Labor Day Comes at Night for 24 Million Americans

Sep 02, 2004, 01:00 ET from CIRCADIAN

    LEXINGTON, Mass., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-four million Americans
 will not celebrate Labor Day with the rest of us on September 6 -- because
 they'll be asleep.  They are the one in five American workers whose jobs
 require hours falling outside the "conventional" 9-5, Monday-Friday routine
 (working night, evening, long, irregular, or on-call shifts), and are among
 the fastest-growing divisions of the country's labor market.
     Extended hours of operation have been a reality since the advent of the
 light bulb.  But according to CIRCADIAN, the leading experts in "extended
 hours operations," today's global 24/7 economy has sparked significant growth
 in the number of occupations to become part of a marketplace that doesn't
 sleep, including financial services, information technology, and others.  And
 with that growth has come an increase in the attendant costs, risks, and
 liabilities of extended hours operations.  Here are some things you may not
 have known about extended hours employees:
     * Excess costs due to the below, and other, issues affect the bottom line
       of extended hours organizations by $206 billion per year -- nearly
       $8,600 per employee
     * Absenteeism among this group is more than twice the U.S. average for all
       operations, and only one-third of those absences are due to sickness
     * Twenty-eight percent of extended hours workers hold second jobs
     * The cost of providing these workers with benefits is increasing, due to
       increased medical, and workers' compensation claims
     * The risk of heart attack increases threefold when a worker regularly
       performs consecutive shifts lasting 11 hours or more
     * The vast majority of employers of these workers provide no training to
       help them manage their unique lifestyle issues
     * Sixty percent of extended hours workers report feeling fatigued on the
       job several times per month, while almost half report actually nodding
       off on the job
     * Nearly 12% of these workers have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a disorder
       that disturbs sleep, and also significantly increases risk for
       cardiovascular disease, depression, and workplace and auto accidents.
       Less than 5% of day-only workers have this disorder
     * Regular use of pain relievers, sleeping pills, alcohol, and other
       substances is significantly higher among this group
     "Significant financial opportunities exist for employers that consider
 Employee Assistance Programs, lifestyle trainings, additional Human Resources
 support, sleep apnea screening and treatment, modified scheduling options,
 ergonomics-based solutions, and others," said Betsy Connolly, CIRCADIAN's
 president.  "The monetary return on these investments (from increased morale
 and productivity, and decreased absenteeism, turnover, and medical and
 workers' compensation claims) vastly outweighs the out-of-pocket expense for
 these initiatives."
     About CIRCADIAN:  Circadian is the leading international research and
 consulting firm assisting companies with extended hours operations to improve
 profits by increasing productivity and reducing the increased costs, risks,
 and liabilities of human factors.  CIRCADIAN's mission is to empower its
 clients to effectively use extended operations to compete in the global 24/7
 economy.  Extended hours operations encompass all work environments with
 irregular schedules, night and evening shifts, or extended hours, typically
 outside the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.  Since its incorporation by Dr. Martin
 Moore-Ede in 1983, more than half the Fortune 1000 has benefited by working
 with CIRCADIAN.  For more information, visit
      Brian O'Neill
      (781) 676-6950