What Is a Good Way to Organize a 12-Hour Shift Schedule?

A good way to organize a 12-hour shift schedule is to allocate an equal amount of day shifts, night shifts and days off to each worker during each shift cycle. Two possible ways of achieving this are to use the DuPont schedule or the DNO schedule

The DuPont schedule operates under a four-week cycle. During the cycle, each team works three night shifts, then has three days off. They then work three day shifts and three night shifts with a day off in the middle. They take three more days off, work four day shifts and then take seven days off.

The long off-duty period that ends with a night shift is a plus for workers, but the schedule also requires that one week out of every four includes six 12-hour shifts. Workers average two hours of overtime per week.

Another, simpler option for schedulers is the DNO schedule. This schedule also uses 12-hour shifts to provide 24/7 coverage, but it only requires three teams. Each team works one day shift and one night shift and takes one day off before the three-day rotation begins again.

The DNO schedule does not require employees to work more than one night shift in a row. They also have a maximum of two consecutive work days. However, the schedule requires that each employee be paid an average of 16 hours of overtime each week, as workers complete around five 12-hour shifts every seven days.