It is not at all easy to work on a shift schedule. This is something that is often not properly understood. Those that do work shift schedules are often completely out of sync with daily, normal life activities of friends and family members. As ShiftPixy workers highlight, the result can be quite dire, including various different issues, like the following:
- Loneliness and social isolation – This can happen for the partner or for the worker.
- Not having enough time to spend with children.
- Missing large and small vents that are important – This includes things like graduations and birthday parties.
- Irritability or moodiness with friends, family or other workers.
- Decreased time quality with friends and family caused by being way too tired.
- Having problems with the other parent of your child due to lack of time.
- Sleep deprivation for the partner or for the worker – This happens because partners want to spend more time together but with shift work it is possible to end up sleeping during off-hours.
- High difficulty making family plans or social plans.
- High difficulty being part of regular family routines or coordinating them.
The good news is that there are different ways in which you can make the situation better. Dealing with your shift work is not that difficult if you think about the following.
One of the great things you could do is to create a visual calendar for the children. This allows them to know exactly what will happen. Something like this can be highly helpful. Be sure that you talk with the child and explain when you will see each other and manage to do some things together. Do be sure that you plan weekly activities of routine or special things so that they do have something that they can look forward to.
Then, you do want to plan your breaks in a strategic way. That will allow you to talk with your children before they go to sleep or after school. Even if you can only talk on the phone, it is something that helps a lot, especially since technology now allows video calls.
Last but not least, with children you do want to keep the small rituals alive. Examples can be given in a handwritten note that is added to the lunchbox.
One of the most important things is to have a good relationship with your partner that is based on communication. Even if you can only spend a little time together, you do want to talk without being distracted. Be sure that you talk to the other people that are now working shifts in order to understand what they do as they handle family and social life. Sharing ideas can help you make everything better in the long run.
After you get off the shift, allow for some transition time or get time to use to wind down. Do make family and social plans as ahead of time as possible. Do not overcommit to many different events. It is better to pick some dates that are more important.
The last tip we should say is that you want to inform those that are important to you about the fact that you might end up needing your sleep. In many cases this means that you cannot actually attend social gatherings.