1st Shift Hours: Pros and Cons of the Day Shift - Hourly, Inc. (2023)

When you start hiring employees for your small business, you have to figure out what types of shifts you need to fill. For some of you that are only open during regular business hours (i.e., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), it’s a pretty easy answer.

But if you own a business that requires round-the-clock service, you might consider a rotating schedule so you have someone available at all times.

You can break up your team’s work schedules into three 8-hour periods: 1st shift, 2nd shift, and 3rd shift. Here’s a quick look at how the shifts break down.

Three Most Common Work Shifts

Shift Also known as Runs from
1st shift Morning or day shift 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2nd shift Afternoon shift 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
3rd shift Night or graveyard shift 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

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Let’s get started by taking a closer look at 1st shift hours.

1st Shift Hours

As the name implies, 1st shift hours refer to the first shift of the day where an employee comes to work in the morning and leaves in the afternoon. The first shift often starts between 8 and 9 a.m. and ends between 5 and 6 p.m. It’s sometimes called the day, morning, or early shift.

The first shift is often used for full-time workers, especially those in office jobs.

Examples of First Shift Jobs

While most first shift hours start around 8 or 9 in the morning, some businesses need employees to come to work earlier. For instance, coffee shops often have staff come in early, so they’re ready to serve customers who are on their way to work.

Here are different types of jobs that use the first shift schedule.

Early start time: 5 to 7 a.m.

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  • Emergency services
  • Security
  • Coffee, cafe, and bakery workers
  • Cleaning staff
  • Grocery stores
  • Postal workers
  • Physical therapists
  • Truck drivers
  • Morning broadcasters

Traditional start time: 8 to 9 a.m.

  • Store managers
  • Bank clerks
  • Office workers
  • Hotel managers
  • Construction workers and general contractors
  • Plumbers and electricians
  • Pharmacists
  • Non-emergency healthcare services

Advantages of First Shift

As an employer, you’ll find it easier to get job applicants for a position with first shift hours than with second or third shifts. That’s because the first shift is the most typical work schedule, which has several benefits for employees.

Here’s why your employees, or potential job candidates, may prefer working first shift hours:

  • More resources: First shift workers come to work during regular business hours, which means other businesses are open too. Employees who need to make a service call or contact a supplier are more likely to get the support they need during the daytime.
  • Better for socializing: Businesses are typically busier during the day, meaning more employees are working the first shift. This gives your employees the chance to socialize and develop relationships with coworkers. Studies show that relationships at work foster a better sense of purpose and happiness for employees.
  • Fits with the body’s natural schedule: More than half of adults have an internal clock that follows the sun's schedule. They wake up within a few hours of sunrise and go to sleep a few hours after the sun goes down. This type of sleep schedule works seamlessly with the day shift, where employees are active and at work when the sun is up. In other words, most adults don’t have to fight their natural sleep rhythm to accommodate first shift hours.
  • Provides better work-life balance: Maintaining a social life is easy for people who work the first shift since they are off work at the same time as most others. In contrast, night shift workers who need to sleep during the day find it more difficult to hang out with friends and family.
  • More childcare options: Since schools and daycares operate during regular business hours, employees with children have many choices for childcare options if they work the daytime shift.

Disadvantages of First Shift

Of course, there are disadvantages to everything too, and the same applies to working regular work hours.

Here are a few downsides to working the first shift from an employee’s perspective:

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  • Rush hour: Heavy weekday traffic goes hand in hand with the first shift since most people come and go to work then. Employees that live far from the workplace might find themselves stuck in an hour-long commute both ways if they work a regular 9 to 5 role.
  • Requires waking up early: While most people rise and fall with the sun, that’s not true for everyone. Employees that aren’t morning people might find it difficult to wake up for early first shift jobs that start between 5 and 7 a.m. Some people may need to get up early in the morning to make the traditional 8 to 9 a.m. start time if they have to deal with rush hour on the way to work.
  • Less chance for higher pay: Many employers pay more to work alternative schedules, especially the night shift. So, third shifts (and sometimes second shifts) come with opportunities to earn a higher pay rate. But since the first shift already aligns with most people's sleep, parenting, and social schedules, employers don’t offer bonus rates for working during the day.

Comparing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Shift Hours

Shift work is typically divided into three sections. We’ve already covered the first shift hours, so here’s a closer look at the other two.

Second Shift

The second shift goes from the afternoon till nighttime and typically ranges from around 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. It’s also referred to as the afternoon, evening, or swing shift.

Jobs that require people to work an afternoon shift include retail, restaurant, personal trainers, salon workers, and broadcasters.

For people that don’t like getting up early, opting for second shift hours is a nice alternative to the 9 to 5. It helps employees avoid rush hour and doesn’t require staying up all night. Not to mention, the second shift is ideal for people that have other obligations such as school or another job.

And if you’re worried about tracking different types of schedules at your business, check out Hourly. The app allows your employees to clock in and out from their phones, and lets you see hours and labor costs in real-time.

Third Shift

The third shift starts at night and typically runs till the earning morning hours or the beginning of the first shift. A typical example of a third shift schedule would be starting work at 11 p.m. and clocking out at 7 a.m. You may also hear this shift referred to as the night or graveyard shift.

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The third shift is a common option for jobs such as nurses, emergency room doctors, air traffic controllers, security staff, firefighters, and police officers.

Since the night shift requires most people to work against their natural sleep schedule, employers often incentivize third shift work by offering a higher pay rate, known as a shift differential. So, it might be a good opportunity for a night owl who wants to earn more money.

Ultimately, different shifts come with their own set of pros and cons. The best shift for an employee depends on factors like their sleep schedule, other life obligations, and financial needs.

First Shift is the Easiest to Fill

As a business owner, you need to be available when your customers need you. For many companies, regular business hours will suffice. But you may decide to stay open late to capture extra business or keep customer service running overnight to address any issues that pop up.

Whichever schedule works for you, one thing is for sure: You probably need people working first shift hours. The good news is that the first shift is the most common schedule, and you shouldn’t have trouble finding people willing to work during the day. Now all that’s left to do is take a look at your business and find the schedule that works best for you!


What are the advantages of working day shift? ›

The most obvious advantage of the day shift is having a "normal" sleep routine. Since humans are programmed to feel more tired and need sleep during the night, working during the day tends to be easier and more convenient for most people. So, if you enjoy sleeping at nighttime, the day shift is an ideal choice.

What is typically 1st shift hours? ›

(a) The first shift (day shift) shall consist of eight (8) consecutive hours worked between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday - Friday.

What is 1st shift vs 2nd shift vs 3rd shift? ›

These three shifts typically last 8 hours and are called, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shift. 1st Shift usually takes place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. 2nd Shift is worked between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. 3rd Shift typically takes place between the hours of 12 a.m. and 8 a.m.

What are the disadvantages of shift work? ›

Increased risks
  • Increased likelihood of obesity.
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Higher risk of mood changes.
  • Increased risk of gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation and stomach discomfort.
  • Higher risk of motor vehicle accidents and work-related accidents.

Which shift is better to work? ›

So, what is the best shift to work? For most, the morning shift (approximately 7am-3pm) is best as it allows for a productive workday whilst not sabotaging time away from your loved ones. It is least likely to negatively impact your health as gaining adequate sleep and vitamin D is achievable for most.

Why do you want to work dayshift? ›

Work-life balance

It contributes to the well-being and mental health of each employee that might affect her/his productivity. Working on a dayshift can spare you so much time to go home when everyone else in your household is still awake.

What is the healthiest work schedule? ›

In general, clockwise shift rotations should be used (day–evening–night). Ideally, a rotational schedule should include no more than 3 night shifts in a block, with 3 days of recuperation after the night shift work. In general, 8-hour shifts are preferable to 12-hour shifts.

What does it mean to work 1st shift? ›

The hours for a first shift, sometimes known as the day shift, are usually pretty close to what you'd expect for the “traditional” working day, starting in the morning and ending in late afternoon. These employees could work the standard 9 to 5, but first shifts can also start earlier or end a later.

How many hours can you work in 1 shift? ›

You shouldn't have to work more than an average of 8 hours in each 24-hour period, averaged out over 17 weeks. You can work more than 8 hours a day as long as the average over 17 weeks is no more than 8. Your employer can't ask you to opt out of this limit.

Why second shift is the best? ›

You've got plenty of time. Plus, the stores are typically less crowded, making your task smoother and easier. Second shift schedules can also be incredibly helpful for those pursuing other life goals, like a second job or education. Having mornings open is perfect for class schedules and other responsibilities.

Is second shift better than first? ›

Working during the second shift allows you to work with people from both the first shift and the third shift, exposing you to a larger variety of people. More people may see your abilities and the value you provide to the company. As a result, this may help you advance into a leadership opportunity more easily.

Does second shift pay more than first shift? ›

The second shift (swing shift) shall consist of eight (8) consecutive hours worked between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. Workmen on the "swing shift" shall be paid at the regular hourly rate of pay plus 17.3 % for all hours worked. d.

What are 4 disadvantages to being an employee? ›

The cons of full-time employment
  • You may find it difficult balancing your personal life. ...
  • You may become too comfortable in your routine. ...
  • Your résumé may lack versatility. ...
  • You may experience more work-related stress. ...
  • Your may find it harder to find new jobs. ...
  • You can't choose your projects. ...
  • You could get bored.
Oct 7, 2021

Why is shift work hard? ›

Sleep loss and fatigue are some of the most significant problems for shift workers. It is important to try and maintain your normal level of sleep and rest. Daytime sleep is usually lighter, shorter and of poorer quality than night time sleep.

Why does shift work cause stress? ›

Shift work is linked to anxiety and depression, as those who sleep less have higher levels of cortisol in their bodies. Also known as the 'stress hormone', this can disrupt almost all your body's processes and can lead to impaired cognitive performance and memory problems too.

What is the hardest shift to work? ›

24-hour shifts are the toughest, and least common, of all shift types. Fire departments are the main ones who implement a 24-hour shift. Surprisingly, many doctors are on a 24-hour shift as well. The staple, though, of a 24-hour shift is allotted sleep time.

What is the best hours to work? ›

As well, there are also studies saying that companies that impose their employees daily working hours are also less productive. In the end, scientists generally agree that the ideal daily working time is around 6 hours, and more concentrated in the morning.

Do shift workers need more sleep? ›

Night shift workers should try to stay on the same sleep schedule every day of the week. This means that you don't change your sleep time on days off. Keeping a regular schedule will help align your body clock with your sleep pattern. This will increase the quality of your sleep.

Why should we hire you answers? ›

Your skills and qualifications. If you can prove that you've got all the skills that the company is looking for in a candidate, you'll have effectively answered the question. Your passion and motivation. You can highlight how good of a company fit you'd be and how much you love working in your field or industry.

Is Day Shift better for your health? ›

Day Shift Is Better for Your Health

Yes, all shift workers are at risk of Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD), but working night shift is a little worse because of the higher chance of sleep deprivation.

How do you answer are you willing to work shifts? ›

Examples of the Best Answers

I am single, live alone, and I don't mind keeping hours that take me out of the nine-to-five routine. As long as I would know at the start of a placement what the hours would be, I would be willing to work any shift. I would prefer to keep one shift throughout each placement.

Does shift work age you? ›

Recent research showed the brains of workers who'd done 10 years of night shifts had aged by an extra six-and-a-half years. They couldn't remember as much or think so quickly.

How many hours is unhealthy work? ›

We try to achieve it even more. But many of us are guilty of working long hours and not focusing on our health. So how much work is too much? A recent study by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization shows that working more than 55 hours a week can have negative effects on your health.

Why 9 5 is better? ›

With a 9-to-5, you know exactly where you'll be every Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: The office. This schedule is great for people who need consistency to feel comfortable and to stave off procrastination. It also makes planning easy, as you have evenings and weekends off.

What do you do on your first shift at work? ›

Below are 13 tips that can help you have a great first day in your new role:
  1. Plan your commute. ...
  2. Plan your outfit. ...
  3. Enter the building on time. ...
  4. Be authentic. ...
  5. Be relaxed. ...
  6. Prepare an elevator pitch about yourself. ...
  7. Ask lots of questions. ...
  8. Be friendly.
May 5, 2022

How do I prepare for my first shift? ›

Here are a couple of easy steps to help:
  1. Research your new company thoroughly. ...
  2. Actually plan out your introduction. ...
  3. Arrive on time. ...
  4. Be prepared the night before. ...
  5. Remember all of your paperwork and details. ...
  6. Give yourself the chance to mentally prepare. ...
  7. Set boundaries early.

Should I go to first shift? ›

First Shift

If you're naturally an early riser and want to have free time in the evening and night, this is usually your best bet. Or if you have children and need to tend to them before and after school, first shift is a good option.

How many hours can you work without a break? ›

You're usually entitled to: a 30 minute rest break if you work for more than 4 hours and 30 minutes in a day. 12 hours rest between each working day. 2 rest days per week.

How many hours is full time? ›

Full Time in California

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, working 40 hours per week qualifies employees as full-time workers.

How many hours is a full shift a day? ›

A work period of eight consecutive hours over five days with at least eight hours of rest in between shifts defines a standard shift. Any shift that goes beyond this standard is considered to be extended or unusual.

What is the most popular work shift? ›

The first shift is the most common shift among corporations. Employees perform work within standard working hours, typically starting after 7:00 a.m. and ending around 5:00 p.m. First shift employees often interact with each other and customers, as people typically share this schedule.

Why afternoon shift is the best? ›

Afternoon shift allows many shift workers to manage their sleep patterns better (second shift workers get more sleep than either day shift or night shift) so they often feel better on this schedule than on a night shift schedule.

Why does second shift get paid more? ›

Higher pay.

Second shift positions typically pay more because they come with a better pay package that includes shift differential. At Schneider, for example, we offer $1.25 per hour more during the week and $2.00 per hour more on weekends to associates who work second shift versus first.

How much is shift pay? ›

Different types of shift allowance

In some cases, a shift allowance may be calculated by the employer as a percentage uplift, for example, from anything between 5-20% on top of the usual basic rate of pay offered by the business. In other cases, the shift allowance may be calculated as time and a half or double time.

Is working second shift worth it? ›

Work-Life Balance Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of the second shift is the added flexibility it gives to your schedule. If you're a parent, working the second shift offers several childcare benefits. If you're home during the daytime hours, you may not need to spend money on daycare or babysitters.

What makes a poor employee? ›

Bad behavior traits include dishonesty and deceitfulness. Bad employees distort the truth, omit key facts and blame others for their mistakes. When caught in a baldface lie, they deny and then lie some more.

What are salary cons? ›

Cons of Salary Pay

Salary pay can be double-edged: While you'll be paid for 40 hours even if you work only 30, you'll earn the same if you work 50 hours, too. There is no chance for overtime pay if you work more than a standard week. That can be a big drawback for some workers.

What employees should not do? ›

Stop Doing These 10 Counterproductive Things at Work
  • Excessive Complaining. Enough already. ...
  • Gossiping. No one likes a gossipmonger, especially in the workplace. ...
  • Cruelly Criticizing Others. ...
  • Avoiding Feedback. ...
  • Beating Yourself Up. ...
  • Taking Yourself Too Seriously. ...
  • Stalling Your Career. ...
  • Isolating Yourself.

How do you have a successful shift? ›

15 Team Management Skills To Have For Shift To Shift Success
  1. Effective Communication. ...
  2. Navigation of Difficult Conversations. ...
  3. Spotting Skill Sets. ...
  4. Proactive Problem Solving. ...
  5. Functionality. ...
  6. Team Centered Mindset. ...
  7. Strategic Thinking. ...
  8. Adaptability.

How do I survive my shift? ›

So this video is going to be 10 tips to get through a 12-hour shift.
  1. Sleep before your shift. ...
  2. Get enough sleep. ...
  3. Prepare your outfit the day before. ...
  4. Iron your uniform the night before. ...
  5. Make sure you have food. ...
  6. Stay hydrated. ...
  7. Take your break as late as possible. ...
  8. Use up spare time by helping others.
Jan 10, 2019

Why is shift work unhealthy? ›

Being overly tired makes it difficult to concentrate, which increases the possibility of errors or accidents. This can be a risk both to the worker and to the public. The stress of shiftwork also can aggravate health conditions, such as heart disease or digestive disorders.

What job causes the most stress? ›

10 of the most high stress jobs in the U.S.―some pay as much as $208,000 a year
  • Urologist. ...
  • Film and video editor. ...
  • Anesthesiologist assistant. ...
  • Judge. ...
  • Phone operator. ...
  • Acute care nurse. ...
  • Obstetrician and gynecologist. ...
  • Public safety telecommunicator.
Nov 18, 2022

Can shift work affect mental health? ›

Recent findings: Shift work is associated with considerable impacts on sleep, depressed mood and anxiety, substance use, impairments in cognition, lower quality of life, and even suicidal ideation. Pronounced sleep disturbances frequently underlie the mental health consequences of shift work.

Can shift work cause depression? ›

also found that adverse mental health issues were more common in shift workers than in non-shift workers, and that shift work carried a 33% increase in the risk of depressive symptoms (15). Furthermore, these workers had an increased risk of anxiety (although this was not statistically significant) (15).

Is working day shift better than night shift? ›

The hours for the day shift typically fit with normal sleeping habits, so working the day shift can help you feel more rested and energized for your job. If you're used to waking up in the morning and sleeping at night, the day shift may be a better option.

What is a benefit of the 8 hour shift? ›

You get to enjoy more free time before and after work. This can especially be a benefit for jobs that are physically demanding or require a lot of lifting or standing. The 8-hour shift allows more time for rest and recuperation each day and helps you avoid too many hours on your feet.

Is it healthy to work shift work? ›

The stress of shiftwork also can aggravate health conditions, such as heart disease or digestive disorders. How do these hazards occur? Working at night makes it difficult to get enough sleep. Sleep after night work usually is shorter and less refreshing or satisfying than sleep during the normal nighttime hours.

Does working night shift age you? ›

Ten years or more of rotating night shift work was associated with 20% decreased odds of healthy aging. This association was consistently observed for the individual component of healthy aging. Overall, the observed association did not differ substantially by age, BMI, and other lifestyle factors.

Does shift work make you tired? ›

Make the environment favourable for sleeping

Sleep loss and fatigue are some of the most significant problems for shift workers. It is important to try and maintain your normal level of sleep and rest. Daytime sleep is usually lighter, shorter and of poorer quality than night time sleep.

Is it better to work morning or night? ›

Studies suggest that working in the morning is better for productivity because, in general, we tend to wake up in better spirits than later on in the day. The morning is the best time to follow routines and stick to schedules because there are fewer distractions.

Why is working at night better? ›

Fewer distractions and disruptions.

Due to fewer visitors, phone calls, etc., working overnight can result in a quieter workplace. While this does not mean working the night shift is slow, productivity can benefit from the increased focus a quieter setting affords.

Why are night shifts so hard? ›

Since night shift workers get most of their sleep during the day, their sleep runs against the body's 24-hour clock—also known as the circadian rhythm. This internal clock responds to indications of light and dark and sends out signals that keep us awake during the day and asleep at night.

Why do night shift workers get paid more? ›

Lucky for you, due to the unusual hours many people are not willing to take these shifts. As a result, employers typically offer a pay premium as an incentive to gain employees during these odd times.

Are 4 10-hour shifts better than 5 8 hour shifts? ›

The math is simple: working five eight-hour shifts is equivalent to working four 10-hour shifts. That's true. But the implications of these schedules are different. The danger is in disregarding the health effects that can occur as a result of fatigue and stress that accumulate over a longer-than-normal working day.

Is 9 to 5 an 8 hour work day? ›

The traditional American business hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, representing a workweek of five eight-hour days comprising 40 hours in total. These are the origin of the phrase 9-to-5, used to describe a conventional and possibly tedious job.

How often should you get break in a 8 hour shift? ›

Commonly held break entitlements

Between 5 and 7 hours work: one 10 minute rest break, one meal break of 30 to 60 minutes. More than 7, but less than 10 hours work: two 10 minute rest breaks, one in the first half of the shift, one in the second half of the shift, one meal break of 30 to 60 minutes.

What are 3 challenges associated with shift work? ›

Shift work is also linked to stomach problems and ulcers, depression, and an increased risk of accidents or injury.

Why working shorter hours is better? ›

By working fewer hours, rather than doing a combination of working and wasting time for eight, workers could be even more productive. Increased productivity could also stem from better worker morale and physical health, borne from more work-life balance with shorter workdays.

At what age should you stop working night shifts? ›

For ageing employees, night work reduces sleep quality and recovering from demanding shifts takes more time. Based on new research results, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health recommends providing employees over 50 years of age with better opportunities to reduce night shifts and long hours.


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