Making Shift Work Work: Boosting Engagement for Shift Workers

Header for Boosting Engagement for shift workers

Working evenings, nights or weekend shifts can be incredibly isolating and challenging for employees. But research shows companies who make an effort to intentionally engage these team members see significant motivational, performance and retention benefits.

With some creative adjustments, you can start boosting engagement for shift workers and transform your company into a cohesive community. Here are some science-backed tactics to better engage your evening, night and weekend workers:

Boosting engagement for shift workers

Schedule Meetings at Shift-Friendly Times

Only holding meetings during weekday business hours excludes a large portion of your workforce and can lead to a feeling of disconnection amongst your teams. Consider hosting virtual or in-person all-hands meetings several times throughout the week or month to provide the opportunity for people from each shift to get involved.

Studies have shown that a lack of communication from managers can increase the risk of accidents of shift workers significantly. Increasing communication around these metrics improved figures by 39%! (1)

Create Dedicated Social Channels

Water cooler talk and impromptu socialising provides some really good bonding opportunities for standard weekday teams. But of course, shift workers miss out. Create dedicated social channels like Slack groups, WhatsApp threads or online forums for your evening, night and weekend staff to stay connected.

Having space to chat and collaborate provides a sense of community during long isolating shifts. It also provides some pretty impressive health benefits. With a reduction in emotional exhaustion of up to 39%, this isn’t one to overlook (2).

Promote Cross-Shift Mentorships

Experienced shift workers can provide invaluable guidance, training and support to new starters working the same hours. Facilitate mentorships between veteran and new staff and encourage experienced team members to orient new joiners one-on-one.

As well as increasing initial job performance by getting staff up to speed, you’ll also be increasing your retention rates. Studies have suggested a 28% increase in retention for those with a solid mentor program (3).

Offer Flexibility for Special Events

Make an extra effort to include shift workers in important company-wide events like holiday parties, sales conferences, service milestone celebrations or team building activities. Provide them schedule flexibility or host events multiple times at different hours so evening, night and weekend workers don’t feel excluded.

Need more studies to prove the worth? Some have found that inclusion in company social gatherings and special events improves shift worker satisfaction and morale by as much as 19% (4).

Solicit Direct Feedback

Check in regularly with shift staff to get their direct input on challenges and ideas for improvement. Anonymous surveys can encourage openness. Demonstrate you act on feedback by implementing suggested changes. Implementing a platform that can collect anonymous feedback is key.

Deputy’s 2021 trends highlight that 82% of shift workers want more communication from their companies! (5)

Analyse Policies Through a Shift Lens

It’s crucial to understand the unique needs and challenges of working evenings, overnights and weekends. Analyse if your current company policies around schedules, time off requests, workloads and hours accommodate shift worker needs.

Companies that did this managed to increase the motivation levels of their workers by 28%, as well as numerous health benefits (6).

Provide Wellness Support

Working overnight and weekends can be stressful, isolating and tough on mental health and work-life balance. Offer wellness initiatives like healthy meal delivery, meditation resources, on-site gyms and counselling. Encourage shift workers to take breaks and connect them with mental health resources.

One large study of European Nurses found that when given appropriate resources, those working 12+ hour shifts were 41%(!) less likely to leave their jobs then their counterparts with insufficient help. (7)

There we have it! With some adjustments to include your non-traditional work teams, you can significantly improve shift worker engagement, health, satisfaction and retention. Small changes really demonstrate that you value their contributions equally to standard weekday staff. By taking their unique needs into account, shift workers will feel more motivated, included and connected.



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