As the growth of the internet enhances connectivity between different regions of the world, more and more businesses are extending their traditional business hours to account for overseas markets. As a result, 24/7 business operations are becoming commonplace in some industries. But how can you possibly manage an around-the-clock business efficiently?
Four Things to Think About
“While the challenges are manyfold for employees, the task of managing a 24/7 operation and creating a schedule for these workers is just as complex,” says Ming Ong of ShiftPlanning. “Not only do you always need to keep an eye on employee morale and make sure that your staff is healthy, happy and productive under very demanding work circumstances, you also have to deal with complex calculations and pay issues that are a direct result of running an around-the-clock business.”
Let’s begin with scheduling, since this is one of the first issues businesses encounter when moving to 24/7 operations. Whereas in a traditional nine-to-five business you can get away with consistent scheduling, there has to be some variation in a 24/7 business operation. You can’t work employees around the clock and need to remember that the vast majority of workers don’t particularly enjoy night shifts.
Trying to remember when people can work and how many hours each employee has already worked during a given shift, week, or month can be difficult. That’s why you should think about automating and streamlining the scheduling process to account for employee needs and preferences.
There’s a personal and emotional side of running a business around the clock. In order to remain productive, you have to keep your employees happy. Are you giving your night workers the same opportunities, advantages, and respect that your daytime workers get? It’s easy to feel like nighttime operations aren’t nearly as important – especially early on – but you have to avoid this temptation to discount certain shifts.
If you feel like employee morale is low on the night shift, consider incentivizing employees who work non-traditional hours. By showing them that you are thinking about them, you can provide a much-needed jolt.
“One thing that you need to recognize, above all else, when it comes to managing a 24/7 operation is that your employees are not machines,” Ong says. “There are so many things to take into consideration when you have employees who are working irregular hours and forced to perform under sometimes very unusual and stressful circumstances.”
In order to stay on top of your employees, install some sort of quality fatigue management system. This system ensures your employees are performing at adequate levels and keeps everyone safe.
Finally, you need to think about security. While security matters around the clock, it’s especially important when it comes to nighttime operations. You need to be extra vigilant during these hours, especially if you aren’t operating at full capacity.
It’s a good idea to think about enhancing your security measures. Maybe hire a nighttime security team if you’re worried about employee or premises safety. As they say, better safe than sorry!
Take Control of Your Business Operations
The key is to step in before things get out of control. If you don’t pay attention to these areas, you’ll pay for it on the back end – that’s a guarantee. Understand what needs to be dealt with and make sure your hand is directly involved with it. Around the clock business operations are necessary for many industries – make sure you’re handling it in the right way.
Check out some of our other business tips