While 12-hour shifts can be exhausting, they have some promising advantages.
They are the most popular shift length used by the departments using our system (PlanIt Schedule).
So there has to be a good reason for that... right?
5 reasons why 12-hour shifts are great:
- More full days off
- Less commuting time
- Fewer consecutive days working
- Better family & social life
- Improved self-care
1. More full days off
Obviously, you're working the same amount of hours a year whether it be an 8 or 12-hour shift schedule - averaging approx. 38-42 hours a week.
But 8-hour shifts require more "days."
Think about it, if you work four 12 hour shifts one week and three 12 hour shifts the next week, you've already got your 42 hours done.
That means you worked 42 hours in just 7 days.
Whereas 8-hour shifts, require you to work at least 10 days every 2 weeks just to get in 40 hours a week.
More full days off means more time to make plans with family, take time for yourself, or meet up with friends.
2. Less commuting time
Fewer shifts = fewer days working which = less commuting time.
If you are approx. 30 min away from work and work five 8 hour shifts, that's 30 min x (5 x 2) = 300 min or 5 hours of travel time for the week.
But say you work three 12 hour shifts... that's 30 min x (3 x 2) = 180 min or 3 hours of travel time for the week.
Saving 2 hours a week definitely adds up.
And leaves you with more time to do what you want to do.
3. Fewer consecutive days working
This is kind of the same as the first point but coming from a different view.
Since you are working 12 hour days, you can't work too many days consecutively.
Your body & mind will not function properly if you work too many shifts in a row.
Therefore, you can only work 3-4 days in a row as opposed to 5, 6, or 7 days in a row.
4. Better family & social life
A lot of businesses run on the 9-5 Monday through Friday work schedule.
This allows them to have off Saturdays and Sundays.
Therefore, a lot of your friends & family might make plans on weekends more so than throughout the week.
You get twice as many weekends off throughout the year with 12-hour shifts (compared to 8-hour)...
Giving you more opportunities to see friends and family.
5. Improved self-care
Having more days off relieves stress because it allows a wider window of time to do other things.
Even though the shifts are long, you know there are days off coming and can adjust accordingly.
You have time to recover from your shifts and spend time for yourself.
If you want to take classes or you need to take some training, you would have more days to take care of that.
While this article highlights the positives, there are definitely negatives to 12-hour shifts as well.
Every department is a little different. Make sure you understand both the positives and negatives of each shift length before changing all your schedules.
You and your officers will be thankful.
Want to change to 12-hour shifts but not sure where to start?
Download over 6 different schedule examples below!
- 7 Different 12 Hour Shift Schedule Examples to Cover Round the Clock
- 3 Most Common Patrol Schedules for a 100+ Person Police Department
- How to View Your Schedule From Anywhere - iCal