Shift Schedules

Example 12-hour Shift Schedule


Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Work Hrs
1 12 12 12 12 48
2 12 12 12 36

At Shiftwork Solutions, we know that finding the right schedule is difficult. We have plenty more examples of shift schedules on this site that you can see (there is a link at the bottom of this page). In addition to these examples, there are many other issues that need to be considered that are discussed below. Looking at examples is easy, but the hard part is designing the schedule that is right for your site and then implementing it.

We can help you find the right schedule for your site – a schedule that the workforce will support while meeting the needs of your business. From employee involvement to schedule design, policy development, and ultimately implementation – we can help you.

You can find a lot more information about shift schedules by visiting our blog posts on this subject.

Call us today for a Free Consultation: (415) 763-5005


Let’s talk about shift schedules. Our website visitors are asking:

“Can you give me a shift schedule (or shift schedules) that does ________?”

You fill in the blank, and we have probably heard the question.

Before you look at any shift schedules, you need to understand and define the problems you are trying to solve. Some of the variables that you need to look at include:


Weekly Coverage Requirements

  • How many hours of coverage?
  • How many people for each hour or block of time?
  • What skills are required?
  • Day-to-day and seasonal coverage variations
  • Covering absences

Shift Length

  • 8-hour shifts
  • 10-hour shifts
  • 12-hour shifts
  • Combinations of 8, 10, or 12-hour shifts

Communication Requirements

  • Shift-to-shift
  • Within the shift
  • Between managers and shiftworkers
  • Day-to-day continuity
  • Between departments

Fixed vs. Rotating Shift Issues

  • Fixed shifts
  • Rotating shifts
  • Fixed days off
  • Rotating days off
  • Combinations of fixed and rotating shifts and days off

Limiting Factors

  • Health requirements for shift length, rotation rate, and hours of work
  • Cost of coverage (straight time, overtime, double time, etc.)
  • Pay policies and or union contracts
  • State and Federal requirements

At times, all of these variables can come into play. We will define the controlling variables for each of the schedules that we discuss.

Having worked with hundreds of shift schedules, we have found that there are at least 15-20 general classes of shift schedules that can be used to optimize a particular business situation. For each class of shift schedules there may be another ten or more specific variations in day-on/day-off patterns, etc. Technically, the actual number of shift schedules is almost infinite because you can have slight variations in work or pay policies that can make the shift schedule impact on the organization different — even if the day-on/day-off pattern is the same.

Employee Shift Schedule Preferences

As you know, having support from the workforce is vital to the success of any new shift schedule. While this section of the web site focuses on the shift schedules themselves, these schedules will probably fail without the support of the shiftworkers. In fact, the easiest part of implementing a new shift schedule is usually the schedule design step itself.

The most difficult part about making the change to a new shift schedule is doing so with employee and management buy-in. For this reason, we use a process that has been successful at the 200+ companies our consultants have worked with. Contact us today to schedule a free (no-obligation) conference-call consultation with one of our consultants.

Our current shift schedule topic addresses open shift coverage issues on 12-hour shift schedules.

How to Cover Absences and Other Staffing Shortfalls on a 12-Hour Shift Schedule

Other Schedule Topics and Schedule Examples