12 Hour Shift Schedule | 5 mins read

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a 12 Hour Shift Schedule

the advantages and disadvantages of a 12 hour shift schedule 1618952578 5033
Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

Introduction into 12 Hour Shift Schedule

Business owners always need to look for new ways to streamline operations. This is particularly true for industries that operate outside the normal 8-5 schedule. It's hard for a restaurant owner to find a way to increase sales at 2 in the morning. A manufacturing company wants to solve chronic absenteeism during the night shift. Little bottlenecks can lead to big problems, especially when market conditions are tough.

While there are many different ways to decrease absenteeism and optimize productivity, few think of the 12-hour shift schedule as a solution. Over time, more industries are utilizing this type of work schedule to improve business continuity, optimize collaboration, and harness human capital. shift schedule as a solution. Over time, more industries are utilizing this type of work schedule to improve business continuity, optimize collaboration, and harness human capital.

Pros and Cons of a 12 Hour Shift Schedule

When the average employee hears the words 12-hour shift, they probably shudder. The regular 8-5 schedule drags on long enough, and a twelve-hour day seems like too much to bear.

While the vast majority of employees are not on this type of work schedule in the United States, some industries require it. Businesses can operate on a 24/7 week long schedule, and longer shifts are critical to maintain operations.

The healthcare industry, grocery stores, some restaurants, convenience shops, and law enforcement all have employees who work a 12-hour period. While there are several cons to 12-hour shifts, there are also benefits.

Read ahead to understand the different types of 12-hour shifts and how they impact businesses and employees.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

1. Dupont Schedule

Employees can work on a four week cycle when on the Dupont Schedule. This requires four night shifts, three consecutive days off, four day shifts, and seven days off. Many employees prefer this option because they receive one week of vacation per month.

They can spend time with friends and family, or catch up on the sleep they desperately need. However, these work hours impact quality rest, mental health, and physical health. It's also hard to go back to work after a seven day off period.

  • Roughly 2.4% of the workforce is on a rotating schedule
  • The vast majority of employees prefer clockwise rotation schedules (day-evening-night) if they are on a rotation shift
  • Many organizations utilize scheduling software to optimize rotation shift schedules

2. Four on Four Shift Schedules

2 four on four shift schedules 1618952578 9673

A shift worker is on for four day shifts and four night shifts in a row, and then has four days off. Team members switch back and forth between night and day shifts, according to a set shift pattern. Team members receive a four day break every four days, as well as three consecutive weekends free in a 2 month cycle.

Unfortunately, there are no set days off per week. This makes it difficult to plan events with family members who work a more regular schedule.

3. Pitman Shift Schedule

The 2-3-2 schedule, or Pitman shift schedule occurs when employees work for two days on, two days off, three days on, two days off, two days on, and three days off. Employees get to stay home every other weekend and never need to come in for more than three days.

Many prefer this schedule because of the short time frame that they need to be on-site. It provides much time to rest and recuperate. At the same time, employees have to go back and forth between day shifts and night shifts. This can interrupt sleep patterns and make it impossible to adjust, since change in the schedule occurs so frequently.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

4. Other Advantages and Disadvantages of 12 Hour Shifts

4 other advantages and disadvantages of 12 hour shifts 1618952578 9221

An organization covers all areas of operations when they utilize a rotating schedule. Because shifts are longer, employees understand the full-scope of projects. This increases business continuity and improves worker efficiency. It also enables each employee to gain more experience on the job. This improves the quality of customer service and maximizes productivity levels.

Twelve hours shifts allow businesses to hire fewer people. This can save money and maximize collaboration efforts. Employees must work together to complete tasks and understand how each role impacts every other role. This increases workplace accountability and ensures everyone meets key objectives.

Rotating shift schedules also make it easier to manage personal time. Employees can handle childcare, appointments, and vacations once they know their rotation shift. This improves employee morale and optimizes the work-life balance.

On the flip side, 12-hour shifts are tiresome. When employees are on the job longer than usual, they grow fatigued. This increases the number of mistakes, causes internal tensions, and hurts customer service. It is also unsafe to operate heavy equipment when tired. Businesses need to monitor workers who seem overly exhausted at work. A workplace safety issue can be disastrous for both the company and the employee.

While there are more consecutive days off to spend with family, the quality of time may decrease. Employees are on a strange sleep schedule, and may be too exhausted to be fully present. This can impact family relationships and create tension at home, which also hurts workplace morale. Workers must try to sleep as much as possible and improve time management to ensure they are equipped to handle a twelve hour shift.

  • 43% of employees don't receive enough sleep
  • 42% of individuals in production dont' receive enough sleep. Health support is right behind at 40%
  • Sleep deprivation costs the United States economy up to 411 billion in damages per year

Key Takeaways of a 12 Hour Shift

key takeaways of a 12 hour shift 1618952578 5860

In conclusion, here is what to know about a 12-hour shift -

  • Rotation schedules include the Dupont schedule, Four on Four off shift schedule, and Pitman shift schedule, Companies utilize different shift rotations, depending on business needs and employee requirements. Each comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
  • 12-hour shift benefits include greater continuity, an increase in employee knowledge, and better collaboration. There is also a greater work-life balance because there are more continuous days off.
  • 12-hour shifts can be tiresome and cause workplace fatigue. This can lead to injury, angry outbursts, and depression. Businesses should monitor rotation shift workers to ensure they receive adequate rest.

 cta content inline and exit intent
SCHEDULE A DEMO