Extended-hours operations: Where's the support?
With human resource managers in most companies absent, uncovering the hidden costs of extended-hours operations and developing effective programs to reduce these costs is impeded, according to Acacia Aguirre, M.D., Ph.D., Circadian medical director and a principal author of Human Resources Management in the Extended Hours Workplace. â€œSince human resource managers are not usually on duty during the evening, nighttime or weekend shifts, impacting these excess costs is challenging,â€ said Aguirre.
Other support services, such as medical services and employee assistance programs, were also reportedly provided only to a limited degree to extended-hours workers in 2003, according to the survey, in which over 1,000 companies representing more than 150,000 extended-hours employees were questioned. If workers are unaware of or have limited access to these support services, then the benefits of providing the services, such as healthier workers and higher morale, are not fully realized.
The percentage of extended-hours companies that offer services to all shifts, according to Circadianâ€™s 2004 Shiftwork Practices Survey, include:
- Human resources: 21%
- Medical services: 18%
- Senior management: 18%
- Employee assistance programs: 15%
- Other services: 15%
Critical problems that extended-hours operations managers face include:
To help workers cope with the specific challenges presented by their extended hours work schedules, interventions such as medical surveillance of workers, implementation of health promotion programs, and disease management programs have proven to be efficient and to present a good return on investment.
An executive summary of Human Resources Management in the Extended Hours Workplace can be obtained by contacting Circadian Media Relations Coordinator Tracy Maddaloni at (781) 676-6900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.