Shift worker Intervention Focus Groups
Shift Work Supervisors
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What is a focus group?
How a focus group works
- interested in your view points, you represent 3-4 million people who may have view just like you.
- research project, not selling anything, just want your perceptions.
- talk to each other, not just me.
- not right or wrong answers, OK to differ, want to hear about different opinions.
- honest answers
- everyone talks, no hand raising
What will be discussed this evening?
We are not here to critique your workplace in particular, but we want to develop a sense of how the workplace in general could be improved to help employees to get better sleep and reduce their risk of driving while drowsy.
We asked you here because we would like to learn about your experiences. Specifically we are interested in getting your opinion about some specific areas related to improving sleep in night shift workers, how some programs might be implemented, whether you might expect some things to work or not work, and what things you can imagine might prevent some of these ideas from working.
Tell us your name, what you do, how many hours of sleep you get on an average night, and a quick story about how your lack of sleep may have affected you personally.
- Do you consider worker sleepiness or fatigue to be a problem in your workplace?
- Have your employees complained to you about extreme tiredness, sleepiness, or fatigue?
- What do you do or say to them? Are you aware of any of your employees falling asleep while driving?
Discussion of the Need for Sleep
Statistics suggest that night shift employees average about 4 hours of sleep per night, compared with evening shift workers (7 hours) and day shift workers (8 hours).
- Does that surprise you?
- Do you think that occurs where you work?
- Do some people only require 4 hours of sleep?
- Do you think that would affect the quality of work on the night shift? The health and safety of your employees?
- Would knowing this help motivate you to seek changes in your employees sleep habits?
Discussion of Interventions
- Some studies suggest that allowing workers to be involved in setting work schedules helps workers acceptance of their schedule and allows them better control over their lifestyle and may help them to get more sleep.
- Would worker involvement in developing work schedules be possible in your situation? Why? Why not?
- Do you think an incentive system where employees were rewarded for flexibility in making schedules would work at your at your job site?
- What kind of rewards would work for your employees?
- What would employers be willing to offer?
- Would a formal or informal system work better?
- What are some of the other barriers to getting workers involved in schedule making?
- Would you expect this intervention to have an impact on the alertness/performance of your workers? On their driving? Why or why not?
- What role does good communication between employers and employees play in workers getting enough sleep?
- Some night shift workers we spoke with believe that employers don't understand the pressures of night shift work. What things could be done at your workplace to improve communication on the topic of worker drowsiness?
- What else about the work atmosphere could be changed to promote better sleep among employees?
- Some workers respond to external cues such as darkness in their sleep-wake cycle. One thing that may be helpful is to have bright lights in the work environment.
- Do your work sites currently have bright lights during the evening and night shift?
- Do they work?
- Would your company be willing to increase the lighting in your workplace? Why or why not?
- Night shift workers tend to eat foods high in fat, which can cause them to become more drowsy and sluggish during and after work.
- Would an explanation of the benefits of eating low calorie, non-greasy, healthy foods be a useful intervention?
- Would increasing the availability of healthy foods during the night shift be an option at your worksite? Why or why not?
- Would employees use this if it were provided?
- Do you think an improved diet would increase the alertness/performance of your workers?
- Exercise or some moderate physical activity can help people to get regular sleep and maintain alertness.
- At your worksite is there a safe place for employees to walk prior to work/during break?
- What are the barriers to having a safe place?
- To what extent would employees take advantage of the opportunity to exercise?
- How could that be improved?
- Would you expect this intervention to make a difference? Why or why not?
- Do your employees take naps at the worksite?
- Would you consider allowing employees to take naps during breaks? Why or why not?
- What about after work before they drive home?
- Do you have a place where employees can safely get some sleep during their shift?
- Would your employees take advantage of this?
- Would you expect this intervention to have an impact on the alertness/performance of your workers? Why or why not?
- Many of the workers we talked with for this project were mothers who had difficulty managing their night shift responsibilities.
- In our previous discussions with shift workers, some told us they were concerned about people they work with becoming dependent on working overtime/late shifts (differential pay) to maintain their current lifestyle.
- Does that happen where you work?
- Do you think it is a problem?
- Are there some things you can do to discourage this attitude?
- One of the potential ways of communicating with a large number of employees is by distributing educational materials.
- What do you see as the most effective way of reaching your employees? Where? When? How?
(Allow for open response. Probe for payroll drop, resource room, mailing to home, posters or video board in workplace)
- What would be the content of the educational messages?
(Allow for open response. Probe for pamphlet discussing sleep/circadian rhythms, risks of drowsiness -i.e., work performance, relationships, driving, periodic leaflets on cars in parking lot).
- Why do you think that would be effective?
- Why would it not be effective?
- Do you think this would cause a change in behavior or attitude?
- Educational materials can be effective in changing people's attitudes and perceptions but they are not as effective in changing behavior?
- What else (beyond educational messages) would be necessary for your workers to make some healthy changes in their lifestyle to reduce drowsiness and drowsy driving?
Thank you and close.
Pass out participant information sheet and pose any questions from the backroom if there is time.
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