Shift workers’ health is more at risk, and we are doing nothing.

Did you know our shift-working professionals have a harder time with sleep, meeting nutritional demands, managing stress, getting proper medical care, and having a higher risk of physical and mental health issues?

In 2007 the WHO (World Health Organization) listed shift work as a probable human carcinogen. Not just possible, probable.

A study found that cardiovascular issues increase by 40% among shift workers. Just by being in a job you love your risk of heart issues is 40% higher.

For those who work rotating shifts, their chance of diabetes increases by 60%. Think about our nurses and first responders; those who save our lives are more at risk of diabetes.

Shift workers are 28% more likely to struggle with mental health issues.

Yet most corporate health and wellness programs are designed for salaried-waged employees who typically work 9 am to 5 pm, and while they have many health risks, they don’t pose the risk our shift-working professionals do. In my 10+ years of experience in health and wellness events, none were designed with the lifestyle of a shift worker in mind. Most often, when someone talked about getting the employees from production, the general response was, “they are not salaried employees” or “they are union workers,” as if their health didn’t matter.

If our shift workers are more at risk of health issues, why are we not designing wellness programs for them?

We have to do better we have to start valuing our shift-working employees and helping them better support their physical and mental well-being.

The problem is we just can’t take what we have been doing in corporate wellness and replicate it for our shift employees everything is different such as:

  • routines
  • meal times and nutritional demands
  • sleep cycle
  • life demands
  • when they can visit health professionals
  • stress levels and stress management styles

It’s not a one size fits all approach.

What we need to do is take a close look at their lives and lifestyles and being crafting advice that fits their lifestyle.

Start by designing wellness programs around the times they are employees are working. Expecting a third shift worker to wait around the facility until 10 am or come back later when the wellness event starts is unacceptable. I have been known to be at facilities at 5 am to help support the third shift crew, so I would recommend asking if the wellness event can start earlier or if there can be a second day to cover second and third-shift employees.

This has been my mission from helping organizations and individuals and even training other health and wellness professionals to better support our shift-working professionals.

If you are a health and wellness professional click here to learn more on how you can help better support our shift-working professionals.

If you are an organization that would like to better support your shift-working professional, contact us at

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