Advantages of 12-Hour Shifts


Twelve-hour shifts are common within the medical industry, as nurses and doctors typically follow such schedules in hospital jobs, and they are also common in 911 dispatch positions. However, while many might balk at the thought of working 12 continuous hours in one day, there are many advantages associated with these schedules compared with the typical eight-hour work day.

Fewer Days Worked

  • The normal workweek consists of eight hours per day for five days to reach 40 work hours per week. However, because certain workers are on 12-hour-per-day schedules, they have to work only three days per week. It's common for dispatchers to work two days at 12 hours per day, then get two full days off, then work three 12 hour shifts and get another two days off. The cycle continues so that employees work the hours they need but also get the proper time off. Nurses and dispatchers commonly work no more than three consecutive days and typically get a three-day weekend every other weekend.

Less Commuting

  • Unlike those who work eight-hour work schedules, 12-hour shift workers typically don't have to be at work five days a week. This cuts down on commuting time, which helps employees save gas money and wear and tear on a vehicle, especially if they have a lengthy commute into work. Additionally, because people are driving less, there are fewer pollutants from vehicle emissions in the air, which also helps the environment.


  • Another benefit of working 12-hour shifts is the predictability of the schedule. Workers know they won't have to work more than three consecutive days and get three-day weekends every other week. They also typically know their schedules up to months in advance, which allows them to better plan personal appointments and family activities around work hours. Furthermore, since schedules are made well in advance, it allows workers to request specific days off from supervisors and also allows workers more time to switch shifts in the event of any conflict.

Increase in Productivity

  • According to Business Management Systems, employees prefer working 12-hour shifts. Generally, when employees are happy working at certain hours or on a particular schedule, they're better motivated. Additionally, 12-hour shifts don't require as frequent of shift changes as other shifts do. This leads to an increase in productivity, as it allows workers to get into a rhythm without having to stop after a certain period of time.

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