Airport ramp agents, also known as baggage handlers, fleet service agents, or clerks play a very critical role in service delivery in international airports. Their main role is loading and offloading luggage or baggage to the aircrafts and other transportation hubs. Therefore, given the nature of their work, ramp agents are often required to work in shifts so that there is a smooth transition throughout the day in times of how an airport offers its service in a 24hour travel framework. Besides, as the world becomes more globalized and industrialized, more cities and are opening up to the idea of creating a 24hour economy where businesses can operate throughout the day. Therefore, this implies that airports must also be aligned towards this strategy of working in a 24hour economy in order to facilitate movement of people from one place to another. For most organizations, one of the best approaches for managing their human resource is arranging for work shifts and night shifts. This allows for an organization with fewer employees to continue providing their services throughout the day as the employees will be categorized into hourly shifts on which they will be required to exchange with others and take some rest. Ramp agents are among the most affected by work shifts and night shifts in the aviation sector. This exposes them to numerous occupational hazards as well as affecting their health and safety. This paper analyzes the impact of night shifts and work shift on the roles played by ramp agents at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
Abu Dhabi International Airport is one of the leading international airports in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As of 2014, the airport serves about 20 million passengers from its three passenger terminals. Etihad Airways, which is the second largest airline in the UAE after the Emirates, is the most dominant airline at Abu Dhabi International Airport. In total, there are 53 different airlines operating at the airport. These airlines provide their services to about 85 different destinations in 49 countries around the world. The airport provides nonstop or 24 hour transportation services to all these destinations enabling it to cover all the contents in the world on a 24hr basis. There are only a handful of other international al airports achieving this fete such as Johannesburg Airport, Dubai International Airport, Hamad International Airport, Toronto-Pearson International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. This implies that Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is a very busy airport, making the ramp agents have to deal with lots of work around the clock.
This paper analyzes the impact of work shifts and night shifts on the services offered by ramp agents as well as how this model of work affects their health and safety. As such, the paper presents an analysis of various findings gathered from many other pasty research studies.
A significant amount of evidence exists in contemporary literature in organizational management that point to the fact that work environments affect not only the physical, but also the mental state of employees. This ultimately affects the quality of service delivery as well as negatively affecting the quality of life for the airport workers. This paper presents evidence derived from various studies on how the mental health of employees is affected by their work environments. The organizational management profession requires a lot of emotional commitment of employees. As such, deficiencies in the mental wellbeing of employees due to mental health disorders and low vitality can affect the general output and productivity of the employees.
Consequently, mental health of airport workers affects the profitability of health institutions, patient safety, and undermines the key objectives of provision of transportation services. For the most part, mental health relies on employees relationships with colleagues at work. Therefore, it is quite evident that the workplace environment affects the mental wellbeing of transportation services providers in different settings.
There are many different types of mental health issues affecting contemporary organizational management practice in various working environments. These issues emanate from different sources. For instance, among the factors that trigger mental health challenges for employees include challenges with the task or job, breakdown in relationships with colleagues, organizational factors, personal problems in the life of the worker, as well as other individual factors such as the personality of the employee. In addition, there are specific issues within the workplace setting that contribute to the emergence of mental problems among employees. For example, high job strain, job insecurity, interpersonal problems such as bullying and discrimination, lack of recognition for good performance, and organizational justice, which refers to the flow of resources and information within the organization.
These problems have paved way for many mental health disorders affecting employees within the workplace environment. Some of the most significant contemporary mental health issues affecting employees in the workplace include depression, anxiety, mood disorders, job stress, and low self-esteem. Anxiety is most likely to occur in instances of uncertain futures concerning job security in an organization. On the other hand, job stress and depression are likely to emanate from the tasks or the nature of the job itself. For instance, the employees may be required to work efficiently without adequate resources and long working hours during shifts among other factors. Also, low-self-esteem may result from the relations between an employee with others in the workplace. For example, if one is discriminated against on the basis of sex, age, disability, race, or religion, it is likely to affect his or her esteem.
Several factors within the work environment account for the deterioration of mental health of airport workers. These factors may be classified as social, political, economic, and environmental factors. Social factors relate to the ability of an employee to interact with colleagues in a manner that aides his or her performance. The work environment must create a culture that promotes good social interactions among employees. Issues such as discrimination on any basis, violence, or psychological abuse in the workplace by fellow employees can affect ones mental wellbeing. On the other hand, political factors relate to the leadership and organizational factors that affect the performance of employees. Organizational management is a disciplined profession that is based on rules, codes of ethics and guiding principles that direct practitioner on how to execute their roles. However, some political factors can hinder effective performance of employees. For instance, poor communication structures and poor worker supervision policies can affect the performance of employees and impact on their mental wellbeing.
In addition, environmental factors are also crucial in discussing mental health of employees. These are factors associated with availability of resources in the workplace. Employees work efficiently if there are appropriate policies and resources available in their environment. Tools such as equipment like testing kits, patient safety policies and general cleanliness can affect the mental attitude of employees to their duties . They may become anxious or depressed when required to perform better under such unsupportive environments. Conversely, economic issues such as inadequate compensation can also affect the productivity of employees and their mental disposition in the workplace.
Despite the question of mental health of ramp agents being a common threat to provision of quality transportation services, there are several warning signs that can be identified early and responded to in good time. Identifying and interpreting these early signals for mental health deterioration among employees can go a long way in resolving some of the conflicts that contribute to worsening of mental wellbeing of employees. Some of these signs include absenteeism, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, and low vitality. These issues are not only related to the employees mental health, but also his or her lifestyle as well. Transportation services organization must put in place strong human resource management teams that will help in identifying such instances and respond to each issues appropriately.
Revision of the Mechanism of Decreasing Occupational Exposures
Nevertheless, there are many interventions that can be implemented to promote mental health and wellbeing of employees as well as building emotional resilience among health workers. Effective management of mental health of employees requires a collaborative effort from different stakeholders. Most of the mental health issues affecting workers can be prevented and are also treatable. Effective interventions comprise of minimizing the risk factors while also building resilience among the employees.
The responsibility for mitigating against mental challenges in the workplace rest with the organizational leaders. Furthermore, most of these issues can be addressed through policies that touch on health, harassment, and general wellbeing as well as complying with health and safety legal frameworks can go a long way in improving the situation.
In addition, the organization can also put in place a variety of programs to build the resilience of the employees. Examples of these programs include resilience training, mentoring and coaching programs, team building, and diversity training and education. In addition Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) such as counseling and therapy can go a long way in helping the ramp agents at a personal level to improve their mental health.
In conclusion, mental wellbeing of employees within the workplace is a critical aspect of human resource management and one way of improving productivity of employees. This is particularly crucial for nursing practitioners since the profession is emotionally demanding in terms of the relationships ramp agents have with patients as well as amongst themselves. Some of the most common mental health problems in the workplace include depression, anxiety, mood swings, and low self-esteem. These problems can affect employee productivity in various including increased cases of absenteeism, alcohol and substance abuse, low vitality, and eating disorders. These issues can also affect the general quality of the nurse.
Also, it is vital to note that these mental wellbeing concerns arise from various factors, most of which can be prevented. These include a wide range of political, social, environmental, and economic issues within the workplace. Nevertheless, organization can ensure good mental health of their employees by implementing several strategies that include instituting appropriate policies and mechanisms for dealing with issues of unrest, violence, health, and culture within the workplace.
Furthermore, programs such as team building, diversity training, resilience training, mentoring, and coaching programs can go a long way in helping resolve issues of deterioration if mental wellbeing of ramp agents. Therefore, from the discussion above, it is clear that the workplace environment can have a huge impact on the mental wellbeing of employees. Nonetheless,...
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