Shift work isn’t new, but the wellness needs of shift workers often remain underserved. As health coaches, we’ve been trained to help people make better lifestyle choices, yet how many of us have tailored our coaching to accommodate the unique needs of shift workers?
Why it Matters:
Shift workers face unique challenges such as irregular sleep patterns, increased stress, and a higher likelihood of developing chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. And here’s the kicker—about 20% of the workforce in industrialized nations are shift workers. That’s a significant demographic that we could fail if we don’t adapt our coaching methods to meet their needs.
The Gap in Health Information:
Most health advice is designed for those who work 9 to 5, leaving shift workers with limited, if not irrelevant, guidelines. The lack of targeted information exacerbates health disparities, making it harder for shift workers to find credible and applicable health advice. This gap is not just unfortunate; it’s irresponsible. As health coaches, we can and should be filling this information void.
Questions to Reflect On:
- Do you understand the unique physiological and psychological challenges of shift work?
- Have your coaching sessions been scheduled at flexible hours to accommodate shift timings?
- Are dietary behaviors mindful of the grocery-shopping constraints and meal timings that shift workers often face?
Practical Steps to Close the Gap:
- Research & Adapt: Equip yourself with the latest research about the health challenges specific to shift workers.
- Flexible Scheduling and Communication: Offer appointment slots outside the regular 9 to 5 and consider utilizing text-based services to make your services more accessible. Text-based consultations can be a lifeline for shift workers who may find committing to specific appointment times challenging.
- Customized Plans: Create wellness plans that take into account the erratic lifestyle, eating times, and stressors that shift workers face.
The Call to Action:
To ensure that we’re truly inclusive and effective in our coaching, it’s essential to educate ourselves. Our ShiftHC course is designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to make a real difference in the lives of shift workers. Click here to learn more.