Many factory workers have shifts where they have an on-call status, meaning they must be ready to come into work if they are contacted by their employer. Because there isn’t a guarantee that the person will have to work, there is some debate about what is acceptable and what isn’t when you know that you are on-call for work.
Employers will usually let on-call workers know the expectations for the shift. Read through the handbook, or determine your employer’s guidelines to make sure you’re behaving appropriately. And, yes, we know how boring it is to read through a handbook, but this information is critical, and not knowing it could jeopardize your job security.
In addition to your employer’s rules, we have some helpful, basic tips to keep yourself ready for the call.
1. Remain sober
Whenever you’re on call, there is a chance you will have to drive to work and operate machinery, so you need to make sure that you are fully sober. Avoid alcohol, and even medications that will make you sleepy or out of sorts. Not only will this ensure you will keep you and your team safe by being sober and alert at work, it also ensures you won’t face a drunk or impaired driving charge on the way to work.
2. Get enough sleep
You don’t want to have to struggle through an entire shift tired. If you know that you have an on-call shift coming up, get rest before it starts. You can even use the time that you are waiting for a call to rest. Just make sure that you aren’t too groggy to go if you are called.
3. Stay close
Some employers will require you to remain within a certain distance of the work site if you are on call. Comply with this requirement so you can arrive on time if you are called. Even if your employer doesn’t have this requirement, it is still a good idea to remain close so you can report as quickly as possible. Relaxing while watching movies at home, finishing household chores or finding things to do around town are great ideas.
4. Keep your phone handy
If your employer will contact you on your phone, keep it near you at all times. Some employers use older methods, such as pagers, to call workers in. Regardless of the technology, keep that device handy and make sure that you have a way to contact the person who is making the call. Being easily accessible is necessary when you are on-call.
5. Make plans for children
Some on-call workers have children at home. Make a plan to have someone to take care of your children when you are called in. The same is true for pets and any other living creature that require care while you are at work.
6. Have your work clothes ready
Get your uniform or work clothes ready in case you are called in. Don’t forget lay out your shoes and any safety items. This easy, extra preparation can help you make it there more quickly and feel less stressed while you are getting ready.
It is also a good idea to find out the pay policies for these on-call shifts. Having a little incentive to behave appropriately during your on-call shift might make it worth it.