Feb 28, 2009

New site offers publications for 24/7 operations

My old friends at Circadian Information, now of Stoneham, Massachusetts, have launched a new site to promote and sell their publications.  It has been 7 years since I left Circadian and they have created many new reports and resources during that time, but I am delighted to see that many of the publications I started are still available -- Working Nights, the monthly employee newsletter for shiftworkers; Managing 24/7, a monthly newsletter for managers of 24/7 operations; the whole Working Nights series of training pamphlets, and a few others.  These are publications that can be tremendously valuable for managers, policy makers, and shiftworkers and their family members.  I encourage you to take a look.
 
Full disclosure:  I have NO ongoing relationship with any of the Circadian companies or its employees (other than social connections I maintain with some).  I was the founding publisher, Managing Director of Circadian Information, and an owner of Circadian Information.

Jan 8, 2009

Police force goes back to 8-hour shifts

The Elmira, New York (USA) police department tried 12-hour shifts in 2008 but has decided to return it's an 8-hour shift schedule.  This bucks a trend towards 12-hour shifts.  But, unique circumstances may have doomed the 12-hour shift schedule.  Soon after the switch, the department was hit by unexpected reductions in staffing due to retirements and injuries.  The result was greater buden on management.  We at the National Shiftwork Information Center don't see this as the beginning of trend away from 12-hour shifts.

Dec 5, 2008

Canadian Wal-Marts open 24-hours to hlep shiftworkers and others

In Canada, Wal-Marts stay open 24-hours a day in December, and many of them do so year round.  This is a practice they've been doing for many years.  According to Kevin Groh, director of corporate affairs, Wal-Mart Canada Corp. "This would be our fourth year across Canada. Initially it started as a test and what was initially something of a novelty has become, as we see it, fairly mainstream. The question we're frequently asked is who is taking us up on the offer of 24-hour shopping, and really what we're seeing is people whose lives simply don't fit a nine-to-five schedule.  Last year, we opened many stores heading into Christmas, but coming out of Christmas we actually left 25 of them open permanently and they haven't closed since."
 
Groh said communities where people do a lot of shift work and neighbourhoods where there are lots of young families especially like the convenience.
 
Yes!. The National Shiftwork Information Center applauds Wal-Marts for being aware of the needs of this important consticuency.

New drug mimicks melatonin to help jet lag -- shiftworkers too -- but ...

Vanda Pharmaceuticals is working to bring to market tasimelteon, a drug that mimicks the effects of the homrone melatonin and can be used to help reset human biological clocks.  This, of course can be useful for those travelling across time zones and for shiftworkers looking to adjust their sleep schedules.  Of course, melatonin is already on the market as a supplement (meaning it's not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. 
 
You should consult your physician before using melatonin, and of course you would have to consult your physician before using tasimelteon since you'll need a prescription.  But for those on rotating shifts and fixed night shiftworkers who want to adjust faster for off days, melatonin might be part of your strategy.

Dark glasses and sleep scheduling can help shiftworkers sleep -- news flash ... NOT!

Recently we've been receiving a lot of announcements about new techniques and new drugs that can help shiftworkers to get better sleep.  For instance, a new study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago says shiftworkers can use exposure to light and darkness, using dark glasses and specific sleep schedules.  (The study is published in the December issue of Sleep.)
 
--  The National Shiftwork Information Center supports further research but why are news sources reporting this like it's new?
 
 
 

Oct 31, 2008

Don't forget daylight savings time this weekend

Early Sunday morning, we'll add an hour this weekend.  While the rest of the world gets an extra hour of sleep, shiftworkers on duty work an extra hour.  Be careful driving home from work, and make sure you get paid for that extra hour :)

Oct 12, 2008

Another police department looks at moving to 12-hour shifts

The Silver Spings (Maryland, USA) police department is considering moving to a 12-hour shift.  The proposed schedule will include some 8-hour days to ensure that there are 80 hours per pay period.  The shift schedule provides for more days off, as 12-hour shifts do.  Initially, the new shift schedule will be used on a pilot basis for 6 months and then be evaluated for further use.  As always, length of shift provide a trade-off between alertness, safety, and performance on one hand and days off on the other.  Twelve-hour shifts have been widely used and proven safe in many circumstances.  Unlike the 24-hour police shift that has been recently proposed elsewhere, the National Shiftwork Information Center does not have undue concerns about a 12-hour shift schedule.

For more information on this, see Police considering longer shifts:Some excited about potential move to 12-hour shifts, others concerned.

Oct 8, 2008

Shiftwork consultants weigh in on savings of compressed work week

The folks at Shiftwork Solutions have written a nice article on the gas, environmental, and time savings to be had from switching to a 4 day/week, 10-hour day schedule. The article, Rising Gas Prices Put a Squeeze on the Work Week, appeared on the Industry Week website. It's not exactly a shiftwork issue, but it's an interesting read.

Oct 5, 2008

Circadian announces sleep apnea partnership, more

I came across my friends at Circadian a couple of times this week. This week I saw an item on Wall Street Journal's Marketplace -- "CIRCADIAN Partners With Sleep Pointe, Adding Comprehensive Obstructive Sleep Apnea Screening, Treatment and Compliance Services to Their Leading Fatigue Risk Management Solution for Transportation and Other 24/7 Industries." I have close family experience with sleep apnea and know too well it's costs. Managers of shiftwork operations will do well to be aware of obstructive sleep apnea and may want to screen employees periodically as a way both to promote shiftworker health as well as safety and productivity on the job.

The other place I encountered Circadian was on the Embedded.com website (for software developers) --
"Programmers are people, too: Experts tell us interesting facts about our work lives that we may know but deny: programmers have human limitations."
The article caught my eye because it cites Circadian's Shiftwork Practices 2005 survey. This is an annual survey conducted by Circadian that I created. It's the only extensive survey of shiftwork operations and provides insights into a wide range of shiftwork management practices. You can find more information about it at www.Circadian.com.

NOTE: Just to be clear, your faithful blogger, Executive Director of the National Shiftwork Information Center, was the Managing Director at Circadian Information in the late 1990s. I have NO ongoing ties to Circadian, and in fact stepped away from the shiftwork world for 5 years before founding the National Shiftwork Information Center.