Work-life balance is more than just a buzzword in the job market; it’s critical for employees to maintain their physical and mental health. A Deloitte survey of 1,000 workers found 77% of full-time employees have experienced burnout on their job. And unfortunately, the risk of burnout can be even higher for those who work alternate shifts, as nonstandard hour can make work-life balance hard to find.
Balancing Life and Career
By way of reminder, the first shift is what most people consider a “normal” workday. It’s usually 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but it can vary an hour either way depending on a business’s needs. The second shift usually runs from 4 or 5 p.m. to midnight or 1 a.m. Finally, the third shift – otherwise known as the “night shift”– starts anywhere from 10 p.m. to midnight and ends between 6 and 8 a.m. the next day. As you can see, any other shift besides 9 to 5 can create the need for some adjustments. Here are some suggestions for reclaiming work-life balance during unusual hours.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
No matter how important you consider your job, it’s more important to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy. To do so with an alternate shift requires you to be proactive in establishing a regular sleep schedule. Most adults need 7 hours of sleep per day, but if your shift makes it difficult to get 7 hours at a time, consider getting a few hours of sleep at the end of your shift, then a few more later in the day (or night).
Also, keep an eye on your health. If you’re sick, take time off to recover. If you’re experiencing depression or other signs of mental illness, see a medical professional. Remember – you’re worth taking care of!
Make Sure You Love Your Job
If you work an alternate shift, you can alleviate some of the negative impact on your work-life balance by working at a job you love. Doing work you enjoy – particularly if that work helps others – can replenish the job satisfaction that might be drained by having to work odd hours.
Communicate Your Schedule
One area of work-life balance that can be particularly hard to deal with on an alternate shift is missing time with your family and friends. To counter this possibility, make sure your loved ones and your social contacts are aware of your schedule, and let them help you proactively schedule quality time that fits in with the other pieces of your calendar.
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