How to Maintain Efficiency When Working at Night

April 07, 2021

standing desk
Ben Flynn

While humans are a diurnal species, meaning that we're designed to be active during the day, working at night is sometimes inevitable. There are various reasons why we sometimes work at night. A major reason people decide to work at night is to work overtime and get extra pay. Some individuals have a day job but still work at night to supplement their income. The difference in employer-employee time zones is another reason why people may work at night. If you're a freelance virtual assistant, developer, or content writer working for a client in a different time zone, you may sometimes work at odd night hours.

Another reason why we sometimes work at night is due to personal preference. Some people prefer to work at night when they are most focused, calm, and energized for maximum productivity. Studies have shown that a split between night owls and early risers is genetically linked. Therefore, it's not unusual for some individuals to find themselves extremely active and productive at night.

Working at night comes with several benefits, including better focus for enhanced productivity. You are more likely to find peace and tranquillity at night as compared to during the day. Some studies also show that night owls remain mentally alert for a much longer period compared to their day or early bird counterparts. Nonetheless, working at night comes with its fair share of challenges that can hinder your productivity. Here is how you can enhance efficiency and remain productive when working at night. 

Challenges We Encounter When Working at Night 

Whether you're used to working at night or are trying to adapt to the night environment, you’re certain to face several challenges. These challenges include: 

Sleep 

Even if you sleep during the day, you’re still likely to sleep at night. This is because not sleeping at night is both unnatural and more difficult. Besides, working during the night shift is unnatural to the body’s circadian rhythms. Night shift workers experience difficulties getting proper REM sleep during the day and can experience sleepiness during the work shift. Sleep can lead to potentially costly mistakes on the job. 

Health Issues

Working at night is associated with several health issues, including ulcers, cancer, cardiovascular problems, and obesity. Health issues arising due to working at night are linked to hormonal imbalance. One study showed that just three nights of disrupted sleep decreased insulin sensitivity by 30%.

During the day, our bodies break down glucose to provide energy and store fat from the excess breakdown of glucose. At night, our bodies are programmed to fasting, therefore becomes more efficient at burning fat. This could be why night workers often display glucose intolerance, gain weight and develop sugar-related conditions such as diabetes.

However, night-shift workers who maintain regular sleep schedules and work in comfortable environments are less likely to experience health issues. Besides, avoidance of caffeine and other stimulants can also help reduce night shift work issues. 

Poor Work-Life Balance 

Individuals who work during the night shift and sleep during the day can experience a disruption in their work-life balance. Night shift workers rarely go out to socialize since most social events either happen during the day while they are sleeping or at night when they are working. As such, most night workers miss the opportunity to share meals with family, engage in recreational activities or spend quality time together. In the long run, this leads to a sense of isolation and loneliness. Nonetheless, night workers can create their night shift crew and engage in their own social activities to avert boredom.

Poor Work Coordination   

Night shift workers may not feel a sense of connection with their colleagues who work during the day. While a shift manager can supervise night workers, the shift is often staffed with fewer people than the day shift. Besides, night shift employees who want to access essential organization services such as human resources may not be able to do so since these departments operate within normal business hours. In the long run, night workers become less productive since they miss out on essential occurrences and interactions in the organization.

Several Tips to Maintain Efficiency   

The tips below can keep you focused and efficient while working at night. 

1. Set a Reminder or Alarm 

If you're used to working during the normal working hours, shifting to working at night can be challenging. Keeping time can be a hassle, and relying entirely on your willpower will more likely than not fail you. Therefore, you need to take advantage of reminders and alarms to organize your night. An alarm and reminder will help you identify the things you need to accomplish that night before going to bed.  

Before you begin your work at night, start by identifying tasks that you need to accomplish. List the tasks down so that you do not omit any of them. Determine the amount of time it would require you to do all the tasks you've planned, then set the alarm and reminder based on the time you've allocated each task. This way, you'll be more efficient.

2. Work under Bright Light

As mentioned earlier, working night shifts can have a detrimental impact on workers' health, safety, and well-being. However, working under a bright light at night can somewhat reduce these negative impacts. A study has shown that bright light during night work significantly reduces stress and burnout syndrome in night workers. Besides, an evenly-lit and well-illuminated working environment can have a positive impact on staff morale. Therefore, if you are thinking of working at night, ensure you work in a well-lit room to be more efficient and productive.

3. Drink Coffee 

Drinking coffee while working at night enables you to stay productive. Research conducted by a team of experts from the University of South Australia established that drinking coffee keeps you alert and enhances attention and performance levels. However, excess coffee drinking can harm your overall health and sleep. Drinking just the right amount of coffee when working at night can enhance your focus and productivity. 

4. Change Posture Often 

Frequently adjusting your posture while working either at night or during the day can substantially enhance productivity and mental alertness. Frequent posture changes lead to better breathing and circulation, decrease back and body pains, improves oxygen delivery to your brain, enabling you to stay alert with less mental fatigue. When working at night, ensure you sit up straight and change posture often. Avoid slouching as it could immensely affect your productivity. 

One way to enhance your posture is to set up an ergonomic workstation encompassing an adjustable desk, an adjustable chair, a computer monitor adjusted to a suitable height and a keyboard or mouse placed in the proper position. Preferably, go for standing desks that can be lowered into sitting desks. This way, you’ll be able to change posture more comfortably since your desk can be adjusted to a height that allows you to keep your head straight rather than look downwards. Besides, you can stand while working and enhance your productivity and better your health, considering that prolonged sitting is not healthy. 

The two recommended standing desks that fit your style and budget are: The FlexiSpot Standing Desk 3-Stage Rectangle Desk Frame E7 and the FlexiSpot Standing Desk 2-Stage Rectangular Desk Frame EN1 (EF1). Take a detailed look below: 

A: FlexiSpot Standing Desk 3-Stage Rectangle Desk Frame E7    

The FlexiSpot Standing Desk 3 is a fully adjustable standing desk that suits your style and doesn't break the bank. The desk's core features were designed to elevate your work lifestyle and enhance your productivity. It features an adjustable height range of 58-123cm and comes with four programmable presets, allowing you to save your preferred seated, standing, and underdesk cycling heights. 

The energy-efficient LED display informs you of your exact desk height with the child lock feature, ensuring the desk is safe when your kid is around. In addition, the anti-collision feature further ensures safety in your workstation. Combine this desk with the FlexiSpot monitor arms and achieve your dream workstation or gaming setup.   

Pros 

  • Premium all-in-one keypad 

  • Anti-Collision 

  • Child Lock-Always on Alert 

B. FlexiSpot Standing Desk 2-Stage Rectangular Desk Frame EN1 (EF1)

The FlexiSpot Standing Desk 2 is another outstanding, fully adjustable standing desk that doesn't break the bank. This adjustable desk welcomes you to the sit-stand-move lifestyle, ensuring you're healthy and productive. It comes with a suite of excellent features, including an advanced all-in-one keypad with a lifting range of 71-121 cm. The three programmable presets enable you to save your favorite seated, standing, and underdesk cycling heights so that you don't keep on adjusting the height in a multi-user environment. 

Like Standing Desk 3, this desk features an energy-efficient LED display that automatically enters sleep mode to reduce power usage when the desk is stationary. The desk has an incredible 70 Kg weight capacity with provisions for elevating your monitor. You can choose either single or dual monitor arms to clear off desk space and enhance posture and focus for better productivity. 

Pros 

  • Weight capacity up to 70kg

  • Advanced all-in-one keypad

  • Economical option

  • Ideal for limited workspace

 

Conclusion 

There are various reasons why people work at night. It could be due to work shift requirements, time zone differences, working overtime, or just personal preference. Whether you're used to working at night or you're just starting your night shift job, working at night is never a walk in the park. Humans were naturally created to be active during the day (diurnal species); therefore, working at night could be challenging.

However, there are things you can do to remain productive at night. You could use alarms and reminders to organize your work, drink moderate coffee, work in well-lit rooms and ensure you get sufficient sleep during the day. Most importantly, change posture frequently or alternate between standing and sitting while working for full mental alertness. FlexiSpot's Standing Desk 2 and Standing Desk 3 can be of great help if you're looking to keep efficiency when working at night, thanks to their excellent features. Get these fully adjustable standing desks today on FlexiSpot and elevate your lifestyle and work habits.  

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