What’s a Good Rotation Plan for a 24/7 Shift Work Schedule?

The Dupont 12-hour rotating plan offers full coverage with four alternating crews while the seven-day eight-hour rotating plan provides full coverage with 14 crews operating day, swing and night shifts. Shift rotation plans covering all hours typically involve eight- or 12-hour shifts, multiple teams and long-term planning.

Any rotating shift plan must determine the workload needs of the business, design a schedule to meet the needs, build employee shifts from the framework and adjust the schedules as necessary. There is no consensus on the preferability of eight- or 12-hour shifts. Many companies thrive with either shift length or with both types. Some companies even use 10-hour shifts or, in the case of fire departments, 24-hour shifts.

In addition to shift length, it is important to consider the desired workweek for each crew. Many potential shift plans require crews to work 42 or 72 hours depending on the layout. BMSCentral.com offers 10 different schedule layouts for 24-hour coverage. Many of the layouts including the 4-3 rotating shift schedule, the 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 rotating shift schedule and the 5-3, 5-4, 5-3 rotating shift schedule offer full coverage with 10-hour shifts for crews of five or six with a rotation plan of 20 to 30 days.