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The wellbeing of our colleagues is more important than ever. Particularly so for our night shift workers, who suffer more physical, emotional and mental wellbeing issues than day workers. 

There are 7 million night shift workers across Britain and are essential to the running of our 24-hour society. The latest research shows these workers face a set of health, social, psychological, and family challenges because of their working patterns. 

In 2019, Co-op signed up to the Night Club initiative which brings together leading sleep researchers and partners to explore ways to increase levels of engagement and job satisfaction amongst night shift workers.  

Improving wellbeing and mental health 

Night Club toured our Co-op depots nationwidemeeting 8,000+ colleagues, with the aim to look at how we can improve the wellbeing and mental health of our night shift workers. And it was this, that ignited a realisation of the challenges facing night shift workers are amongst the most serious health and wellbeing issues. 

In March 2020, as the national COVID-19 lockdown came in, our 2,700 Co-op stores nationwide became even more important. Our colleagues worked tirelessly to make sure our customers could get the essential items they needed and were rightly praised as local heroes supporting their local communities in times of crisis. But every night thousands of our Co-op colleagues in our 13 depots nationwide worked throughout the night to pick, load and deliver millions and millions of products to make sure our store shelves were fully stocked.  

The Manifesto 

In November 2020, we launched our Manifesto. We’ll alert parliamentarians, policymakers, employers, and employee representative bodies such as unions to the genuine health risks facing night shift workers and what policies need to change alongside employer practices.  

This will create the opportunity for the creation of a committed group of employers to join the Night Club campaign, to access the tools and materials to bring sleep and health information to their workers. 

Our research, highlights the ‘5 R’s’, providing the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of more than 7 million workers in the UK: 

  1. Recognise night shift workers and champion night workers as a coherent group 
  1. Respond to their needs – place night shift workers at the heart of any solution 
  1. Respect and understand that they face a specific set of challenges in a variety of working conditions 
  1. Research-led – build evidence to implement evidence-based solutions 
  1. Raise their profile and mobilise a cross-industry response to mitigate these challenges 

At the Co-op, we’ve seen the difference we can make to the lives of thousands of our colleagues by recognising them, listening to their challenges, and acting to support them. We hope that through our research, we’ll be able to build our Night Club campaign and provide a platform for change. Accelerate the scale and depth of its impact and alert policymakers and parliamentarians to health challenges being experienced by a growing proportion of the population and start to address wider health and social issues.   
 
If you’d like to join us in supporting the nation's growing army of night shift workers, please visit https://coop.uk/2V0uhSj 

Sarah Eglin, Head of People Partnering 

Emma Johnstone, People Partner

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