: It’s perfectly appropriate to seek assistance when faced with a difficult situation or important decision. Effective leaders understand the importance of sound advice from experienced professionals.

3. It’s okay to make mistakes: Give room for errors as you sharpen your management skills. Attention should be given in developing strategies for better outcomes, yet be flexible when mistakes happen. Focusing on problem-solving skills rather than dwelling on what went wrong is part of managing your team effectively.

4. Embrace teamwork: Colleagues and business partners are important team members. Promoting success in others will bring more work satisfaction and foster a workplace culture of connectivity and unity.

5. Promote diversity: Today’s workforce is comprised of employees from around the world with various cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs. Embracing a multicultural workplace with equal gender opportunity and free of discrimination is essential for a successful business.

6. Step out of your comfort zone: We each have strengths and areas needing more attention for professional growth. Conduct a self-evaluation to assess areas requiring focus and intervention. Then, take measures to improve your professional skills.

7. Delegate tasks: It can be intimidating to delegate tasks to colleagues with company seniority.  You were chosen for a management position based on your skills and qualities, and age is irrelevant. The idea is to keep respectful when delegating assignments to other coworkers. Delegating should focus on teamwork, rather than taking advantage of a management position.

8. Maintain work-life balance: Career goals and visions of success can introduce balance between work and personal life. Technological advances and social media contribute to continuity of job-related tasks outside of working hours. Disengaging from job responsibilities provides time to recharge, bringing fresh ideas when ready to return to work.

ENHANCING PRODUCTIVITY IN YOUR WORKDAY

How we initiate each workday has great influence on productivity and workflow. Unexpected circumstances are likely to arise; yet organizing job responsibilities can yield positive outcomes. With just a few strategies you can start your day accomplishing more with less stress. Get ready for a productive and fulfilling workday!

TIPS TO INCREASING WORK PRODUCTIVITY: 

1. Review traffic updates in advance. This allows ample time for planning alternative routes before heading out to work. It also provides various commute options, which is beneficial during the holiday season, road constructions, and high traffic times.

2. Re-evaluate job tasks and objectives first thing in the morning. Review assignments to determine what still requires your attention today. Other team members may have completed work tasks. What took priority yesterday may not require your attention today. Determine areas that require your attention and reassess again in the later day.

3. Prioritize assignments and deadlines. Develop a list of daily priorities from greatest to least important job tasks. This provides a blueprint on areas requiring your immediate attention each workday.

4. Examine tasks that can be delegated to other employees. Sharing responsibilities can help alleviate workload, allowing more time for important matters that cannot be taken care of by others. Keep in mind the individual’s job role and scope of practice when delegating.

5.  Use break times wisely. Be sure to disconnect from work activities during break times and lunch. Eating lunch is important for your health, and also generates more creativity and energy to complete job assignments.

6. Remain flexible when unexpected circumstances arise. Job demands can be challenging, let a lone when unplanned situations increase workload. Remain flexible and positive, while putting efforts in areas requiring your attention. Consult with your supervisor on job tasks that can be delegated or handled at a later time.

7. Plan your next workday in advance. Schedule assignments with prompt deadlines to be accomplished early in the day. This provides abundant time to prepare for assignments requiring immediate attention. When deadlines are not a factor, it’s beneficial to plan important projects during high-energy peak times. Planning ahead of time helps decrease stress and promotes work productivity.

TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SPEAKING

Speaking to large crowds comes easily for some, yet for others just the thought cultivates fear and anxiety. According to Psychology Today three out of four people fear public speaking. This form of anxiety is known as glossophobia or speech anxiety. By incorporating a few strategies you can boost your confidence and become an expert in giving speeches!

TIPS TO BECOME AN EXPERT AT GIVING SPEECHES:

Research and Prepare Ahead of Time: Give yourself ample time to prepare before conducting your speech. Create an outline of data and requirements to be accomplished in a timely fashion. This provides a visual guide with steps to ensure needed information is gathered before the presentation.  Researching beforehand fosters knowledge and confidence on the topic of discussion.

Practice with People You Feel Comfortable Around: Depending on your preference your audience can be friends, family, colleagues, or other people you know. A good strategy is to begin with smaller audiences and gradually increase. A progressive adjustment to larger audiences exposes the individual to the cause of anxiety at a manageable level. This can be more accommodating than the sudden impact of presenting before a large audience.

Focus on Your Message: Concentrate on the message you’re seeking to convey, rather than on the audience. It can be nerve-racking to see numerous people starring at you. Instead focus on your thoughts and the points to be address in an orderly fashion. For instance, plan ahead what you intend to say in the beginning, middle, and end of your speech. This gives room for creativity in between, but also structure in the event your mind wonders. Flashcards, PowerPoint slides with bullet points, or simple mental notes can serve as reminders to keep focused. This may also decrease anxiety being a tool of reference when feeling under pressure.

Stop, Breathe, and Then Continue:  If nervousness sets in stop speaking, take a few deep breathes, and then resume. Taking a few moments to collect your thoughts and balance intense emotions can prove beneficial.Allow Room for Error: Becoming an expert at giving speeches takes practice and dedication. It may take a few experiences before you feel overly confident. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and be patient as this is a learning process. Remember practice makes perfect, and that requires time and experiences.

TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SPEAKING

Speaking to large crowds comes easily for some, yet for others just the thought cultivates fear and anxiety. According to Psychology Today three out of four people fear public speaking. This form of anxiety is known as glossophobia or speech anxiety. By incorporating a few strategies you can boost your confidence and become an expert in giving speeches!

TIPS TO BECOME AN EXPERT AT GIVING SPEECHES:

Research and Prepare Ahead of Time: Give yourself ample time to prepare before conducting your speech. Create an outline of data and requirements to be accomplished in a timely fashion. This provides a visual guide with steps to ensure needed information is gathered before the presentation.  Researching beforehand fosters knowledge and confidence on the topic of discussion.

Practice with People You Feel Comfortable Around: Depending on your preference your audience can be friends, family, colleagues, or other people you know. A good strategy is to begin with smaller audiences and gradually increase. A progressive adjustment to larger audiences exposes the individual to the cause of anxiety at a manageable level. This can be more accommodating than the sudden impact of presenting before a large audience.

Focus on Your Message: Concentrate on the message you’re seeking to convey, rather than on the audience. It can be nerve-racking to see numerous people starring at you. Instead focus on your thoughts and the points to be address in an orderly fashion. For instance, plan ahead what you intend to say in the beginning, middle, and end of your speech. This gives room for creativity in between, but also structure in the event your mind wonders. Flashcards, PowerPoint slides with bullet points, or simple mental notes can serve as reminders to keep focused. This may also decrease anxiety being a tool of reference when feeling under pressure.

Stop, Breathe, and Then Continue:  If nervousness sets in stop speaking, take a few deep breathes, and then resume. Taking a few moments to collect your thoughts and balance intense emotions can prove beneficial.

Allow Room for Error: Becoming an expert at giving speeches takes practice and dedication. It may take a few experiences before you feel overly confident. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and be patient as this is a learning process. Remember practice makes perfect, and that requires time and experiences.