What is clopening?
Clopening is a combination of the words “closing” and “opening,” and describes the practice of employees working a closing shift followed directly by an opening shift with very few hours for rest in between. Depending on the specific hours, some clopeners have as little as four hours between shifts.
Industries in which clopening is common
Clopening is a common practice in many industries, but primarily those in the retail and service sectors who utilize hourly employees. You can find clopening in:
- Clothing stores
- Retail stores
- Convenient stores
- Gas stations
Any business open 24 hours a day or with less than 10 hours between closing their doors for the day and opening them again in the morning can practice clopening.
Negative side effects of clopening
Unfortunately, clopening carries many negative side effects for both the employees who work back-to-back closing and opening shifts and for the companies they work for.
Lack of sleep
One of the biggest problems with clopening for employees is the lack of sleep. When an employee works until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. and then has to return to work at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m., they have very little time to travel home and rest before getting ready for their next shift and returning to work. Chronic exhaustion can lead to difficulty focusing and more severe health issues like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Poor job performance
When employees don’t have to time rest and recover from their first shift before coming back in to work, they’re likely to feel exhausted and unfocused, which can lead to poor job performance and mistakes at work.
For working parents, childcare can be extra burdensome during clopening shifts. Since their children need care overnight, they must rely on the kindness of family members or on expensive babysitters to watch their children for long stretches, sometimes for over 24 hours.
Employees who regularly have to work clopening shifts are more likely to contribute to a feeling of low morale in the workplace since they may struggle to demonstrate exuberance and excitement to be at work after very little rest between shifts.
Those employees who consistently work clopening shifts may begin to feel burned out or unable to complete their job duties effectively.
Consistent clopening can lead to employee turnover. Eventually, the exhaustion, childcare struggles and inability to perform their jobs well can drive some employees to seek employment elsewhere, leaving you to find and hire replacements.
Advice for avoiding clopening in your business
While clopening can lead to some negative consequences for both employees and your business, you can take steps to avoid scheduling clopening shifts.
- Use a scheduling program: Scheduling programs often have a feature that disallows scheduling clopening shifts. This is an effective strategy to keep you from accidentally scheduling clopeners.
- Seek input from your employees: Ask your employees if they want any clopening shifts. You may have some employees who don’t mind working one clopening shift a week, while for others, it’s too much of a strain. Knowing who’s able to work clopening shifts and who isn’t can help you maintain an effective work schedule.
- Provide schedules early: Make work schedules several weeks in advance. This way, employees have time to trade shifts and manage childcare or other personal tasks well in advance of their scheduled work time.
- Hire more employees: Hire an additional employee or two so you don’t need to schedule employees to work back-to-back shifts.
- Establish a mandatory rest period: Set a mandatory rest period between shifts for your employees. Hold yourself accountable by paying overtime or providing perks if you have to schedule employees for clopening shifts.