Night Shift Jobs
Society now runs on a 24/7 schedule. Cities no longer seem to sleep. For many workplaces, having a night shift is essential to meeting targets and customers' needs.
Many services work to meet the needs of society day and night, including medical services, emergency medical responders, police officers, customer service representatives, hotel staff and more.
Working the night shift can be a big change from working a nine to five job. It means working while many of your friends may be sleeping and sleeping while others are awake.
It also means missing some social events and time with family and friends.
Some night shift work can be great for those who do not like to work with many people, those who like to run errands with few people around or prefer less traffic on the road.
Is it worth it? Only you can decide.
What Are Night Shift Jobs?
Night shift jobs refer to the later shift in a workplace, but the hours can vary depending on the business or company.
Most night shifts begin after 10 p.m. and end by 8 a.m.
The starting and stopping times may vary depending on the business.
Some businesses may have a few different shifts that run at night, depending on their needs and hours.
Shifts can go by different names other than simply 'the night shift', including:
- The third shift
- Midnight shift
- Evening shift
- Closing shift
- The graveyard shift
More and more businesses see the need to use night shift workers as more of society operates on a 24/7 schedule.
Some night shifts are essential such as those for medical care, police and fire. Other night shifts are used so businesses can offer their customers more convenience and benefits, such as customer service centers or hotel staff.
Employing night shift workers can be beneficial for businesses. With another shift of workers coming on after the day shift leaves, work that was left unfinished can be completed and targets can be met more easily.
Companies can also feel secure knowing that their business is not sitting empty during the night.
A warehouse that might have sat empty and vulnerable to a break-in is now full of night employees keeping the workflow moving.
How Do Night Shifts Work?
No matter what set of hours you work outside of the standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the night shift will always be worked after the regular day is done.
Night shifts can take many different forms, depending on the job, the type of business and the length of shifts.
Shifts can fall into three different categories:
- Morning shift can usually run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Evening shift is usually 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. to around midnight
- Overnight shifts run from midnight until 8 p.m. or 9 a.m.
- Swing shifts involve working different sets of hours that can change
If employers use 12-hour shifts, then workers may work a different version of the work week, working both daytime and night time hours in the week.
Law enforcement and medical personnel follow this work week, working a few days of 12-hour shifts and then having a few days off.
While employers are not required to pay more to those working night shifts, there are generally some incentives for employers to do so.
Not everyone wants the night shift, so employers may offer more pay or other incentives.
Night Shift Job Examples
There are many jobs and careers that utilize a night shift. Some are obvious, and some you may not have thought of.
1. Emergency Services
Emergency services need to be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the community it serves, and that means requiring a night shift.
Doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, police and firefighters must be available around the clock.
All emergency services jobs have their own requirements for schooling and training that do not change with working at night.
Average salary: $50,000 per year for news reporters.
The news never sleeps, and so neither do its employees. Most news stations and newspapers have workers covering nights shifts to keep track of breaking news.
The public relies on its news outlets to relay urgent information they may need to respond to.
News reporters require a college or university degree, and the more experience you have, the higher the pay.
There are many jobs in the travel industry to accommodate overnight travelers, not to mention mail and packages that now offer a quicker turnaround time.
Airlines, trains, buses, taxis and truck drivers all require people to work the night shift to help transport people and materials.
Flight attendants require a high school diploma and specialized training, while truck drivers require a special drivers' license and on-the-job training.
Average salary: $12 per hour
Bartending is a fantastic job for those who like to work the night shift, stay up late and stay energized.
Bartenders also tend to make more during the night as that is when their client base is the biggest. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs are all at their busiest during the evening and night.
Bartenders, on average, make $12 per hour but can make way more than that with good tips. There is no schooling needed, and all training is done on the job.
A busy evening or when where a gathering or party is being hosted can double or even triple a bartender's tips.
5. Customer Service
Average salary: $17 per hour
Many businesses offer their customers 24/7 support to address customer concerns and retain customers.
Customers can have issues or concerns at any time of day and night, so many people work night shifts as customer service support.
Customer service jobs require on the job training.
6. Baker/Pastry Chef
Average salary: $14 per hour
Anywhere that sells baked goods wants their products to be freshly made for their morning customers.
Many bakers will begin work in the early morning hours to turn out tray after tray of goods to meet the demand.
Most jobs require bakery training as well as knowledge of restaurant standards.
Average salary: $36,000 per year for front desk clerks
Travel never stops, and neither do those who work in the hospitality industry. People need to check into hotels late; they may want late room service.
Many hotels have someone at the front desk at all hours, as well as cleaning and maintenance.
8. Security Guard
Average salary: $51,000 per year
Security guards are needed around the clock for businesses, hotels, hospitals and many other places. They require training as well as a license to carry a firearm if needed.
9. Road Paver
Average salary: $72,000 per year
Whether it is city or country, roads are always in need of repair. Some repairs are minor and can be done quickly, while others require several hours of time.
What better time to do this than at night, when the fewest number of drivers will be inconvenienced?
Being a road paver requires some strength and training about how to pave properly.
10. Warehouse Worker
Average salary: $30,000 per year
Warehouses operate on a 24 hour a day schedule to keep packages moving in and out. It can be a wonderful job if you like moving and like some solitude.
Warehouse workers need to be strong and will have some on-the-job training.
How to Get a Night Shift Job
Getting a night shift job can be just like getting any other job, depending on the position you are looking at. Jobs that require training or a degree will still require that even though it is now during the night.
The same job application process applies. Either submit a resume or fill out an application and then have an interview.
You may have to demonstrate certain skills (for bakery jobs or bartending) to make it to the employment stage.
There will be some interview questions about why you want to work the night shift. Be honest if you have a particular reason like school during the day or your spouse also works the night shift.
Be sure to stress any skills you may have that make you suitable for night shift work. Maybe you enjoy sleeping during the day or need little sleep to function. Perhaps you like working alone or when it is quiet.
Who Are Night Shift Jobs Suited To?
Night shift jobs are not suitable for everyone. There are both advantages and challenges to working the night shift, but there are ways to make it work if night shift work is what you want.
Here are some issues with night shift work and how it can work out:
You may think family dynamics will suffer if working a night shift.
If you have young children and both parents work a night shift, that could happen.
However, one spouse working a night shift can easily work out.
You will leave after dinner and return in time to have breakfast with your children, to sleep while your spouse and kids are off to work and school.
It is rumored that working night shifts can be bad for your health because you are working against the body's instinct to sleep at night.
While it may not be natural, with enough day sleep, eating well and staying fit, working at night should not be hard on your body.
You will be missing some much-needed vitamin D during the daytime hours, but there are supplements that you can take to counteract that.
Not everyone can sleep during the day and work at night for various reasons.
There may be other family members home during the day, too many distractions, the desire to be awake when it is daylight or simply the inability to sleep well during the day.
Those who work the night shift are usually not working a job that allows them to relax and rest. Therefore, a good night's sleep is required before reporting for duty.
If you work a job that allows it, a nap can help you make it through the night shift.
It helps relieve the pressure of your circadian rhythm to go to sleep and will help with your memory, alertness, blood pressure and mood.
If you are unable to sleep during the day, night shift work may not be for you.
For young people, this could be a deal-breaker.
It can be hard to have a social life when you sleep during the daylight hours and are working during the night when friends and family are likely to get together.
However, if you value meeting up with friends during the day rather than at night, you might find you prefer being free to go out when the shops are open.
Great for Introverts
Night shift work can be great for those who do not like dealing with people in many facets of their day.
They can choose a job that may leave them working alone or with few people.
Once they are done work and need to do some errands, the stores are much less crowded, as are the roads home.
Top Tips for Night Shift Workers
If you are thinking of taking on a night shift job, there are some tips that can help you get off to a good start.
Plan your week ahead and work out a routine. This will cause less stress for you and your family and allow you to fit extras into your life in the best way.
Let others know of your new schedule so you are not dealing with calls and messages during the day or constant invitations to things you cannot attend.
Make sure your family is prepared and is not looking to rely on you when you need to be sleeping.
Plan some meals ahead of time and have them prepared.
Try to avoid the trap of buying fast food at work or raiding the vending machines for snacks.
Bringing healthy meals from home will also help you save money.
Make time for exercise in your schedule, especially if your job does not involve much moving around.
It is not so much to get enough sleep but to also make sure your sleep is quality sleep.
Sleeping during the day means you may need to make some adjustments to your sleeping area.
Invest in some blackout blinds to keep the sun out and turn off any distracting electronic devices.
If you have a family at home or share a residence, ensure that they understand your daytime hours are for sleeping and not to be interrupted.
Try to stay on a schedule and sleep and wake at the same time each day.
Make Time for Social Life
For many, social life is very important.
While many get-togethers do take place at night, not everything does.
And if it doesn't, suggest some alternatives of your own.
Invite family and friends for a breakfast, or brunch get together or an early dinner before you need to get to work. There is also a lot of room for catching up with people on your days off.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
You may feel that chugging a lot of caffeine in the night will help you stay up, but it may end up keeping you too wired to fall asleep after your shift ends.
Drinking alcohol before starting your shift can dull your senses and make you less responsive, not to mention illegal to have an alcohol level while working.
Night shifts are always going to remain a part of society, especially as the world runs on a 24/7 schedule. Businesses will always need people to work the night shifts.
Night shift working has both advantages and disadvantages. It offers a lot of room for autonomy, more money, and less traffic on the road for commuting.
Night shifts can also affect your social life, your sleep and your family life. But if working the night shift is for you, there are ways to deal with those.
Working the night shift can be a great decision and a terrific way to earn a living while providing a needed service.