Continental shift work, also known as a continental plan, is an employee scheduling plan that accounts for operations that require around-the-clock staff. This plan cycles employee teams through a succession of morning, evening and night shifts over the course of a work week.
For example, a team of employees on the continental plan works three morning shifts on successive days, followed by two days of evening shifts, followed by two days of night shifts. Following this seven-day work period, employees have two days off.
The continental plan is named because of its popularity in central Europe, which is historically known as the Continent.