How Field Service Engineers Shall Work according to their Body Clock

Are you up with the sunrise full of energy and ready to start working? Or do you prefer to get enough sleep and leave the most difficult tasks for the end of the day?
Field service engineer at work outdoor
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Anyway, our productivity depends on the internal body clock (circadian rhythms), which should be considered when creating a work schedule.

Associate Professor Mark Stokes from Deakin University's School of Psychology explains that reaching your peak cognitive performance is possible only when working in accordance with your circadian rhythms. It doesn't matter if you get up early or late. Your productivity depends on your individual characteristics.

However, we often ignore this rule when working. For example, many field service engineers have to ignore their body clock, which sets the rhythm for all vital processes in the body. All this results in extreme fatigue, burnout and even various diseases.

What do field service engineers do?

Meeting at office
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Field service engineers have a wide range of tasks to do. They repair faulty equipment, do the maintenance, equipment installation and startup, perform technical work, write detailed reports, and etc. Moreover, they manage the team, set tasks and build business relationships with customers.

Facilities management is a great part of the engineer’s work. It’s a business process that affects high-quality service delivery. Put it simply, it ensures team management, the choice of technologies and efficiency of the working environment.

Most frequently, engineers do the maintenance. Besides that, they can be asked to develop a strategy or assess certain technical aspects of the business. For example, to analyze the enterprise energy efficiency and offer different solutions to improve it.

Engineers must provide a detailed implementation plan, technical support and keep equipment in good working condition. Clearly, most of the service companies provide engineers with all the necessary assistance to facilitate their work.

Engineers are faced different challenges at work. Besides common tasks related to the facilities management and technical maintenance, they can be asked to develop an effective plan to improve production efficiency or workplace safety.

The effects of chronotype on engineering professional practice

Field service engineer at work in evening
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Scientists distinguish two main chronotypes, so-called night owl and morning lark. They regulate our circadian rhythms.

There are some key factors that determine our chronotype including the environment (for example, time when the sun rises and how bright it is out at night). Genetics also determines our body clock type.

Field service is very important in the working process. Engineers and technical experts are responsible not only for the quality of services provided, but also for communication with customers and extra sales. Overall success and business growth depends greatly on their performance. Performance of each specialist, in turn, depends on his body clock and chronotype.

Professor Mark Stokes is sure that circadian rhythms change over a lifetime. Young professionals are mostly night owls. Their peak physical and mental performance is at the end of the working day, while experienced professionals are more active in the morning. However, it doesn't always work like this. So, when setting a work schedule, first of all, focus on the time periods when you feel tired and when you are full of energy.

Light and darkness regulate our circadian rhythms to a big extent (although they are not the only factors). Bright ambient light triggers chemical reactions which disrupts sleep.

Although working in accordance with your body clock is the best option, you can try to reset your circadian rhythm to stay productive. First of all, you should keep a regular sleep schedule. To create a sleep routine, dim the lights an hour before going to bed to prepare for sleep. When you wake up in the morning, open the curtains and let the sunlight fill the room. Try to stick to your sleep schedule even on weekends. Get out of bed even if there is such a strong desire to go back to sleep for a few more hours.

Over time, your circadian rhythm will adjust to new conditions which will improve your performance.

What if you don't listen to your body clock?

When you don't respect your body clock for a long time, you may face different negative consequences.

First of all, we speak about reduced quality of sleep and other not so obvious health problems. Insomnia, ongoing lack of sleep and chronic fatigue result in hypertension or insulin resistance which increases blood sugar level.

According to the research on Medscape, sleep helps restore the brain. During sleep, cells of the brain are reduced by 60% which helps to flush out toxins causing cerebrospinal fluid circulation. Myelin sheaths that carry messages back and forth from one neuron to another are also actively restored when we sleep.

If you sleep against your body clock regularly, you wake up tired and not ready to start working. And it's very difficult to work feeling exhausted. Over the years, this can lead to neuropsychiatric disorders.

A tired, sleepy person quickly gains weight, but it takes more time and effort to lose it. The body is trying to compensate for the lack of energy and craves simple carbohydrates. As a result, you eat sweets and junk food to satisfy hunger.

In addition, a violation of biological rhythms causes insomnia and makes it hard to wake up in the morning. You may suffer caffeine dependence syndrome. You want to sleep longer, but it doesn't help to restore energy or have a rest. All this increases the risk of getting depressed, causes mood changes during the day and produces more and more negative emotions.

And that is not all. All that stress weakens the immune system making the body more vulnerable to diseases and infections.

6 tips to help engineers working in accordance with their body clock

Here are some recommendations for field service engineers to be more productive and avoid overworking:

1. To reach peak performance, plan your workday according to circadian rhythms

Almost every recommendation is about providing the best conditions for the engineers at work. Flexible work schedule is the major one.

Our body is programmed to do certain things every day in accordance with our biological rhythm. After you get enough sleep and have breakfast, the brain prepares for learning and solving various tasks during the first half of the day.
Cup of coffee near laptop
Source: Pixabay
Best mental performance phase starts at 10 a.m. and reaches its peak around 12 p.m. During these hours you work quickly and efficiently achieving the greatest success and feeling full of energy. Working memory, concentration and working spirit are at the maximum.

The brain is most active between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you have to make a difficult decision, leave it for this part of the day.

If you complete the planned scope of work, you will feel good by the middle of the day. And if you didn't get enough sleep and didn't restore your energy, the decision making process will be quite slow. This will cause an oppressive feeling that you've wasted time.

What about lunch? According to the studies mentioned above, people begin to feel drowsy within 2 hours after having lunch. If you get used to having lunch between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., you probably noticed how your performance gradually decreases by 3 p.m. You lose concentration and get distracted.

By the end of the day your muscle tone will reach the peak. After sunset, your body temperature drops a bit. At the same time, melatonin is being produced, which regulates the circadian rhythm of all living beings. This is how our body gets ready for sleep.

Think of every phase when planning the workday and do not leave the most difficult tasks for the end of the day even if you are a night owl.

2. Note that there are professional services to create a work schedule according to your body clock

Some of these services use IT tools to attract new customers (technical specialists) and promote services they provide. At such platforms engineers can choose the job they are interested in and contact companies or respond to job offers. As a result, engineers can plan their workday in the most convenient way.

For example, FSExpert offers engineers quick and simple communication with other experts and companies. You can schedule an appointment or a call with the customer and discuss all the details and work plan online or onsite.

3. Use professional software for field service engineers

Technologies do not stand still. They continue to simplify our lives and working processes. At the same time, engineering equipment is becoming more complex and diverse, and there is more and more information you must know to do your job.

Modern software gives engineers power to solve many problems and save their time. It provides quick access to the necessary data and helps to contact other specialists. Moreover, it greatly reduces operating costs. That is why the correct use of field service software can increase productivity and improve skills of employees.

Special attention should be paid to Field Service Management (FSM). It's a software that helps companies to track employee progress onsite. Many service companies have troubles related to poor communication, low customer satisfaction, staff shortage or insufficient qualifications of technical specialists. Generally, they are caused by two reasons: the inability to scale manual processes and outdated practices.

FSM allows engineers to overcome common problems and offers convenient IT solutions. Using this field service software, companies can forget about numerous spreadsheets, messengers and manual tracking of employees. Field Service Management optimizes customer support and reduces the workload of experts.

4. Improve your management skills

Manager at meeting
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If you learn to prioritize tasks at work, record work hours and distribute the workload, you will make things so much easier. Your entire team will run on schedule. If you need to complete your task you are not professional in, like college essay writing service reviews or some instruction/guidelines, it is better to ask the person or group of specialists and to enjoy the free time you have while the professional (s) work.

Of course, this will not save the field service engineer from unexpected situations and challenges, which requires more time and creativity to solve, but will help in planning. Good work management and rational use of resources will make your workday comfortable and effective.

5. Online tools will help you improve work processes and free up extra time for rest

For example, instead of attending daily team meetings field service engineers can use mobile Apps.

They allow engineers to get job offers online, adjust work schedule and the route to the site, assess the results of work by looking through the photos and documents sent, and etc.

Some online project management tools should be mentioned as well. They became widely used due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such platforms and online services allow engineers and other experts to plan workdays quickly and effectively and build online communication with the customers.

6. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule

This is the simplest, but at the same time very important advice. We all know about the importance of keeping a regular sleep schedule, but we hardly stick to it. Are a few hours really so important?

Oh yes, they are. If you regularly fall asleep and wake up at different times, your body can't follow its circadian rhythm. As a result, you will feel sleepy at work and at night you will suffer from insomnia.

In conclusion

Biological rhythms have a crucial role in the professional life of any person, and field service engineers are no exception. Furthermore, they have a heavy workload and great responsibility, which causes stress and affects health.

Self-management, effective IT tools and modern equipment help engineers to organize and optimize work schedule.

According to Allied Market Research, the global field service management market is expected to reach $ 10.81 billion by 2026, which is 3 times more than today. On the other hand, Mordor Intelligence states that the estimated number of field service engineers is almost 20 million today. All these numbers indicate the growing importance of field service engineers and tools to manage and organize their work.

These solutions will not only improve business processes, but also help experts work in accordance with their body clock avoiding brain overload and burnout.
  • Amir Jones
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