Liminal Space workers

Multiple long-term conditions

Engaging with employers to protect the health of night shift workers

We're working with The Liminal Space to engage night shift workers and employers to create a better and healthier working experience.

Key partnership information

Partner: The Liminal Space

Development grant for pilot: £39,500

Duration: February 2020 – January 2021

Programme: multiple long-term conditions

 

What we’re doing together

We partnered with The Liminal Space, a creative consultancy and design studio, to engage employers and night shift workers to create healthier working experiences. This builds on their Night Club programme.

More people work night shifts than ever before, and this has grown to over 7 million people since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Night shift work can have a profound effect on people’s mental and physical health, and there is mounting evidence that it contributes to a number of long-term health conditions including heart disease, diabetes and depression.

In our pilot project, The Liminal Space worked with Veolia, a refuse and recycling company with around 300 employees at their Southwark centre.  The focus of this intervention was on sleep and associated health issues that result from working in a way that disrupt circadian rhythms.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, through interviews and site visits with night shift and frontline workers, The Liminal Space created Supporting Our Staff (SOS), a second iteration of Night Club to offer employees support during a particularly challenging period.

Veolia staff now have access to a range of resources to help them protect their health. These resources have been designed to support employee mental health, promote good quality sleep and provide advice for dealing with relationships and anxiety, and includes consultations with ‘Dr Sleep’ – a sleep science expert.

Veolia has been enthusiastic about the project. The SOS programme has the highest levels of employee engagement from any of their health and wellbeing programmes. Immediate changes they’ve made include reviewing shift rotas and having healthier options for their vending machines.

A snapshot of workers involved in the pilot

24%

had one or more long-term condition

84%

learnt something new to protect their health

73%

said they would change their behaviour as a result

Through the pilot, we learnt:

  • There is a demand from employers in Lambeth and Southwark for interventions of this kind: nearly 20 employers have signed-up to take part in the programme, including a mix of small and large organisations.
  • Sleep is a great gateway topic to wider conversations around mental and physical health: during the programme employees often bring up issues wider than sleep, and signposting them to resources about sleep and mental health is relevant and impactful.
  • Night shift workers value the project: the feedback from staff at Veolia was very positive – 84% said they learnt something new, 92% said it was relevant to them and 73% said they would change their behaviour as a result.
  • Reaching the right employees is crucial: 24% of the workers that spoke to The Liminal Space at Veolia Southwark said that they had one or more long-term health conditions. To make sure we reach everybody, we need to tailor our approach through a diversity, equality and inclusivity lens. This means making sure our messaging is accessible and appropriate for everyone working there. One of the ways The Liminal Space did this was translating the resources to six languages other than English, including Romanian, Nepalese and Yoruba.
Liminal Space workers
Liminal Space sleep boxes

Aims of the partnership

  • Trial sleep focussed interventions for shift workers in Lambeth and Southwark
  • Help test The Liminal Space’s co-creation design process with night shift workers at Veolia’s team at their Southwark depot
  • Explore the practical steps that can be taken by employers to  protect and improve the health at work of people at the highest risk of progression to multiple long-term conditions

 

Connection to our strategy

This work highlights the profound effect that working at night can have on people’s mental and physical health and that employers have a significant role to play in reducing the inequitable health burden faced by those on low incomes at risk of progression to multiple long-term conditions.

More about The Liminal Space

The Liminal Space are a creative consultancy and design studio.

Visit their website
Nicola Bristow

Have questions about our partnership with The Liminal Space?

Nicola Bristow is the Portfolio Manager looking after this project.

Contact Nicola to find out more