What types of shifts does your small business need?


You may require employees to work different daily hours to run your business. Other industries and jobs require work hours that are not typical for business. What are the hours that employees must work for your small business?

Different types of shifts

The work hours of your business may be affected by factors such as industry and company needs.

The work schedules go beyond the first, second, and third shifts. These types of changes are common and have ordinary hours. Also, see examples of jobs that use them.

1. First shift

The first or day-shift employees work during the day and get evenings and weekends off.

First-shift employees typically work during regular business hours. Employees who work the first shift typically start at 7:00 am7:00 am and leave at 5:00 pm5:00 pm.

Here are some examples of first-shift work:

  • Sales positions
  • Administrative posts
  • Human resources positions
  • Customer service positions
  • Bank teller positions

These examples don’t necessarily represent first-shift positions. You may, for example, need customer service representatives to work the first shift while others will be required to perform the second shift.

Employees may be required to work the first shift if your business operates during regular business hours. Depending on the needs of your business, employees may be required to work extra hours or come in earlier than usual.

2. Second shift

Sometimes called swing or afternoon shifts, the second shift may overlap with the first and third shifts. Double shifters are allowed to take mornings or nights off work.

These positions may vary. Some people start their second shift at 11:00 am11:00 am, while others begin work at 3:00 pm3:00 pm Second-shift positions usually end before midnight. The work hours are generally 11:00 am11:00 am to 8:00 pm8:00 pm or 3:00 pm3:00 pm to 11:00 pm11:00 pm.

These are some examples of second-shift work opportunities:

  • Positions for quality control
  • Nursing positions
  • Places in a call center
  • Positions in food service
  • Retail positions

Consider offering a shift differential to employees who need to work a second shift. Shift differentials are higher wages that employees receive for working non-first shift positions. Although shift differentials are not required, they can be a great way to attract and retain employees.

3. Third shift

Third-shift positions can also be called a grave, midnight, or night shift. Third-shift employees work late at night and return to work the following day.

A third-shift employee might work from midnight to seven or eight in the morning and may start work at 11:00 pm11:00 pm.

Here are some examples of third-shift positions:

  • Positions as a Firefighter
  • Positions as a police officer
  • ER doctor positions
  • Positions in Hospitality
  • Custodian posts

Consider offering a shift differential to third shifters, similar to second-shift positions.

4. Fixed shift

Your employees might be required to work the same shifts every week. Fixed changes are when employees work the same daily hours, whether on their first, second, or third shifts.

You can make some employees work on different shifts. Employees can work one set of hours while others work another.

5. Rotating shift

Rotating shifts, also known as rotational shiftwork or rotating shifts, are when employees work irregular hours during the week. An employee may be required to work two shifts in a day.

Employers may use rotating shifts to allow employees to change their work hours. This ensures that employees work different shifts every day.

An example is that an employee could work the first shift on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while the second shift might be on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

6. Split shift

Split shifts are another type of work schedule that your employees might have. Split shift schedules allow employees to work two shifts in a day.

Split shift workers might work for several hours, then rest significantly, and then return to work. Lunch breaks are not considered substantial breaks.

A waitress might work a split shift, for example, from 8:00 am8:00 am to 12:00 pm12:00 pm or 5:00 pm5:00 pm to 9:00 pm9:00 pm.

7. Call shift

Employees working on-call must be available to work when they need them. Employees who work on-call shifts usually also work regular shifts.

Employees on call may be required to pay overtime if they aren’t working during their shifts. In emergency rooms, IT technicians, and other professionals, on-call shifts are top-rated.

8. Weekend or weekday shift

Are you looking for employees who can work weekends, weekdays, or both?

Consider offering a shift difference to employees who work weekends, as with the second and third shifts.

Brian Santiago

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