By Sarah Eglin, Head of People Partnering, Stores, Retail Support and Logistics and Emma Johnstone, People Partner, Change Delivery

Today marks an important milestone for our award winning Night Club, as we share our latest research piece ‘A Manifesto for Night Workers’ with Parliamentarians, businesses, charities and unions across the UK.

What is Night Club? 

Night Club is not just a shipping container, workshop, experience or installation, it’s so much more than that. Night Club is an initiative whereby retailers or businesses can sign up to continually improve the wellbeing and mental health of night shift workers. 

One in seven people work nights in Britain and are essential to the running of our 24-hour society. But the latest research shows that issues around sleep and sleep health are having a negative impact on workers’ jobs and wider lives. 

With multiple partners, Night Club is the award-winning initiative which brings together leading sleep researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester together with Liminal Space and the Wellcome Trust to explore ways to increase levels of engagement and job satisfaction among night shift workers.

After our shipping container toured across our depots, Angel Square and our leadership event meeting 8,000+ colleagues, this ignited a realisation at the most senior level in the Co-op that the challenges facing night shift workers are amongst the most serious raft of health and wellbeing issues.

What do we hope to achieve through our latest research?

Today, as we launch the research, we’ll alert Parliamentarians, policy makers, employers, and employee representative bodies, such as unions, to the genuine health risks facing night shift workers and policy needs to change alongside employer practices.

This’ll create the opportunity for the creation of a committed group of employers to join the Night Club campaign. So that they may too, access the tools and materials to bring sleep and circadian health information to their workers whilst making practical change to alleviate circadian strain. 

Our research, highlights the ‘5 R’s’:

  1. Recognise night shift workers and champion night workers as a coherent group
  2. Respond to their needs – place night shift workers at the heart of any solution
  3. Respect and understand that they face a specific set of challenges in a variety of working conditions
  4. Research-led – build an evidence base- to implement evidence-based solutions
  5. Raise their profile and mobilise a cross-industry response to mitigate these challenges

We hope, through our research, we’ll be able to build our Night Club campaign and accelerate the scale and depth of its impact, alert policy makers and parliamentarians to the health challenges being experienced by a growing proportion of the population and provide a template for how to start addressing wider health and social issues.

Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. Also the practice of giving night shift workers split rest days is not good.

    Health and mental well being are the things most at risk for night shift workers, especially those on permanent night shifts.

    One night off, working another 2 then having another is not good. Too erratic.

    More stable shift patterns would help.

  2. Perhaps a start would be to make depot senior teams aware that expecting night workers (of any level) to come into meetings at 12pm/1pm and then do a nights work later isn’t acceptable. I had to give up being a H&S rep as our H&S Manager wouldn’t reschedule the meetings, even on a rotation, as “it wouldn’t be fair to the dayshift colleagues to expect them to come in at 9pm”, whilst expecting myself and other night-shift reps to come in at 1pm!

    • Apologies that you have had to experience this situation. You are quite right, we need to look at how we make situations like this work in depots without impacting colleagues rest period between shifts. We are working on the 2021 plan for Night Club and what is next for our depots and the education piece around what you describe is critical and I will make sure it is the plans for 2021. If you want to discuss your situation in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact me via email in the first instance.

    • This also applies to “morning” meetings, scheduling meetings at 7:30 am with teams who have been working since 8 pm the previous evening is not conducive to effective engagement. There are numerous studies out there on the effect of night work, the business needs to learn from these studies.

      • Totally agree with you Kevin. Given our manifesto on Night Workers, 2021 will be an opportunity for us to educate Line Managers and try influence business practice.

  3. Great work!! Really exciting stuff 🙂

  4. When “Night Club” visited the head office site (angel square) I got the chance to speak with the head of the research team. He was surprised to hear we have shift/night workers at the head office and freely admitted they were not considered as he was unaware of their existence.
    When we chatted about the highly variable start times being different each day he also agreed naturally that it was not the best for anyones wellbeing.
    He did advise me it would be fed back. I never heard anything and wonder if anything was considered or put in place for head office workers?

    • Hi Robert

      I think you and I briefly touched upon this last year – the fact that Angel Square had Night Shifts. I would be interested to know more about Night Shift at Angel Square and what you describe. It would be useful for our plans for Night Club 2021- please can you get in touch with myself via email and we can take from there?

      • Hi, I have sent an email out with all the data I have for you.
        Thank you

        • No problem Robert, i will await the rest of your info before looking at it all. thanks again.

  5. This is great, myself and some colleagues have been delivering Headsmart sessions to our logistics colleagues on nights and the feedback we have received has been really positive. It would be great to think HS could be part of this initiative!

    • Hi Tracey, I have just had a call with a L&D specialist called Katherine Cooke to discuss Head Smart and Night Club – would be good if you could get in touch with me to discuss your thoughts on it as well? If you contact me by email in the first instance then we can go from there.

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