With many employees in the UK facing unpredictable hours and schedules on a regular basis, it is no surprise that businesses are feeling the effects.

According to a recent survey of 5,000 shift workers, 68 per cent said their health has been negatively impacted by an irregular work schedule.

So, why is this, and what are employers doing wrong?

Uncertain working

Of those surveyed, 50 per cent said they had nothing to do with the scheduling of their hours, with 56 per cent stating their shifts are not planned adequately and do not consider their needs and lifestyle.

33 per cent said that they only get one week or less notice of when they will be working.

Additionally, it is commonplace for many employees to work unpaid, unexpected overtime.

This can severely affect stress levels, resulting in quality of work slipping, as well as staff wishing to quit and find a new job altogether.

False flexibility

With most employers now offering flexible working as a perk in their job descriptions, why are so many missing the mark?

Anna Maybank, CEO of Breakroom, said:

“Too often, what is flexible for an employer isn’t flexible for a worker. Employers claim shift work is flexible, but with 50 per cent of workers reporting they don’t get any say over their shifts, that’s clearly not the case.”

The effect on health

It is clear to see that unreliable working hours, along with lack of communication and consideration, is a huge contributor to poor employee mental and physical health.

The survey found that a huge 82 per cent of shift workers have not received any training on the effects of shift work on their health.

Not only this, but employee morale and retention will naturally be affected, further creating implications for businesses.

What can be done?

As an employer, providing a good level of support is key.

Consider carrying out health checks, regular reviews, good line management care and evaluating working patterns when and where necessary.

Discussing shifts and obligations with staff in good time is essential, ensuring that you consider any special requests or aspects of employees’ lives and commitments.

Need advice? Let’s chat.