Shift Working

Posted in Human Resource Terms, Total Reads: 276

Definition: Shift Working

Shift working is basically the work to be done by employees in a particular shift or time-slot, where shift is basically the number of hours an employee is supposed to work for an organization in a particular time slot. It could also be considered as the timing during which the employee will work. To maximize production & output or to reach out to clients 24x7, companies can have two or three 8-hour shifts for employees.

Organizations generally operate from a specified certain time to another time. Along with the organizations employees need to ensure that they work in tandem. A common industry & places where shift work is prevalent is hospitals, customer service centers, transportation sector, etc.


1. Shift working can have negative implications on the employee motivation, cognitive effects, etc. Thus job rotation or breaks at regular intervals help maintain the alertness.

2. Holidays and day offs are an important component in shift working to maintain the motivation of the employees. 42 hour/week work shifts always allows for the best division in case of shift working.

3. 3:1 ratio (days working: days off) for 8 hour shifts & 2:2 (days working: days off) for 12 hour shifts allows for the best working shifts.


1. Beneficial in cases where the organization needs people to work for long hours to ensure efficiency. Example, Hospitals, Customer Service centers, etc.

2. Structured working hours (in shifts) ensures that the employee is consistently performing to his potential, as time & job is well defined for the person.

3. There could be a scope for extra remuneration if a person is working for further shifts, apart from the regular income.


1. Shift working timings if varied may have health implications for the employees.

2. Introducing shift changes in a workplace that had conventional work shift timings may have negative impact

3. Not all people are suitable to all specific shifts. Example, a person may be good in day shifts, but might not have the same efficiency in the night shifts.

4. Making a person work for long or extra hours due to shift work, may have legal & labor implications & Issues.

Thus even though we understand that working for unconventional shift timings is difficult, but the work timings could be designed to ensure that it could be accommodated.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Shift Working along with its overview.


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