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Target quietly ended overnight shifts in some stores, and employees say their workload has become 'chaotic' as they try to keep up

Sep 21, 2019, 01:24 IST

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

  • Target quietly eliminated overnight and backroom shifts in some of its stores across the country. The workers in those positions were given the option to switch to daytime shifts.
  • Business Insider spoke to five Target employees in locations across the US. Most said that the elimination of overnight and backroom shifts has meant that they are picking up the slack and completing more tasks than they can reasonably handle in their shifts to make up for it.
  • One employee at a store in the Washington, DC, area said the changes worsened what was already a stressful environment. "There have been several times in the last nine months that I've almost hit a panic attack," he said.
  • "More than 80% of hourly team members report that our stores work to accommodate their schedules, and we're proud of Target's long history of investing in our team's pay, benefits, schedules and career development," Target said in a statement.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Target has cut overnight and backroom shifts in stores across the country - and some daytime workers say they are being forced to pick up the slack as they try to keep up with a workload that they did not originally sign up for.

Business Insider spoke to five Target employees in Midwestern, West Coast, and East Coast stores. Most said that overnight shifts and backroom jobs had been cut from their locations. These workers were granted anonymity in order to speak frankly about working conditions and the situation more generally at Target.


These employees were not overnight or backroom workers, but all but one said the shift changes added stress to their jobs and those of their colleagues. They now work to quickly complete an array of tasks - like stocking shelves and cleaning - that had previously been done by other employees or during different shifts.

Read more: We visited nearly 40 stores in 3 months, and the messiest of the bunch is also one of the most successful right now

"It certainly feels more chaotic," said an employee who has been working part-time at a Minnesota Target for a little over a year. A college student whose job is meant to be focused on customer service on the sales floor, this employee said that his location cut its backroom shifts close to the beginning of summer.


He said that he is now expected to complete what he considers eight hours of work in a five-hour shift because of extra responsibilities involving the backroom.

"Plenty of my coworkers are upset," he said.

Another employee who has a lead position on the sales floor in a Midwestern Target store said that his location completely eliminated the overnight stocking position, which has pressured team members in his location to work harder - cleaning up aisles, pushing freight from trucks, catching up on price changes, and assisting customers - all without an increase in hours.


"It is immense pressure," the Midwestern employee said. "It seems like they push this 'guest first' mentality without giving us the time or flexibility to put the guest first without sacrificing our job performance."

Target confirmed to Business Insider that it shifted overnight schedules to the daytime to increase the availability of the team to help guests on the floor.


"More than 80% of hourly team members report that our stores work to accommodate their schedules, and we're proud of Target's long history of investing in our team's pay, benefits, schedules and career development," a Target spokesperson said in a statement.

Though employees were offered the chance to switch their shifts, that option did not work for everyone. One worker who spoke with Business Insider said he knew of at least two people who had to leave their jobs because of the changes.

Read more: Target execs explain how the company's $7 billion gamble on stores has paid off


The Midwestern employee described the workload expected of the team as "unrealistic."

"Helping a guest now feels like a burden," he said.

Business Insider visited a Manhattan Target in August and found the store overrun with boxes and messes in many departments. A representative from that particular store declined to comment on Friday about whether or not it had also ended its overnight and backroom shifts.


Store employees say they are doing more work, more quickly

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Target team members in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and in Wisconsin confirmed that their locations had also experienced a change in their overnight and backroom shifts.

An employee who works at checkout in Madison, Wisconsin, said that the shift changes have had a negative overall impact on the store, though his job has remained mostly the same.


"We've had lots of undone work that's been piled on our current tasks," said the employee, who has worked at that Target for nearly a year and a half. "It's caused for some cranky guests, usually wanting an item that was supposed to be shelved."

Despite the stress, the Wisconsin employee said the supervisors at his location have been understanding when it comes to challenges around the extra workload.

An employee who works in the cosmetics department at a California Target said she wasn't aware of any shift changes at the store she has been working at since mid-July. The employee said her store has been relatively clean, though she has heard from her coworkers that more people used to work there.


"I've been having to do [work for] other departments because they don't have people to do those departments," she said.

The Washington, DC, metropolitan area team member said his store was suffering from the changes.

"The store has been a mess," he said, adding that though his store was somewhat disorganized before the staffing changes, the mess has gotten notably worse in certain areas since they were introduced. "Every employee is expected to stock the shelves in a very unrealistic amount of time."


The employee added that the attention given to unpacking and shelving has noticeably decreased since the shift changes. He cited problems like misplaced merchandise, items falling on the floor, and chemicals from cleaning supplies leaking onto shelves.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

For this employee as well as others, the stress has become unbearable.


"There have been several times in the last nine months that I've almost hit a panic attack," he said.

Read Target's full statement to Business Insider:

If you're a Target employee with a story to share, email retail@businessinsider.com.

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