4 Pillars of Shiftwork Success

The 4 Pillars of Shiftwork Success® is a wellness framework that can be used by any shiftworker to help them develop habits and skills to live a little better. It was developed in response to shiftworkers asking for a way that they could help each other in a structured and informed way.

To meet this need in January 2020 Shiftwork Services trialed The 4 Pillars Programme. It was fantastically received with participants from SPARK, OfficeMax and Ministry of Defence using this model to promote wellness among their staff. What worked was blending evidence based principles with personal preferences and measurable outcomes.

In this Blog we will have a brief look at the 4 Pillars framework and how you can start using it today.

Pillar 1 – Sleep.  
Getting adequate sleep is the number 1 Pillar because without it symptoms of fatigue cause poor performance as well as problems with health and safety. We asked our shiftworking clients their top sleep tips when working unsocial hours. They told us a well set up bedroom, a good bed time routine and a relaxation technique such as mindfulness, deep breathing or visualization solves most sleep problems.

Pillar 2 – Alertness 
Shiftworkers learning about this Pillar are sometimes surprised at how well some alertness strategies work especially power napping. Power napping is well researched, drug free and safe in most situations yet many organisations don’t allow it. We suggest that if you power nap at work ask someone else to keep time for you (to make sure you get back to work) and when you finish take a few moments prior to engaging in any safety critical tasks like driving. This is one of many alertness strategies. To learn more visit our Blog “Staying Awake On The Night Shift’

Pillar 3 – Physical activity  
This is so important not just for general health but research suggests that even small amount of of exercise can have immediate and positive effects on attention and memory. Shiftworkers who find it hard to schedule regular exercise try and exercise at work by walking, using the stairs and even using a standing desk with wobble board. Finding time to exercise when working shifts can be an issue but we challenge every shiftworker to set an exercise goal today.

Pillar 4 – Work-life Balance   
This is the last pillar and for many shiftworkers the most difficult one to get right. How often do we hear shiftworkers say they missed their children’s birthday or family event because they were at work. There is no easy fix but involving families in staff training can help so they learn about work demands and how to be more supportive at home. Also teaching staff to use a work-life balance tool such as ‘The Wheel Of Life” to identify priorities and set goals can help.

If you would like a FREE PDF of the Wheel of Life write to fiona@shiftwork.co.nz

For more information about how to use the 4 Pillars of Shiftwork Success® in your organisation email fiona@shiftwork.co.nz