How To Keep Employees Happy When They Have To Work Weekends

How To Keep Employees Happy When They Have To Work Weekends

Out of all the things that upset employees, working weekends and holidays is likely pretty high up on the list. And yet, working a weekend shift is pretty much inevitable in many industries, such as tourism, hospitality, and even medicine.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one-third of the US workforce goes to work on the weekends.

Portion of population who worked on weekdays and weekend days
Portion of population who worked on weekdays and weekend days

Although it’s unlikely that you’ll get most of your employees to look forward to working weekend shifts, it’s possible to make it more palatable for them.

Here are a few ways you can keep your employees happy when working weekends or coming in at unpleasant times.

6 Ways To Keep Your Employees Happy On Working Weekends

1. Streamline scheduling

It’s a fact of human psychology that when someone tells us we have to do something, we’re usually less likely to enjoy it than if we did it of our own volition. Chances are you’ll have some clear memories of this from your childhood — maybe you were planning to clean your room, but once your mom asked you to, suddenly it became a chore.

The reality is that when we do something unpleasant by choice, we get the feeling that we’re doing something good and virtuous, but when we’re forced, it becomes much more unpleasant.

As a manager, you can leverage this facet of the human mind by keeping your weekend shifts open. Instead of assigning weekend shifts, let your employees decide amongst themselves, and only make a decision for them if no one signs up on their own.

You can use ZoomShift an employee scheduling software to allow employees to select their weekend shifts themselves from the open shifts. Plus, they’ll also be more aware of their schedule in advance, and it can help eliminate no-call, no-shows.


2. 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 of 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.

3. Provide Time Flexibly

People generally feel happier when they have more freedom. In a work environment, allowing for flexible scheduling is a way to give employees a bit more of the freedom they want — and deserve!

If you’re asking employees to work weekends, make sure that you allow them to take off their preferred day during the weekday. Don’t decide which day they can take off for them.

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 the freedom to choose time off to avoid burnout as per her plans.

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.

Additionally, allow your employees to swap shifts amongst themselves so that they can coordinate if a shift really doesn’t work for them. You can use ZoomShift’s Shift Swap feature to do this.

4. Give Extra Perks

Having to work the weekend is a tough pill to swallow. But you can make the medicine go down a bit smoother by giving your employees a reward for their hard work.

Offering extra paid time off is one method how to motivate employees to work weekends. You can use ZoomShift’s PTO features to assign extra PTO to weekend-shift employees and keep track of their accrual separate from the rest of your team.

You may also want to consider adding some other perks into the mix, like offering a bigger employee discount to weekend workers or increasing scheduling flexibility for them in other ways.

5. 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.

6. Feed Your Employees

Another way to reward your employees for working weekends and keep them cheery is to feed them. This is a nice way to motivate employees to work weekends that make them feel special.

For example, Google feeds all 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 your employees all the time. However, you could start with feeding employees who have working weekends.

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 healthcare 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 morale, 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.

If you are asking employees to work weekends — they deserve to have a flexible schedule. You can build a flexible schedule for weekdays and weekends with ZoomShift. You can start your 14 day free trial with no strings attached.

Happy employee leads to a thriving business!

JD Spinoza

JD enjoys teaching people how to use ZoomShift to save time spent on scheduling. He’s curious, likes learning new things everyday and playing the guitar (although it’s a work in progress).