Five Tips For Shift Workers

Since we work shift work in our press room, I thought I would take a survey of everyone on the presses and see what advice they had to offer for those with rotating shifts.  I came up with five tips that I hope will help any pressmen out there to make the best of it.  I don't necessarily agree with every point, but hey, you are free to disagree too.  Here goes.

1.  Have a nap in your car.  I've never tried this, but it's not a bad idea.  After a night shift, one of our pressmen goes to his car, puts the seat back and attempts to take a nap.  If he falls asleep then he was too tired to drive home.  If he doesn't after 5 minutes, he drives home.  That's his way of being safe on the road.

2.  Black out your windows.  Tin foil or metal blinds usually do the trick.  A pitch black room that is nice and cool is all too good for sleeping.  I use metal blinds and wear ear plugs - the soft foamy kind.  That's right, all day at work, and all the time I'm asleep.  

3.  A good workout when you first get up.  We have a few pressmen that are into body building.  They say that when they do a good workout after getting up, that they sleep much better that night.  Kind of makes sense.   

4.  Stimulants.  Energy drinks or just coffee.  Take your pick.  Seems like most of our guys use one or the other for staying awake on the night shift.  For some, drinking coffee even just before going to sleep doesn't seem to bother them.  However everything I've read about promoting sleep tells you not to drink alcohol or any stimulant just before sleeping.

5.  Consider fixed shifts.  I take this tip from another press room where I worked 8 years ago.  Everybody hated shifting.  A poll was taken.  All those that wanted steady day shift would get a 5% decrease in pay.  Those that wanted afternoon shift would stay the same and those on night shift got a 5% increase.  Amazingly, all pressmen were split almost evenly and three crews were made on one press with steady shifts.  None rotated.  Those that were a little miffed about it soon loved the fact that they were not shifting.  Put a bug in the ear of your supervisor.  You never know.

If you have any other ideas, please leave a comment and share it with the rest of us.

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