Burning the Midnight Oil: Working the Graveyard Shift
When working in the BPO industry, there are numerous things to take into account: your command of the English language, your versatility in performing multiple tasks at once, and your ability to work in a constantly shifting schedules. Though the latter may seem a bit difficult to adjust for many, in time, most agents working in a call center company in the Philippines have proven to be quite adept at it.
In the country’s recent times, Business Process Outsourcing, otherwise known by many as ‘BPO’, is a thriving industry with a vast availability and a wide array of accounts for an agent to handle. This is the field where people from all walks of life come to gain experience in the workforce and is also available for a number of people with certain educational attainments – whether it be a high school diploma or a college degree in any form.
If one were to decide to work in the BPO industry, the first thing employers would usually ask their applicants is if they’re able to work in shifting schedules. Once the applicants are hired, they are then designated a schedule that would entail them to report to work late at night and clock out early morning the next day. This is known as “The Graveyard Shift”.
What is the Graveyard Shift?
Just to explain this notion with more accuracy, the graveyard shift is a work schedule that requires the appointed employees to report for work late at night and are dismissed early in the morning. The usual shift of this particular schedule would basically be from 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM or 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM, though actual shift hours may vary depending on the company.
In case you’re wondering why does an agent have to work in the late hours of the night, it is because call centers usually cater to foreign clients such as USA, Japan, Spain, and other countries across the globe. For this reason, agents catering to these clients have to be in sync with the client’s time zone to be able to provide assistance to them 24/7. Such is the case with those catering to customers based in USA due to the 12-16 hour time difference.
In relation to the BPO industry, this also applies to other customer service occupations like email support and technical support.
What is Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)?
For a brief overview of the industry, Business Process Outsourcing, or ‘BPO’, is the contracting of business tasks such as Accounting, Human Resources (HR), and other third-party company that renders their services to foreign clients.
Services provided by BPO can come in many forms, such as the following:
- Technical Support
- Customer Support
- Appointment Scheduling
With regards to the topic at hand, Call Centers are similar to Business Process Outsourcing , though in a different form. BPO, as a whole, focuses on the task of providing assistance to their clients by means of manufacturing, communicating, and providing care for their customers and clients through other means. On the other hand, call centers main task is to help their clients by providing over-the-phone assistance for their customers and clients.
What are the Physical and Mental Effects of Working In the Graveyard Shift?
In this industry, it is important for an agent to be able to endure long hours of work no matter how long or arduous it may be. Proper sleep and rest are essential to an agent’s performance in the field. When an agent gets the right amount of sleep and rest, he/she will be able to reach the peak of their work performance to be able to accomplish multiple tasks before they are dismissed for the day.
Though such a performance is admirable, achieving and attaining it may be a bit difficult for many. If one isn’t accustomed to such a schedule, they may begin to experience the negative effects from lack of sleep.
Lack of sleep, also known as sleep deprivation, is the lack of a proper night’s sleep. There are many factors that can contribute to this condition, whether it be medical disorders such as insomnia or other physical factors such as the need to complete a long task before eventually going to sleep. When one suffers from sleep deprivation, they may begin to experience some of its effects such as:
- Constant hunger
- Weight gain
- Gaining of dark circles under one’s eyes
- Impair Cognitive Skills
- Raises the risk/s of heart disease
If you are wishing to venture into this endeavor, it is essential to prepare yourself both physically and mentally for this kind of work schedule. However, you don’t have to worry as there are ways in which you can use to prepare yourself for this particular shift.
How Can One Prepare Themselves for Working the Graveyard Shift?
Preparing for the graveyard shift takes a lot of willpower, determination, motivation, and perseverance. In fact, it will take more than what you’re capable of to be fully prepared to work this kind of schedule. If you are wondering how can this be possible, here are some suggestions that may help you to abide by the graveyard shift so you will be able to stay attentive, focused, and determined for your work night:
As much as possible, get as much sleep before you’re due to begin your shift
Sleep is one of the most important factor you should consider if you want to keep yourself in top shape for the graveyard shift. If you have sleeping problems, try lulling yourself to sleep by drinking a glass of warm milk, listening to white noise, and other peaceful methods that will aid you to sleep tranquilly.
Keep moving during your shift
Working on a cubicle may be containing. What you can do is to move your legs in a walking or circular motion to simulate movement while stationary. Or you can walk around the office or outside the building during your break hours.
Keep snacks at hand
Eating small portions throughout your shift will provide you the energy you need to stay alert. However, avoid overeating since this may result to drowsiness and can cause your voice to be hoarse, which can greatly affect your shift since you need your voice to work.
Keeping liquids at hand during your shift such as water is another essential thing you should consider when working on a graveyard shift. Staying hydrated can help you keep your focus on your tasks and maintain your work productivity and efficiency for the duration of your shift. In addition, water can keep your voice healthy and clear so you can provide over-the-phone assistance with no hassle or delay.
These tips will surely be helpful to you, especially when you are assigned to the graveyard shift. Though there are other ways to stay awake, the essential thing you should remember is your routine.
Routine is how you would go about your day, ranging from what time you sleep at night to what time you wake up in the morning. This is essential for you because when you develop an effective routine for sleep, you will last longer during your shift without any risk or any sign of fatigue.
Developing a routine for proper sleep is essential for your preparation for the graveyard shift as it takes a large amount of physical and mental conditioning. What you’ll need to do is simply establish a strict schedule that you will abide by every day. In case of working the graveyard shift, decide on what times you’ll be following to go to bed and wake up before you go to work at night. Preferably, it’s best to go to sleep late afternoon and then wake up early evening so you can get going and avoid any late night traffic as well.
It may be difficult to adjust to the graveyard shift at first, but eventually, you will be perfectly accustomed to the shift. In fact, there are also numerous benefits that you can gain from working this particular shift.
What Can One Benefit From Working the Graveyard Shift?
Like many things in life, there are benefits that one can gain from whatever they do. Despite any potential hassle and complication, you can gain a number of benefits from working the graveyard shift.
Though you’ve prepared yourself to make a lot of sacrifices of your time, it doesn’t have to be all in vain. Here are some of the things you can benefit from the graveyard shift:
When traveling to work at night, you will notice how the road going to work is much faster and the route is less congested than the usual working hours. This is a huge advantage for you because you have already started your work – putting you one step closer for the early completion of your tasks and reaching your quota with ease – while most people are asleep.
Working the graveyard shift entails less distraction around you, which in return, enables you to concentrate on your work tasks. Moreover, socializing with your co-workers are now saved for your breaks as they are less likely to disrupt you while you work since everyone else is also focused on their own respective tasks in the office.
Many offices in the Metro present a variety of perks for their employees such as free lunch, free ice-cream, and even free items for distribution. Many of these perks are available for employees working specific hours – that includes those working on the graveyard shift.
Because most departments in the office are closed at night, there are fewer employees working at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that the free-flowing perks and other gimmicks will stop. In fact, there will be even more perks for you and your co-workers in your department to enjoy, giving more reason that working the graveyard shift can be fun and exciting. Additionally, free breakfast in the mornings is enough to satisfy you until you return home and to lie on the comforts of your bed.
Day Time = Fun Time
Working the graveyard shift may take a lot of your time during the night. That also means that your time during the day will be greatly maximized for your pleasure.
The shift can give you all the time in the world to handle other affairs like spending more time with your family and friends and more time to rest and relax before your incoming night shift.
Continue Your Studies
It is true that most call center agents are working students. The graveyard shift can ultimately provide the time you need during the day to focus on your classes and study for upcoming exams. In addition, you can also have enough time to prepare for work at night.
Call centers also have numerous compensations for its employees, one of this is providing educational assistance for students. This is truly helpful for many since most agents choose to work in a call center to earn enough money to return to school. Once they’ve chosen to return to school, they’d have already earned more than enough to pursue and complete their education.
Earn Experience and Expound on the English Language
As the BPO industry requires an excellent command of the English language, this will be helpful if you want to expand your knowledge of the language as you will learn correct punctuation, enunciation, and other English structures that will make up the language as a whole. Moreover, this can also serve as an extra training for those who have difficulties with speaking or writing in English.
With regards to gaining more experience, this is due to the versatility of fields the call center, or BPO industry as a whole specializes in. If you ever decide to move on to other ventures, always remember what you have learned from your time working in the industry and apply it to whatever endeavor you wish to pursue in the future.
Aside from the personal and sentimental benefits one may gain as listed above, here are some corporate benefits you can receive once you start working in the industry as a whole:
- Paid Sick/Vacation/Maternity Leaves
- 13th month pay
- Free meal periods
- Company-sponsored Transportation Service
- Other Incentives and Perks
With the numerous benefits you can gain from the graveyard shift, you are assured for the long run, so long as you keep a good pace and quality with your work.
What Does the Future Hold for the Graveyard Shift?
The graveyard shift may not be the ideal shift for many to work with, but the future holds just as bright as other corporate fields. As mentioned before, working the shift takes a lot of discipline with oneself to uphold the principle of providing world-class service 24/7.
In a nutshell, the graveyard shift enables you to provide assistance to your clients and customers across the globe on the client’s time. The time zones between the Philippines and other countries may differ in vast amounts, but quality service is ensured and delivered by agents of peak performance and with excellent command of their own respective skills.
For those wishing to pursue this industry as their occupation, there are a number of companies for you to start with, one of which is Piton Global.
Piton Global, one of the leading BPO firms in the country’s industry, serves as a company that provides innovative and effective tools of operation to other enterprises and ensuring their growth as well as their own. Their agents aim to deliver topnotch service and exercise their full potential performance while maintaining strict adherence to the company’s values and what it represents.
For more information about Piton Global, click here.