If you’ve ever tried working the night shift, you know it doesn’t take long to figure out the downsides of a graveyard schedule. You might be wondering if working nights is even a good decision. On the other hand, some people intentionally choose to work the night shift because they find the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Chances are you’ll be heading to work while everyone is on their way home and then reversing the process in the morning. This translates into a lot less traffic and a much shorter commute. And if you take public transportation, the majority of the crowd will be travelling in the opposite direction. This is a great perk for night shift workers in larger cities whose commuting time can eat up a lot of their day.
Most companies pay a premium for working the night shift. Where I worked last, the premium was minimal, but I did notice a difference in my paycheck at the end of a month when I’d worked a string of nights.
It’s definitely worth finding out if your potential employer offers a night-time premium, also called a night differential rate. (Psst…some employers also pay a weekend premium, so if you can snag a night shift on weekends, you may get a double dose of bonus pay. And if you can do a weekend night shift on a stat holiday—now you’re really pulling in the big bucks!)
Ahh, who doesn’t love being trapped in a never-ending meeting? Not me! Most companies hold meetings during the day. Working the night shift saves you time that you would otherwise spend in mandatory meetings. If you’re interested in what happened, ask for the meeting minutes or a brief synopsis.
Most night shift workers will tell you there is less bureaucracy at night with fewer bosses and upper management present. Generally speaking, the night shift has fewer kerfluffles and less draining drama. In fact, I’ve met several nurses over the years who intentionally work exclusively overnight shifts and have for decades. When I ask them why they choose a schedule many others would reject, they tell me they just can’t stand the daytime deluge of workplace politics.
Some workers intentionally choose to work nights so they can be home during the day for various reasons. Parents may work nights, sleep while their munchkins are at school, and then awaken in time for after-school pickup. And running errands is so much less stressful when you’re working on the opposite schedule of most of the population—you can shop when the aisles are empty and the parking lots have plenty of spots available.
Slower pace (sometimes)
Night shift in some industries has an entirely different pace with a more relaxed environment and team-based approach. Some night shift teams actually consider themselves the “clean-up crew” because they have the time to slow down and do things methodically. From re-stocking to deep cleaning to tackling those bothersome tasks that no one on day shift seems to have time for—night shift workers sometimes have the time and flexibility to get them done.
One of the most appealing things for many workers re: night shift is a workplace with fewer disruptions and interruptions. This may mean less pressure, allowing the satisfaction of a job well done rather than a rush job.
More time for learning
Because night shifts often have a different pace, there can be more time for ongoing education. I’ve observed that the senior nurses in my department have a lot more time for hands-on demonstrations and to field questions from junior nurses during the night shift.
I’ve personally experienced the value of putting slower nights to good use. I was able to complete an entire college course certificate program while working overnights as a switchboard operator. Not only did I get paid to be there, but I walked away from that job with the education to get a career upgrade.
Some people even manage to work the night shift and attend daytime classes to complete a college or university course. Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice your health—but it may be possible to accomplish both with careful scheduling.
There are definitely fewer people willing to work overnights. This might mean better odds of getting a promotion in your current position. Working the night shift for even just a few years may allow you to climb the corporate ladder faster. In the meantime, you may also have access to more shifts or overtime, resulting in a bigger paycheck.
After examining the benefits of working the night shift, would you consider it? Are any of these advantages enough to make you leave those daytime hours and join the secret underground world of night shift workers?
After looking at the benefits of working the night shift, would you consider it? Are any of these advantages big enough to make you leave those daytime banking hours and join the secret underground world of night shift workers?
Updated: January 24, 2023