”Follow the sun” is a term we hear a lot from companies offering 24/7 support to their customers. Running a smooth operations of Technical Support or SOC team to perform at their best specially night shifts can be challenging.

Often when hiring companies stress a lot on the technical abilities of the person without taking into consideration the ”Human Factor”. Having a team performing at their peak and in a state of flow requires fine tuning. This goes beyond technical abilities, salary package or extra benefits.

Sleep and the Circadian System

The circadian system keeps us in sync with the 24-hour day. The internal clock is to regulate when you feel alert and when you’re ready to sleep. We each have our own internal clock that differs from one another – hence the term ”Night Owl and ”Early Bird”. So, if a team consist of 30% ”Early Birds” on a late/night shift performance is likely to be low, more mistakes and drop outs happens.

Artificial bright lights

There are adverse consequences of shift work for performance, safety, and health which is contributed to extensive exposure to artificial bright lights. Having a ceiling-mounted LED luminaires, which can be adjusted to provide light of varying intensity and colour temperature might be a good solution. Another approach is to use blue light. Blue wavelength of light suppresses the body’s natural production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. This can have a profound effect on an individual’s wakefulness.

Shifts patterns

Having a routine shifts pattern for employees ideally 4-on 4 off so that employees can get enough sunlight exposure is important for the wellbeing of staffs.

Relaxing, sleeping pods space

Having a relaxing space where employees can rest or take a quick nap will increase performance.

Creating a Culture of Health

Shift work, by its very nature, creates an impediment for health eating. Workers are often forced to make food choices that are convenient. A healthy body is more resilient and provides companies with workers who are more productive, alert and efficient.  Ensuring that the kinds of foods provided at on-site dining facilities and break rooms include healthier choices.

Having a happy, healthy workforce performing at a state of flow is good for business! Small changes for better performance = non-disruptive 24/7 service. I also recommend the book ”Chasing the Sun” by Linda Geddes to understand the effects of sun exposure or lack of it. It is a must read for HR or anyone leading a 24/7 team operation to understand how the human body clocks works.

Do you have other ideas on how to create a better 24/7 operation team? I would be interested to know more.