Depot Focus - Cleveland
At 11.30pm most people are already in bed, dozing off into a sleep that will revitalise them for the next day. But for our Night Shift Operatives, their shift is only just starting.
There’s a lot that needs doing during the night shift. Transferring the manifests for Route Excellence (the Parcelforce system that allows drivers to give customers an accurate delivery slot) takes place in the offices of Depots across the country and is an important task that means Drivers and Depot staff can arrive the next day to find their work ready and waiting for delivery.
Plus there are parcels to process. For example, some 6,000 to 6,500 parcels need sorting at the Cleveland Depot on an average night shift and during Autumn peak this can rise to as many as 9,000. And with 11 or 12 people on most night shifts, they have their work cut out.
“We need to get everything sorted for the day shift, so they can come in and get going first thing in the morning,” says Mark Britton, Night Operative. A typical night shift might have Mark unloading trailers, sorting parcels into cages for each route. “We also need to scan and load everything onto vans for the Drivers. Everything you might expect.”
Some periods are much busier than others and the night shift can also see an influx of parcels to process during the Summer months as exam papers are distributed all around the country. “We often need extra people to help us during really busy periods like Autumn peak.”
Night owl lifestyle
Mark was a Driver before he moved into night shift. He drove for five years and then two years ago he changed to his current role.
“It’s totally different working at night,” he said. “I work usually from about 11.30pm to 9.20am.”
Getting used to night working was a challenge, but Mark has a routine that works for him. “I’ll go home after my shift and have a few hours sleep in the morning. Then I get up to spend a few hours with my wife before catching a few hours in the afternoon,” he said. “Then I’ll be off to work late at night.”
“It suits me, and it can be very satisfying work,” said Mark. “If anyone was considering working on the night shift, I’d recommend learning how to sleep in the daylight, as this is important and quite difficult to get your body to adjust to. And you should remember that it’s not the easy option – the night shift works hard across the business!”
Doing their bit
Cleveland Depot is also a very charitable unit that doesn’t shy away from getting out and about to raise funds. For example, the Depot played a charity football match against the Newcastle Depot. “All our drivers are football mad!” said Andrew Sim, Operations Manager. The Depot lost against Newcastle, and a rematch is scheduled for some time in the summer.
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Credit: Beetroot Publishing