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What Is A Typical Third Shift Schedule?

What Is A Typical Third Shift Schedule

If you’re reading this guide, chances are you’ve just been allocated a third shift schedule, or you’re wondering whether these working times are right for you.

That’s why I’ve decided to take an in-depth look at exactly What Is A Typical Third Shift Schedule, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of working a job with a third shift schedule.

I’ll also be explaining what to expect and some points to consider before choosing these working hours.

what is a typical third shift schedule

What Is A Third Shift?

Some businesses operate 24 hours a day; therefore, they have first, second, and third shift workers to cover all times of the day.

Third shift workers, or ‘night shift workers,’ are commonly employed by businesses that are always open to the public, such as medical, police, security, and hotel staff. In some companies, employees are required to work shift patterns that cover a 24 hour period – therefore, the shifts are morning, noon, and night. Third shift workers can either have part-time or full-time hours, which depends on their contract type.

What Are Typical Third Shift Hours?

A typical third shift schedule is working from midnight until the early hours of the morning, usually finishing around 8:00 am. Work shifts range depending on the occupation and the company that you are working for.

What Are The Other Types of Shift Hours?

There are three types of shift hours in total. The first shift hours are typically worked by employees from morning around 8:00 am until midafternoon until 4:00 pm.

The second shift hours are commonly from 4:00 pm until midnight. Lastly, third shift hours are worked from midnight until 8:00 am. Sometimes employees may work rotating shifts and alternate their hours on a weekly or monthly basis.

What Are The Advantages of a Third Shift?

There are perks to everything, and even though working until the early hours is not appealing to many, it can be for some employees. Listed below are the top reasons why working a third shift schedule can be appealing.

Less Demanding

Working the third shift means that you’ll have more time alone in your workplace and be less likely to be bothered by others. Working day shifts can be demanding because people are awake and active. Therefore, some employees report having more of a quiet shift during the early hours, making work more pleasant and less demanding.

Free Time in the Day

Working at night until the early hours means that you have more free time in the day for leisure activities. Yes, your sleeping schedule may be affected, but if you decide not to sleep all day after your shift has ended, then you can enjoy the daytime hours any way you like. Think about it… not many people have the day to themselves – because they’re usually working!

what is the typical third shift schedule

More Working Hours

Working unsociable hours means you can achieve a higher income. Companies tend to pay higher salaries to third shift workers because the hours are less convenient and desirable for most individuals. Therefore, there is generally less demand for third shift working hours, so employers need to find workers to fill these less desired roles.

More Productive

Depending on the job, it can be more effective to work the third shift. Depending on the job, it can be more effective to work the third shift. This is because of the quieter environment, fewer colleagues, and fewer or even no general public to interact with.

Furthermore, you’ll have fewer distractions, so you can work more productively. You’ll also possibly gain from being more productive because you’re more likely to climb the career ladder, earn more, and have more responsibilities at work if you’re reliable and diligent at completing tasks.

Career Growth

Third shift positions are usually less competitive than other roles. Therefore, it’s easier to get a pay rise or promotion because fewer people are willing to work these hours.

Disadvantages of Third Shift Schedules

Understandably, there are some disadvantages to working the third shift. Therefore, to avoid your work schedule having long-term effects, enquire as to whether the company offers rotating shift patterns with other colleagues.

Sleep Cycle

Without a doubt, your sleep cycle will be affected by a third shift schedule. Normally, working hours begin in the morning and end during the mid-afternoon or early evening, enabling us to rest at night. However, long early-morning work hours can also impact physical and mental health because the regular sleep-wake cycle is disrupted.

Some employees consume large amounts of coffee throughout their shift to stay awake, which can disrupt sleep health further. It’s important to therefore consider compensating for the loss of sleep and sleeping during the day if you choose to work a third shift schedule.

what is the typical third shift schedule guide


Working a third shift schedule means that you’re likely to miss out on spending time with friends and family. You’ll essentially have opposite schedules because you’ll be awake while everyone is asleep and vice versa. Be prepared to miss out on fun evenings out on the weekends or daytime activities with your family too.

Daily Routine

Not only is your sleep affected by working third shift schedules, but you’ll also find it more difficult to maintain the usual daily routine. Once you’ve come home from work, depending on how early in the morning you finish, you’ll probably want to fall asleep. Therefore, having less time to fit normal daily tasks into the day will affect your routine.

Some businesses will be closed by 5:00 pm, and it may be too rushed to perform daily tasks before your work shift begins. So, time everything accordingly or follow a plan to stay organized.

Work Performance

As mentioned, working a third shift means that you have more time to be productive with fewer distractions. Conversely, for some employers, working throughout early mornings means you are naturally more tired, and your body is craving sleep. Therefore, you may become more irritable, moody, and complete tasks more slowly compared to working regular hours.

Some Common Positions

Third shift employees are used by companies that operate 24 hours a day, such as the emergency services departments, factory or labor workers, drivers, security officers, and hotel workers. So, let’s take a closer look at some of them…


Medical staff such as nurses, doctors, paramedics, or those working in accident and emergency hospital units will commonly rotate around a first to third shift working schedule. Due to the urgent nature of emergency care, hospitals must operate 24 hours a day, which usually means long hours and working nights.

what is typical third shift schedule guide

Police Officers

Those in the police force also commonly rotate around a first to third working schedule. Being ‘on call’ or ‘standby’ in case of a local emergency is important. Therefore police operate 24 hours a day in case of criminal emergencies and must promptly respond to calls.

Truck and Delivery Drivers

Truck drivers are the most popular ‘night owls’ on the road driving to transport goods from one area to another. The amount of time they drive depends on the location and the goods they are transporting, so working journeys with regular stops could take several hours to days. Therefore third shift working patterns are common amongst delivery drivers.

Security Workers

Working as a security officer requires vigilance to check buildings and equipment during late to early hours. They have the responsibility of making sure premises are secure and safe, as well as monitor and report every shift. Because of the nature of this job, 24-hour surveillance is common and requires employees to oversee every shift.

Hotel Staff

A 24-hour reception is common in the hospitality industry. There must be hotel staff available at all times to respond to requests, check in and checking-out guests, and assisting with other requests when required. Therefore working third shifts as a bartender, receptionist, or chef in the hotel restaurant are just some common night positions held within hotels.

Labour Staff

Whether you’re working in a factory or warehouse as a worker or part of the management team, it’s common to work third shift schedules to oversee the night shift and take care of any manufactured goods or orders.

Need to Know More about Employment or Need Some Career Advice?

Then check out How To Ask For a RaiseHow To Email a RecruiterWhat to Wear to an Interview, How to Answer Why are You Interested in This Job, and How To Answer Are You Willing To Travel.

You may also be interested in How to Get Over I Have No Idea What I’m Doing SyndromeHow Early To Apply For JobsHow Long Does It Take To Find a JobHobbies Interests To Put On Resume, and some excellent Skype Interview Tips.

Or check out some superb resources to land the job of your dreams, such as Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, or How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions, available online in 2023.

Final Thoughts

Working third shift schedules isn’t for everyone, but it can certainly be a pleasant change from the regular working routine.

There are many factors to consider before choosing to work the third shift- and it’s not for everyone. However, working third shifts can appeal to some employees. What’s important is finding the right work schedule that fits well for you.

All the very best with your work schedule.

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