Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Scary Truths about the Graveyard Shift

Night workers make more mistakes and are more prone to accidents and illness than nine-to-fivers. Smart companies are waking up

Ever since the invention of the light bulb, employers have embraced the notion that by running all-night operations, they could turn out twice as much quality product with little or no additional capital expenditure. After all, a night-shift worker's 2 a.m. is equivalent to a day-shift worker's 2 p.m., right?

Turns out that the all-night shift might not be such a bargain after all. A new study from Lexington (Mass.) consultancy Circadian Technologies, which advises the nation's largest companies on how to manage their extended-hours operations, estimates that maintaining the practice may be costing companies a steep $206 billion annually -- $8,600 per worker.