There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing the right staff work schedule for your business. The type of business you operate, the nature of the work, the size of your team, and a range of other factors will all play a role in determining which schedule will work best for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of shift schedules so that you can make an informed decision about what will work best for your business.

Work Shifts

What Is a Work Shift?

A work schedule, more commonly referred to as a shift roster, is a plan that outlines when each member of a team is supposed to work. This is especially relevant for those who work in different shifts. Not only does this ensure everyone gets fair coverage, but it also simplifies the process of calculating things like wages and compliance.

10 Types of Work shifts

Fixed Shift Schedules

With a fixed work schedule, you and your employees know exactly which days and hours everyone will be working. As an employer, you can give the option of alternating between two set schedules, but they need to be predetermined. The main advantage of this is that you can plan ahead in the long term. Once you establish a template, there’s no need to keep making changes. This also makes it easier to calculate labor costs.

Rotating Shift Schedules

Rotating shifts are work schedules that continually change from one shift to the next. So an individual may start working day shifts, then switch to night, and then back again. This type of system is often used by businesses open 24/7 so they always have staff on hand. Common types of rotating shifts are days, nights, and swings. This way all workers get a chance to experience each type of shift during the week or month.

Full-Time Shifts

A full-time shift requires employees to work a set number of hours each week – just as much as a regular shift. The only distinction is that with a full-time position, the emphasis is placed on the number of hours worked instead of the days. For example, if an employer is looking for someone to work 48 hours per week, they would need to work for six 8-hour days.

Part-Time Shifts

When you work part-time, you usually work fewer hours than someone who works full-time. This can lead to less compliance and lower cost in some areas, but it also means there’s a bigger pool of employees to choose from. The hardest part is making sure everyone is available at common times, which can make scheduling very tough for managers.

Split Shifts 

A worker on a split-shifts clocks in for a set number of hours at one time of the day, then the rest of their required hours at a later time. This means that the total number of hours is fixed. While this type of scheduling poses some difficulties for employers – such as complying with labor laws – it can give employees more time to take care of other important things in their lives outside of work.

Hybrid Work Schedules

Since the pandemic, more companies have been interested in a hybrid work model that gives employees the best of both worlds: the ability to work remotely and on-site. With a set plan and guidelines in place, this type of work arrangement can strike a perfect balance between an employee’s need for independence and the company’s need for productivity.

Seasonal Work Schedules

Seasonal work schedules are only in effect during certain times of the year, as the name implies. This type of schedule can be helpful in many industries – from tourism to transportation. By using a seasonal schedule, businesses can cut down on wage expenses and more easily manage staffing during busy periods.

Compressed Work Schedules

In comparison with standard shifts, compressed work schedules entail more hours worked per day, but over fewer days. This allows employees to take an extra day off to balance their work and personal commitments. As an employer, you’ll have a clearer idea of how many hours are being worked and what that means for your business’s bottom line.

On-Call Schedules

This is perhaps the most suitable type of work schedule for erratic client demands. On-call schedules require employees to be available to work at any time during the day. This type of arrangement is mostly used as a backup in case of no-shows or in the event an emergency arises.


If your staff members are scheduled to work more than the regular standard shifts, it’s referred to as an overtime schedule. This may be necessary during busy periods or when large projects are nearing their completion date and extra manpower is needed. Companies typically avoid using this option as much as possible since paying overtime can get expensive.

Tips for Building an Effective Duty Roster

Here are some tips for making an efficient work schedule:

  1. Keep the scheduling process impersonal. Build the schedule according to how many staff members are needed and the total number of hours that need to be worked, without adding any names to it yet.
  2. Consider combining wage costs in the schedule. This will give you a clearer idea of your overall budget and how much wiggle room you have when it comes to cash flow.
  3. Make sure the process is transparent from start to finish. It’s helpful if you have a self-service scheduling option so that employees can make their own requests rather than having to have one-on-one conversations about them.
  4. Prepare for last-minute absences by ensuring your system is flexible enough to handle unexpected changes. Your roster should be able to easily adapt when something comes up and gives managers time to deal with any necessary realignments.

Manage Work Schedules with KNOW

KNOW can take care of all your complex employee scheduling needs with just a few clicks. You can easily add or remove employees, schedule work shifts, and even track time and attendance – all from your desktop or mobile app even while you’re on the go. So why wait? Get started today!