(June 24, 2022) After in-depth discussions surrounding rotating shift work and its implications on worker health and wellbeing, NWSEO and NWS leadership have collaboratively launched the Shift Work Flexibility Team.
The team is co-led by NWSEO Executive Vice President JoAnn Becker and George Jungbluth. The NWSEO executive council, regional directors, field representatives, and subject matter experts all sit on the team working jointly to find solutions for both immediate and long-term issues surrounding shift work.
There are several key objectives that will be addressed by the team, including:
Creating a robust education program for employees on shift scheduling options;
Allowing more scheduling flexibilities to better meet employee needs while ensuring operational needs are met;
Incorporating recuperative breaks and fitness options into shifts, encouraging staff to recharge and refocus;
Supporting voluntary early retirement for forecasters who have worked years on shift; and
Improving the office staffing profile to allow for more shift flexibility.
In addition to these objectives, the Shift Work Flexibility Team will advocate for staffing policies that directly benefit individuals engaged in shift work, within the following guardrails:
No single midnight shifts;
At least two workers on every shift;
No part timing of offices;
No degradation to the current services that each office provides; and
No office consolidation.
Moving forward, the team intends to address these issues, both at an individual and organizational level, to create a better balance between employee needs and the agency's core mission.