Many businesses implement night shifts for a variety of reasons. A good example here would be hospitals and hotels, which need to stay open for patients and guests who may arrive at any and all hours. There are also companies that have clients from overseas, as well as manufacturers that produce high-demand products or use machines that require extensive set-up and/or maintenance.
In the cleaning industry, a commercial cleaning company may schedule night shifts to avoid disrupting operations during peak business hours. While it may be inconvenient, it’s often necessary to provide better services.
That said, night-shift cleaning isn’t all that different from other night-shift jobs with regard to health and safety hazards. Here are some tips that will benefit both owners and workers of cleaning companies when it comes to ensuring the safety and efficiency of nighttime jobs:
Don’t Work Alone
There are some jobs that are meant to be completed by a single individual, and there are some jobs that are best accomplished by multiple workers. When it comes to cleaning, particularly during a night shift, the latter is definitely recommended.
Aside from the job being completed much faster and more efficiently, assigning two or more people to clean a big space helps increase safety. For example, if someone accidentally falls off a ladder, someone can immediately provide first aid and/or call emergency responders.
Another benefit of this night-shift cleaning setup is that it allows cleaners to have conversations. Remember: the human body is meant to be resting at night, so most people will be sleepy or sluggish at this time. Having someone to talk to can make people feel more alert and awake.
Play Some Music
Speaking of feeling more alert and awake, playing some music while working a night-shift cleaning job may help engage the brain and fight off drowsiness.
Of course, make sure to consider the location. For instance, there are plenty of offices that share the floor of a building with other businesses that are also implementing night shifts. If so, be considerate and keep the music at a reasonable volume.
Implement Frequent Breaks
According to experts, when employees take regular work breaks, they enjoy plenty of benefits like the following:
- Increased productivity
- Restored focus
- Increased job satisfaction
- Better decision-making output
- Better mental and emotional health
Note that this is usually posited in the context of daytime jobs. Nevertheless, there’s no reason not to apply the same principle to the night shift. In fact, it can even be argued that breaks are more necessary for nighttime jobs because. Remember: the body is supposed to be resting during these “graveyard hours.”
For night-shift cleaning, taking breaks every hour or so can promote alertness; it also prevents physical strain.
Keep a Strategic, Consistent Schedule
No matter the profession, working a night-shift job messes with a person’s circadian rhythm. To prevent further disruption to the body’s natural processes, try to be as consistent as possible when drawing up a night-shift cleaning schedule.
With a more regular sleep pattern, cleaners can come to work feeling more refreshed. That said, the best thing to do is to limit consecutive night shifts.
Ensure Good Lighting
It’s difficult to get cleaning done in the dark, not to mention the accidents it can cause. In short, ensure that there’s good lighting whenever you’re conducting any night-shift cleaning jobs. If necessary, bring additional lamps or other sources of illumination.
Avoid Foods That Make You Feel Sleepy
If you’re working the night shift, it’s best to avoid foods that can induce feelings of sleepiness or lethargy. For example, turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that induces the production of the hormone melatonin. In turn, melatonin regulates your body clock and tells your brain that it’s time to sleep.
You should also avoid foods with a lot of carbohydrates and sugar. These are great sources of energy, but they can also make you feel fatigued or bloated.
Practise Good Nighttime Driving Habits
When going to and from the job site, chances are, you’re going to be driving the company vehicle in the dark. Stay safe by practising good nighttime driving habits like the following:
- Dim your dashboard lights
- Clean your headlights for better illumination
- Clean the windshield for better visibility
- Stay well below the speed limit
- If you wear glasses, look for anti-reflective lenses
Establish a Check-In System
To stay safe when you’re working the night-shift, it’s a good idea to always check-in with your team. Create a system so that you know where everyone is at all times, beyond the usual clock-in and clock-out at the start and end of the shift.
A check-in system will also help in terms of keeping the cleaning staff alert. Think of it as a kind of alarm. For example, you can buzz in every hour to remind your staff to take a quick break; then, require them to buzz you back by sending a message in a chat group or app.
While it’s not an ideal situation, particularly with regard to health, wellness, and safety, sometimes you really have to schedule night-shift cleaning jobs. Hopefully, the tips mentioned here can help you stay safe.