How To Keep Employees Happy When They Have To Work Weekends

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that nearly one-third of the workforce works on the weekends. That’s a lot of people working on what’s typically known as the free-from-work days.

Studies show that people experience better moods, greater vitality, and fewer aches and pains from Friday evening to Sunday. The weekend effect is a proven phenomenon led by the fact that people are free to choose what they do with their day.

So, where does that leave the worker who works weekends?

In this article, we examine how to keep employees happy when they have to work weekends.

The well-being of your staff is important to the bottom line of your company. Engaged employees are workers who are well-rested and have the benefit of spending downtime with friends, family and pursuing their hobbies.

Here are some ideas for keeping your employees content even when they have to work weekends.

Offer Incentives

Employees such as nurses are often offered incentives for picking up weekend shifts.

Consider creating a weekend program where employees can actually sign up to work weekends. It might even be considered an honor.

You’ll find some hospitals only offer weekend work to nurses with a certain number of years’ experience at one of their facilities. This turns weekend work into an honor.

When you turn weekend work into an honor, you might find people clamoring to work weekends.

In addition, you can offer incentives in the form of extra money and benefits. Many businesses find that filling their weekend shifts is easier if the pay scale is higher.

For example, if you pay weekday workers $10/per hour and weeknight workers $12/hour, you might pay weekend day shift workers $14/hour and weekend night shift workers $16/hour.

This lets your staff know you value their commitment to working weekends, while acknowledging it can be a hardship by offering a higher pay rate.

Establish Consistency

One of the keys to keeping your employees happy is consistency. If you have a group of employees who work weekends, make sure they have predictably consistent schedules.

For example, let’s say you own a retail shop, and you need Suzy to work on Saturday and Sunday when she’s already worked Wednesday-Friday. Be sure and give her Monday and Tuesday off to avoid burnout.

Consistency in the work schedule allows your employees time to schedule haircuts, doctor’s appointments, visit to the dentist, meetings with their child’s teacher and family time.

If you alternate weekend work among your staff, keep that consistent as well. Rotate on a predictable schedule. For example, on weekend one, Suzy works, on weekend two, Bob works, on weekend three, Suzy works, and it’s Bob’s turn on the last weekend.

Your employees often shape their daily routine around their work schedules. If you don’t provide consistency in their schedule, they can burnout and feel resentful.


Encourage a Work-Life Balance

Employees with a balanced work and personal life are happier employees.

A work-life balance can be hard for employees to achieve when they work weekends. Make sure you let your employees know that you are aware of their responsibilities and their life outside of your business.

Show an interest in their outside lives so they know you care about their well-being.

When your employee needs time off for a child’s soccer game, a friend’s wedding, or some other important event, be sure to work around their schedules.

When possible, consider flexible working schedules. Schedule your early risers for morning shifts and your night owls during the evening. If feasible, make it easy for employees to work from home if they need to.

For example, if you need papers graded, but your employee has a sick child, let them do this from home.

Showing some flexibility and some caring helps keep your employees happy when they have to work weekends.

Feed Your Employees

Another way to reward your employees for working weekends and keep them cheery is to feed them.

For example, Google feeds all of its employees for free – breakfast, lunch and dinner. This helps keep workers in the building and leads to more productivity.

While you might not have it in your budget to feed all of your employees all of the time, you could start with feeding employees who work on Saturday or Sunday.

This is a nice reward and makes weekend workers feel special.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be a fancy meal. You might bring in sandwiches from the local deli. Or, if you own a business like a small retail shop, make some soup at home and bring it to work along with a big baguette and some cookies for dessert.
This brings a fun vibe to your weekend warriors and enables them to get their work done while feeling a bit of the weekend effect.

Final Thoughts

Employees such as nurses, home health care workers, restaurant and retail staff, teachers, recreation workers and a host of others might find themselves working on the weekends.

While conventional thinking says that people need the weekend off for the “weekend effect,” the weekend can mean any set of two days, really.

The most important part of downtime is actually having it. Two days off in a row is good for employee moral, so do what you need to do with your employee scheduling so you can give your employees the time off they need to return to work rested, happy and well.

Do you employee workers on the weekends? How do you keep your staff happy? Please comment below to share your tips with others.