Thursday, July 16, 2009

Highs and Lows of Working on the Night Shift

I am one of those night owls as some of you may call it or here in the Philippines I may be tagged as "aswang" - a Filipino slang for shapeshifters or mythical, evil, vampire-like creatures that generally roam at night. I may be tagged as one not because I look or act like one but simply because I'm awake at night and asleep by day.

Working on the night shift for more than seven years exposed me to the pros and cons of the job. During these hard times, with recession ongoing in some parts of the world (Philippines included), I find it amazing that some BPOs here in Manila are still hiring for more employees. I see their ads on the net, on the newspapers, on streamers/banners and I even received one text message scheduling me for an interview eventhough I never applied for any position in that company. Hence, the inspiration for this blog. What drives young and old professionals alike to alter their body clocks and work on the night shift? And what makes those working on the night shift leave their jobs making the demand for more BPO employees rise? Let me share with you my views.

1. Good compensation and benefits package. Most companies offer a basic compensation of 10,000 Php, with hmo coverage. As for those getting hired for the night shift (well, most BPOs really, even those with shifting scheds), basic compensation starts at 14,000 Php, with hmo coverage, transportation allowance, rice allowance, hazard pay and 20% up of night differential.

2. Assistance on tuition fees for those wanting to extend their education. I've heard of most companies offering this additional benefit to their employees especially for those working at night.

3. Some companies offer sign in bonuses.

4. Unlimited cups of coffee, chocolate drink or tea.

5. Working on the night shift gives you more time during the day to do chores, process legal documents without taking a leave from work (as government offices are open during the day shift).

6. Drive your kids to school and fetch them afterwards.
1. It's hard to sleep during the day. Especially for a humid country like the Philippines, the afternoons are the worst because the temperature can get as high 42.2 °C (108 °F), well that was on April 29, 1912 in Tuguegarao according to Nowadays, the hottest it has gone was 34°C.

2. Deep eye bags.

3. Hyperacidity (for frequenting the vendo machine for the unlimited coffee)

4. Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure) due to lack of sleep.

5. Hormonal changes.

6. Stress. Studies show that most people working on the night shift are more prone to stress than those working on the day shift. (Ref. American Journal of Epidemiology)

As we can see we are basically torn between two things when deciding if we should or should not work on the night shift: money or health. It all depends because what works for some might not work for the others.  Decide wisely.

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