One of our users sent us this painfully honest account of the issues he faces working shifts. He was happy for us to publish this anonymously.
He wants other shift workers to know that they are not alone. Please do share with other shift workers. Your experiences and coping mechanisms can help other shift workers to remember, they’re not alone.
“Missing Out On Life!”
“I’ve worked every sort of shift in my working life. Some have been 9-5, but most of the time I’ve worked evening shifts and night shifts. The result is that I’ve felt like I’m missing out on life. The majority of people go out in the evening or in daylight hours. When you work shifts, you’re usually either working, sleeping or resting when other people are socialising.
Relationships really take a battering. I’m not there half the time when my partner is up and about. When something crops up and overtime is needed (it’s expected as a matter of course in my industry) I have to work it.
To sum up my personal experiences, I’ve missed out on parties, social gatherings and gigs as a result of shift work. I’m sure it was a contributing factor to a relationship breakdown.
Add in the timesink of commuting, and shift work can often feel like real life is put on hold for work.
“Health and Wellbeing”
The same also applies to health. While I’m robustly healthy, I’ve had stomach problems that I’ve not been able to address due to spending so many hours at work and commuting. I get little time for exercise, or for looking after myself.
In addition, there’s the general exhaustion that comes from working unusual hours. It has a knock on effect on general health, work performance and the motivation to do things outside work.
Without sufficient planned rest, I can feel myself burning out. I get resentful of work, and then my performance and accuracy suffers.
In addition, the knock on effect on my social life means all I often want to do when I get in is sit in front of the TV and do nothing. Even on a two day weekend I don’t do anything. Simply because me and my girlfriend are too tired to go out. It makes me stressed and depressed, with all the negative implications of that.
I work on an industrial estate where there is no canteen. There’s only chocolate machines and companies like Greggs in the surrounding locale. Try eating healthily when you haven’t got anywhere to get healthy food!
One of my colleagues, who drives trucks up and down the country on the nightshift, says preparing food at home is essential for him to keep a healthy diet. Again, this is a knock on effect on general health, as convenience food is often not the healthiest.
“Where’s the Support?“
Shift workers need support. The MyShiftPlanner app definitely benefits me. I can see when I need to rest up for and when I need to be in. It helps me plan accordingly. Make sure I get meal times, and gives me the chance to get social events in the calendar too. I need to be able to go out. But I need to know far enough in advance then things might be happening to plan ahead.
For employers, it can mean happy healthy employees who arrive fresh to do the best job they can.”
An Anonymous Shift Worker (UK)
Why We Build My Shift Planner
We built the My Shift Planner App to support shift workers. It exists to help them gain control of their working pattern and social life. Starting with a simple calendar app 5 years ago, My Shift Planner is now an essential tool that helps over 190,000 shift workers around the world every single day.
We are committed to constant development, to making the app better so that shift workers lives can be improved.
If you have any features you’d like to see in the app, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org