What you need to know:
- If the situation is not rectified, it is likely to lead to poor health, and disruption of key relationships.
- First, speak up, and set boundaries that can be easily enforced. Let your manager know how the unplanned schedule is affecting your other commitments.
- Let him know that while you do not mind taking on additional work, you would like to be given advance notice so that you can manage other commitments.
I work in a factory where, due to demand, we are sometimes required to work all day and all night. Though the demand in such days can be anticipated and shifts planned better, many times we are given just a day’s notice to come and work over the weekends and public holidays. I have had my personal plans disorganised by these abrupt demands and my work life balance is falling apart. Our supervisor thinks he is doing us a favour calling us to work because of the overtime payment, but he forgets that money is not all that matters. I want to raise this up but I’m not sure where to start since some of my colleagues do not mind the extra cash.
Rest is an important component of our lives and has to be prioritised. I commend you for seeking ways to create the right balance between your work and personal life, which largely influences how we balance other needs competing for our time. Sometimes we let others such as our managers control this balance, but as you attest, the final decision to choose more work or rest remains with the employees. The situation you describe points at poor leadership. Poor planning results in unscheduled workload and overworked employees, which most likely leads to poor output. It may cause a recall of some products, or stress arising from lack of proper rest.
If the situation is not rectified, it is likely to lead to poor health, and disruption of key relationships. First, speak up, and set boundaries that can be easily enforced. Let your manager know how the unplanned schedule is affecting your other commitments. Let him know that while you do not mind taking on additional work, you would like to be given advance notice so that you can manage other commitments. This conversation can happen during your usual check in meetings or at the end of an unplanned shift. Remember to mention how the extra shifts have impacted your ability to be productive. If you feel you need to speak as a team, gather your colleagues and make a joint request to be granted advance notice whenever there is a spike in demand.
Together, ask to be given enough time to plan your other commitments, so that you can get adequate rest and remain productive. Politely decline requests that do not seem to be priorities. If your manager comes across as defensive and plays down your request for fear of being exposed as a poor supervisor, escalate this to his supervisor or human resources. Employers are now very keen to create workplaces that enhance employee wellbeing, including paying attention to suggestions from staff. It is very important to set boundaries that protect you as an individual, and which safeguard you from avoidable work pressure.