Shift hours and their types


In this article, we will see Shift hours and their types.

Did you ever wonder how the organizations which provide their services 24/7 operate? Do the same people serve for the whole day? How do the employees working in those organizations manage their work-life balance?

Wait a minute. We have the information to feed your curiosity. It would help if you didn’t remain unaware of this critical concept. So, we have everything about an efficient work schedule, how it can affect an employee’s life, and many interesting facts.

Let’s get started with the article.

Organizations like security offices, restaurants, conveyance, broadcasting services, healthcare services, etc., operate for 24 hours. Therefore, the same person can’t work continuously for the whole day. However, planning a day by dividing it into different shifts can work very well for those environments.

Shift-based scheduling

It is a practice to manage continuity in work throughout the whole day. Employees will be present before or after their fixed work schedule only during any emergencies or special conditions.

Let’s learn A, B, C, D of shift working

Employees work for 12 hours, and a working day consists of two shifts. For instance, the work timing may be 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, and the next shift will be from 6:00 pm to 6:am. These shifts are A, B, C, D. The “A shift” is, let’s say, from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Then, the “B shift” is from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am. The “C shift” timing will be the same as the A shift, but it’ll be on an alternative day. The same is valid with the “D shift” (it follows b shift timings on alternative days).

Now that we understand this scheduling let’s understand rotation shifts and fixed shifts.

Fixed shifts

Fixed shifts allow employees to continue working on their fixed changes. For example, employees will work on the same schedule until they are assigned a different dress.

Rotation shifts

These shifts, as the name suggests, rotate between day shifts and night shifts. However, unlike fixed shifts, shifts assigned to employees change frequently. For instance, an employee might get one chance on the night shift and the next a day shift, swing shift, or any other combination.

Rotating shifts can be of three types: continental, Panama, and DuPont shifts. These shifts are divided based on the frequency of shift rotation.

Our pericardium, which operates our sleep cycle, is badly affected by continuously changing our sleep timings. This may cause troubles like unhealthy driving conditions and other health issues.

The three-shift plan includes day, night, and swing shifts.

  • For a 24-hour workday, the work schedule is divided into three shifts; day shift, swing shift, and night shift. All three shifts are eight hours each.
  • Day shifts are usually from 6:00 am to 14:00.
  • Night shifts are after swing shifts. The timing can be from 22:00 to 6:00 am.
  • Swing shifts are between day and night shift. As an example, if the day shift is from 6:00 am to 14:00, then the swing shift will be from 14:00 to 22:00.

The facts

  • Almost 15-20% of employees in industrialized countries work in shifts.
  • Studies suggest that working for longer hours or working in shifts increases the chances of breast cancer and stroke.


The idea behind this working process itself is an advantage. It’s beneficial for companies that work for 16 or 18 hours a day. It’s difficult for a person to stretch and work for 10 or 12 hours a day. Yet, employees can work on different schedules, and without working overtime, the organization can remain open.

A schedule suitable for everyone

Working in shifts allows people to work when they feel more productive. For instance, some of us are early birds, and some are night owls. So, it gives us the freedom to choose between different shifts suitable for employees.


In the US, employers are free to pay extra for employees who work on a non-traditional schedule.

Ease of work

If employees work during night time, commuting between places becomes easy, as there’s less traffic.

The disadvantages

It might affect individual health.

Continuously working during night shifts may disturb the sleep schedule of a person. This will eventually lead to health problems, not only physical but mental too.

A personal relationship imbalance

When an employee’s work hours changes, then their family members are also affected. Not only this, but many times, people have to leave many personal appointments or gatherings because they have to attend their night shifts. Employees might not find time for their families, and this will lead to disturbed relations.

Accidental driving

When roads are traffic-free, there are more chances of accidents because drivers may feel drowsy.


Organizations like the navy, army, general stores, and hospitals need to provide their services for most of the day. So, they design the work shifts to manage the proper work distribution during that time. Proper scheduling of the shifts is very important, and that’s why companies use different shift plans like a three-shift plan, A, B, C, D shifts, etc.

Working in shifts has its benefits and drawbacks. Employees and employers should understand the importance of proper time management. Otherwise, the practice that is designed for the benefits will counteract it.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q.1 Which types of organizations follow shift work?

Services like stores, healthcare facilities, security departments, firefighters, etc., have to serve for 24 hours. So they follow a shift working schedule.

Q.2 C shift is assigned to me. How long do I have to work?

You will have to work 12 hours during the C shift. The C shift timing is usually similar to the A shift timing but on alternative days.

Q.3: What is the advantage of working in shifts?

Organizations can use the power of their human resources for most of the day. Moreover, employees who are night owls can perform more productively during night shifts and vice versa. It also gives a chance to earn more, as some hours of the day have high customer activity.

Shift hours and their types

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