Rotating Shift

First published on Friday, Nov 11, 2022

Last updated on Friday, Nov 11, 2022

If you run a business that operates 15, 16, or even 24 hours a day, you are always going to need employees to work. You may inevitably need to split your employees into two or three shifts. This can be a scheduling nightmare. However, there is a simple way to do this, which is called rotating shifts.

Rotating shifts can help improve your operations as well as keep employees engaged at work. It can also result in increased productivity.

In this guide, we’ll explain what a rotating shift is, what it looks like, and the pros and cons of it.

What is a Rotating Shift?

A rotating shift covers a variety of schedules that allows employees to rotate between all the forms of shifts. They are commonly used in business or industries that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rotating shifts can also be used in business that are open for long periods throughout the day.

Some examples of industries or business that implement these are:

  • Construction.
  • Security.
  • Warehouse.
  • Restaurants.
  • Retail.

How is a Rotating Shift Schedule Used?

There are various ways a rotating shift schedule can be implemented into your business. For 24-hour operations, employers implement a rotating shift schedule of three shifts.

The first being mornings, the second being afternoons, and the third being the night shift. This is commonly known as an eight-hour rotating shift schedule as each shift is eight hours long.

Another form of rotating shift schedule is a two-shift rotating schedule where each shift is 12 hours long. This is commonly referred to as continental shifts and is used in the hospital and security industry.

For example, the shift would commence at 7:00 a.m. and end at 7:00 p.m. The next shift would commence at 7:00 p.m. and end at 7:00 a.m. the next day.

In rotating shifts, each employee would take turns working each shift. For example, employees would take turns working the morning, afternoon, and night shift.

Different Types of Rotating Shifts

You can implement rotating shift work in your business in different ways which include:

The Pitman Shift Schedule

This type of shift schedule gives employees every other weekend off and consists of the following:

  • Two shifts on, followed by two days off.
  • Three shifts on, followed by two days off.
  • Two shifts on, followed by three days off.

These are generally 12-hour days. If your business operates 24 hours a day, you can implement four teams: two teams during the day and two teams during the night.

The DuPont Shift Schedule

Like the Pitman schedule, this type of shift schedule is used in businesses that operate 24 hours a day which includes the following schedule:

  • Four night shifts, then three days off
  • Three day shifts, then one day off
  • Three night shifts, then three days off
  • Four day shifts, then seven days off

In both the DuPont and Pitman Schedule, employees will exceed at least 40 hours in one week. Therefore, you should ensure you have an averaging agreement in place to minimize weekly overtime.

What is the Difference Between Fixed Shifts and Rotating Shifts?

Generally, two types of shifts are worked, fixed and rotating shifts. Rotating shifts involve rotating between several start times of shifts.

Fixed shifts are set shifts that do not change and if they do, they change ever so slightly. The most common fixed shift is working 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Fixed shifts can include abnormal times such as 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., but the expectation is that this will remain the same throughout a worker’s employment.

Some people enjoy rotating shifts because it gives them flexibility throughout the day. For example, employees who are working afternoons (3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.) on their rotation are able to run errands during the week.

What are the Benefits of Rotating Shift Work?

One of the advantages of rotating shifts is that it gives everyone equal opportunity to work different shifts. Each employee will have a chance to work every shift and no single person would be favoured.

In the restaurant business, employees rotating between lunch service and dinner service will be given equal opportunity to earn more money since dinner service is typically busier than lunch.

Another advantage to rotating shifts is that employees know ahead of time which shift they will be working and can schedule plans accordingly. Rotating shifts can also break a cycle of the exact same shift every day. Some employees may feel bored or tired of the same routine and rotating shifts can create that change.

What are the Negatives of Rotating Shift Work?

There are also negatives to rotating shifts. The main concern is that many people do not want to work night shifts. Although night shifts may have many benefits, employees are generally concerned about their health when it comes to them as they may cause sleep deprivation or other medical conditions.

Rotating shifts can also affect an employee’s personal life due to the lack of consistency.

For example, when your employee needs to take time off to pick up their children from day care at 4:00 p.m. and the afternoon shift starts at that time. Rotating shifts can get complicated when scheduling around an employee’s family, medical or religious obligations. This may expose you to liability under human rights legislation.

Get Advice on Rotating Shifts with BrightHR

While rotating shifts have their benefits and drawbacks, they are simply necessary for certain industries that operate 24 hours a day. You can design rotating shifts in accordance with your preference and operations.

Moreover, it is important that you remove the hazards surrounding shift work in order to maintain a healthy and safe work environment.

If you need assistance with developing a rotating shift schedule into your business, our BrightAdvice service allows you to receive quality advice on any employment issues you may have.

Contact us on 1 888 220 4924 or book a demo today.

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