What Is The Cost Of A Non-Consistent Work Schedule? And How Can It Be Fixed

Estimated read time 10 min read

Many managers understand that scheduling efficiently not only makes them easier to manage, but also makes their employees and clients happier.

Inconsistent work schedules can have the opposite impact. Shiftwork is bad for employee health. The effects of shift work can be disastrous.

This article will help you understand the consequences of an irregular schedule, and how to manage it without losing productivity.

What constitutes an irregular work schedule

A work schedule that is irregular can make it difficult for the employee to plan their budget and personal life. The days and hours of work are not consistent from week to week.

Most of the workers earn less than $40K per year.

Work shifts

There are four main types of shifts:

  • First Shift: Work during the Day
  • Second Shift: swing-shift with an afternoon start; may overlap first and third shifting
  • Third Shift: graveyard shift or overnight shift
  • Weekend Shift: Employee works on the weekends

The tricky part is the variations on these shifts.

  • Fixed Shift: Employee works the same schedule every day
  • Rotating Shift: changing shifts during the week or throughout the month
  • Split Shift: Employee works two shifts during a single day
  • Closing shift: employee performs closing shift followed by opening shifting
  • Mandatory overtime Employee is required to work more hours despite overtime pay, which may lead to an involuntary employment at full time.
  • Employees must be on-call to cover any additional shifts.
  • Just in time: just like on call, the employee must be available to work but there is no guarantee that work will be provided.

The fixed schedule is an exception. However, other shifts could be considered irregular or inconsistent.

Effects of a work schedule that is inconsistent

Employees who have a schedule that is inconsistent find it difficult to plan their lives outside of work.

This can lead to stress and adverse effects. In a recent study, 60% employees who had irregular work schedules showed physical symptoms of stress such as stomachaches or headaches. But it gets worse.

Increased Risk of Obesity

A work schedule that is irregular means that meals are consumed at different times throughout the 24 hour period.

Researchers have found that irregular eating can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

The internal “time clock”, which is necessary to maintain a constant weight, gets thrown off by the irregularity of the employee’s sleep schedule. The obesity epidemic is the leading cause of several serious diseases. This leads to an increase in sick leave, health insurance use, and absenteeism.

Health risks associated with sleep deprivation

Unreliable schedules can affect the ability of employees to sleep enough.

Employees who are sleep-deprived have an increased risk of injury at work, decreased productivity, more errors and a reduced ability to interact emotionally with coworkers and clients in the appropriate way.

Sleep-deprived people make decisions and respond to situations in a similar way as those under the influence of alcohol. Even 18 hours of sleep deprivation has a measurable equivalent to 0.05% alcohol. It’s equivalent to a 0.1% blood alcohol level after 24 hours.

Employee Burnout

Employee burnout is caused by the stress of working too many or not enough hours. It is important to manage employee stress as early as possible.

On-call shifts are not the solution, as they don’t reduce their working hours at all except for their pay. Employees live in constant tension because they don’t know if they will be needed. Studies have shown that on-call employees need to take rest and recovery time just like if they were paid for the time spent at work.

Reduced productivity

The studies show that employees who feel tired or not at their best are less productive .

It’s even more fascinating that our brains function better with a routine. Routines help reduce decision fatigue and willpower. They also allow you to concentrate on what is important rather than worrying about the next step.

Habit and routine are more powerful than willpower. Unreliable work schedules eliminate routine.

Mental Health Issues

People who work night shifts, even if they do so only occasionally, are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders.

Unpredictable work hours and unpredictable income can also lead to conflicts at home. 26 percent of employees who have irregular schedules report frequent conflict at home.

Improve staff wellbeing with schedule changes

In some industries, it is impossible to avoid shift work schedules. The nature of the work, whether in healthcare, factories, or services, is what makes it so.

You can still take steps to minimize the negative impact of an irregular schedule, and improve both your employee’s lives as well as your bottom line by reducing absenteeism.

In a tight job market, having a predictable or consistent work schedule is a valuable benefit.

Get better at planning your shifts

The art of shift planning.

It may not be necessary to have as many employees as you thought, or they may be scheduled in a less-than-optimal way.

Improve shift planning by using scheduling apps and other tools, such as . This helps to reduce employee burnout, labor costs, and the need for additional staff.

Adopting a rotating schedule

Rotating Schedule helps employees to share in the “pain” associated with an unpopular shift.

Rotating too fast can be stressful for employees. They cannot adjust to a new schedule before being scheduled for another activity.

You can still adopt a schedule with a consistent execution, even if it is technically inconsistent. Be consistent with the rotation of each shift. This allows employees to plan ahead, and they will know when it is possible for them to take a vacation.

Adopting a scheduling approach based on predictive analytics

Many states have passed laws requiring the use of predictive scheduling to help employees manage their budgets and schedules.

Some states do not have such laws.

Adopt the practice even if your business is in a state which does not require it. Plan several weeks ahead. When possible, avoid making changes at the last minute. Employees can decline to work hours less than 11 hours after their last shift, without fear of retaliation.

Protect employees from themselves. Some employees may agree to work extra hours when they shouldn’t because of health issues.

Put people first

It’s easy to fill gaps in your schedule with irregular scheduling, but it can be brutal for your team. Your schedule may need to be adjusted to accommodate what your team can do.

Are you looking to change your working hours? Do you have to adjust your hours? Are you ready to make changes in the way you offer products and services? Would more automation be helpful?

It’s counterproductive to burn out your team in order to keep up a “we have always done it that way” attitude.

How do you support employees with a fluctuating work schedule

It’s important that you acknowledge the impact of irregular schedules on your staff.

You’ll need to fix the toxic environment created by tired and overworked workers if you don’t try to reduce its impact.

Manage time-off requests fairly

Manage time-off requests fair can reduce the need for some employees to fill in for those who have already been granted time off.

All employees require time off. However, it must be managed so that no one is forced to work extra hours, to take time off on the days they least want to, or to cover for an absent employee.

It is important to have a clear policy on time off, and scheduling tools which make it easy for employees to comply.

When possible, show your appreciation to staff

You can show your appreciation to employees in many ways, including by offering perks or focusing on wellness. However, the key is to take into consideration the entire schedule.

For example, night shift workers often miss out because most events are held during the day. The events or perks offered should be similar to the day shift, or held during shift crossover. This will allow everyone a chance at benefiting.

How to reduce overtime

Forced overtime can be caused by inefficiency, such as poor training or a lack of equipment.

Reducing overtime for employees can give them more time to spend with their family. When I Work, a scheduling app, makes it easy to identify overtime patterns.

Make management easier with scheduling tools

According to studies, employees with more control of their schedules enjoy better mental health.

Your employees will feel empowered by using a scheduler such as When I Work. The employees can easily swap schedules, and request PTO. Checking their phones allows them to see what is coming up in the schedule.

Scheduling software should be able to reduce all the burdens and barriers that come with an irregular schedule.

Schedule changes more easily with When I Work

When I Work helps you to improve your scheduling and the experience of your employees.

  • Scheduling is automated, consistent and automated
  • Managers can save time by creating and managing a work schedule
  • On their mobile devices, employees can easily view shifts at all times.
  • Employees may request changes, swap their shifts, or request time off depending on the way you have set up your system.
  • It is easy to communicate between managers and employees

The right tools can make inconsistent schedules less painful.

Inconsistent work schedules: FAQs

What are the effects on a work schedule that is inconsistent?

The health of employees, both physically and mentally, can be adversely affected.

Stress in the family and personal life can also lead to sleep deprivation and obesity. Sleep deprivation, obesity, and other health issues can be caused by sleep deprivation. These include heart disease, high pressure, reduced immunity, and many more.

This leads to increased costs and absenteeism. It can also have a domino affect when other employees are forced to cover the gaps in the schedule.

What scheduling practices can managers use to minimize the risk of adverse effects?

Managers should not schedule employees to work consecutive shifts which will prevent them from getting enough sleep. Clopening or mixing day and nightshifts together. Reduce risks by shortening shift lengths, rotating the rotation more slowly, allowing employees to adapt, and monitoring overtime and time-off requests.

When I Work is a great tool for simplifying scheduling.

They empower employees with minimal barriers to control their schedule. From their mobile device, they can check their schedules, contact their managers or coworkers to request time off, switch shifts and more. It’s like having a better balance between work and life at their fingertips.

How can employees cope with an unpredictable schedule?

Employees have a responsibility as well, which begins with the employee recognizing how important good sleep is. To establish a routine that promotes sleep, you may need to limit caffeine intake or eat earlier in the day. Healthy eating and exercise are important components.

It is important that employees communicate with their managers on any issues they may have, including preferences for scheduling. This is made easy by a scheduling tool such as When I Work.

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