Rotating Shift | How does it work, examples and templates to create an effective rotating shift for your team in 2021! (2023)

What is a rotating shift? Here is a comprehensive guide for you, including examples and ready-to-use templates. Read on!

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1. Rotating Shift

2. What is a rotating shift?

3. What is shift work?

4. What is a 2-2-3 schedule?

5. What is a rotating schedule?

6. What are swing shifts?

7. Why are rotating shifts a necessity?

8. Type of shift work schedules

(Video) A Guide to Creating a Successful Rotating Shift Schedule | When I Work

9. Examples of rotating shifts at workplaces

10. How to create a rotating shift schedule?

11. Best suited industries for rotational shiftwork

12. 3 case studies of rotating shift companies

13. Rotating shift schedule template samples

14. What are rotating weekends?

15. What is a pitman schedule and how does it work?

16. What does the first shift mean?

17. What time does the second shift start?

18. What does variable shift mean?

19. When does the evening shift start?

Rotating Shift

Rotating shift is when your work timings keep on changing based on a set schedule. In this article, we will learn more about the different types of rotating shifts and the templates required to create a rotating shift. Rotational shift work is often seen in the manufacturing sector.

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What is a rotating shift?

Rotating shift definition means a scheduled shift that keeps on changing over time. Workers are supposed to take turns working 8 to 12 hours per shift. For example, employees work during the morning shift for a certain period, and later they are asked to work during the evening shift.

What is shift work?

The term shift work is used for any work schedule that falls outside the 7 am to 6 pm work hours. Shift coverage might be either early morning, evening, or night. The shift roster can be both flexible or rotational based on the type of industry.

What is a 2-2-3 schedule?

The 2-2-3 work schedule calendar consists of a slow rotation cycle of 28 days where each employee does a 12-hour work shift every day. The 2-2-3 work schedule usually involves 4 teams that work for 2 days, get 2-days rest followed by 3 days of work.

What is a rotating schedule?

A rotation work schedule is a scheduling practice used by some employers to cover all the different shifts. Employees go through a cycle of working the day shift, night shift, and any other shift. Rotating shift is often used in the manufacturing and labor sectors.

What are swing shifts?

A swing shift schedule is when an employee works at different intervals throughout the day and night. Swing shift schedules are often implemented in organizations that require continuous operations throughout the day and night.

Each swing shift schedule will vary, hence one cannot answer what hours are the swing shift straightaway. Swing shift job description specifies that employees must be flexible with the work timings and plan their days in advance.

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Why are rotating shifts a necessity?

Rotating shifts allows each employee to get benefitted from the rotate system. Each one of them takes a turn into a less desirable role while also getting the perks of better shifts in the preferred time slots. Weekly rotations also help keep things fresh.

1. Rotational work schedule allows talent and expertise distribution

The biggest benefit of the rotational work schedule is the ability to spread talent and expertise across multiple shifts and roles. Rotating a worker across multiple shifts will ensure that everyone has access to their expertise over the course of the project.

2. Rotate shifts lead to enhanced training and development

In some organizations, employees are put in rotational shifts to ensure adequate training time. The employees also benefit from interacting with different supervisors who cover varying shifts throughout the day. Rotating shifts enable employees to take up more expansive roles in the company.

3. Rotating shift work increases employee cohesiveness

Adopting rotational shifts also helps companies in improving employee cohesiveness and teamwork. Rotating shifts allows each employee to take turns in the less desirable role, while also benefitting from the preferred time slots. Another plus is that employees get to interact with more workers while working in shifts.

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Type of shift work schedules

Let us look at the four different types of rotating shift work schedules,

1. Frequent rotation schedule

In the frequent rotation schedule, the team’s working hours change from week to week. In this kind of rotating shift, a person can go from working days to working nights within a duration of seven days.

2. Slow rotation schedule

In a slow rotation shift schedule as the name suggests the change in working hours is not that often. A person can continue working the same shift for months. There is less disruption to an employee’s sleep.

3. Weekend rotation schedule

In the weekend rotation schedule, employees trade weekends, so that each employee gets their turn to spend time with their family.

4. Partial rotation schedule

In the partial rotation schedule, part of the team has normal working hours whereas the other part works in shifts.

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Examples of rotating shifts at workplaces

There are different types of rotating shift schedules that can be implemented in the workplace based on the company’s requirements. Each method has its own pros and cons. We have listed down the different shift schedule and their respective examples or variants that exist,

1. 24/7 shift schedule examples

Let us look at the top three examples of shift schedules for having 24/7 coverage at the workplace,

  1. 8-hour rotating shift schedules
  2. 12-hour rotating shift schedules
  3. 8 & 12-hour rotating shift schedules (8-hour shifts on weekdays, 12-hour shifts on weekends)
  4. 8-hour & 12-hour fixed shift schedules

2. 12-hour rotating shift schedule examples

12-hours shifts are found to be pretty common in 24-hours work industries. Here are the top 3 examples that companies can implement,

  1. [2 on 3 off] [2 on 2 off] [3 on 2 off]
  2. [4 on 3 off] [3 on 4 off] and [3 on 3 off] [4 on 4 off]
  3. [4 on 4 off]

3. 10-hour shift schedule examples 24-hour coverage

Listed below are the three types of 10-hour shift schedules to provide round-the-clock coverage. You can pick one based on the requirement.

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  1. [4 on 3 off]
  2. [5 on 3 off] x3 [5 on 4 off] [4 on 4 off] x2
  3. [4 on 4 off]

4. 8-hour shift schedule examples 24-hour coverage

Here are few options to create an 8-hour shift schedule for your team to have 24-hour coverage,

  1. [5 on 2 off] [5 on 3 off]
  2. [5 on 2 off]
  3. [4 on 2 off]
  4. [6 on 3 off] [5 on 3 off] [6 on 2 off x4]

5. 2-2-3 schedule

The 2-2-3 or Panama schedule is a slow rotation cycle of 28 days where each employee is put in a 12-hour shift every day. This work schedule provides employees with higher satisfaction as it is employee-friendly.

  1. Panama Plus shift schedule
  2. Pitman shift schedule (2-3-2 pattern)
  3. DDNNOO schedule
  4. Dupont schedule

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How to create a rotating shift schedule?

As a manager, it is your duty to consider the advantages and disadvantages of rotating shift work while creating the right work schedule for your team. We have listed down the three important steps that must be kept in mind while designing the schedule,

1. Be flexible while implementing rotating work shifts

Do not forget to practice flexibility while implementing a rotating shift work schedule in your workplace. Allow employees to swap shifts in case of emergency and consider their personal preferences as well. Employee support is extremely essential while implementing rotating shift policies at work.

2. Clear and consistent communication regarding shiftwork schedules

Transparency in communication is the first step towards designing rotation work. Give plenty of advance notice to the employees regarding shift rosters so that they are prepared beforehand. While turning schedules or introducing new ones, ensure that everyone is aware of the changes.

3. Pay attention to work environment during rotation shifts

There are several cons of rotating shifts hence it is important to pay attention to the work environment in which employees are working. Measures such as proper lighting and ventilation, access to rest areas, a healthy cafeteria, clean washrooms, etc can mitigate the negative health effects.

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Best suited industries for rotational shiftwork

Most shift work occurs in manufacturing and service industries but shift work schedules can be implemented as part of any job. We will discuss in detail the different kinds of industries that implement rotating shifts and how they benefit from them,

1. Shift works in the manufacturing industry

The manufacturing industry often handles equipment that cannot be started or stopped within the duration of a single shift. Hence, the need for employees working in multiple shifts arises to ensure a 24 hours coverage. Common job roles include factory workers, production managers, etc.

2. Shift workers in the service industry

Employees working in the service industry are often put on a rotating shift wherein the services are provided 24 hours a day. For example, healthcare services, where shift work is deemed necessary as they have to care for patients by staying overnight or for extended periods.

3. Rotating work schedule in transportation

The transportation industry covers everyone from airlines to bus/truck drivers. Depending on the type of work a person might be expected to work in shifts. For example, Flight attendants and pilots usually work in shifts as the flights are scheduled throughout the day.

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3 case studies of rotating shift companies

Several industries implement rotating shift schedules to ensure 24-hour coverage. Below are three case studies that we have picked up to see how rotating work is carried out in different companies. Check out the three examples to understand the implementation,

1. Dupont shift schedule in pipeline control room

The Dupont shift schedule is the most common rotational shift system implemented in the pipeline control room. There are multiple teams each doing a consecutive 12-hour shift to give 24/7 coverage. For pipeline workers, it is important to remain vigilant during the entire 12-hour shift.

2. Rotational work schedule in Pascagoula Chevron Refinery

To protect Chevron’s largest U.S refinery, Mississippi Security Police deploys 140 guards on a 24/7 rotating shift work schedule that consisted of eight or twelve-hour shifts. Employees working longer days are provided three consecutive days off in addition to the normal two on alternate weeks.

3. Rotating work schedules at Libby-Owens-Ford

Libby-Owens-Ford, a large automotive and glass manufacturer company, has a rotating shift schedule of 12-hours each shift. Each person would work 14 shifts a month – two or three days day shift from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., two days off, then two or three days night shift from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

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Rotating shift schedule template samples

Let us look at the sample templates of each kind of shift schedule to get a better understanding. The rotating schedule templates are designed considering 8-hour, 12-hour, and 24-hour shifts. The shifting work schedule is created in a way to give employees sufficient off days.

1. The 12-hour shift schedule

In this rotation schedule template, the employee is working 48 hours a week in four 12-hrs shifts covering 7 days a week.


O – Off day, D – Shift duty

2. The 2-2-3 work schedule

The 2-2-3 rotating shift schedules have a total of 4 teams where each team works for 12 hours in order to give 24/7 coverage.

Week 1Week 2

D – Day shift, N- Nightshift, O- off day

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3. The 3 crew 24/7 schedule

The Kelly shift pattern uses 3 teams and 3 shifts to provide 24/7 coverage.

TeamDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9

O – Off day, D- Shift day

4. The 4 crew 24/7 shift schedule

Pitman fixed shift worker schedule uses 4 teams and two 12-hour shifts to provide 24/7 coverage.


O – Off day, D- Shift day

5. The 4 on 4 off shift pattern calendar

In a 4 on 4 shifts work schedule, the employee works for 4 days and then gets off for 4 days. The pattern repeats for 8 weeks. Each day the shift is of 12-hour each.


O- off day, D – Shift duty

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What are rotating weekends?

Rotating weekend work is a common practice in which Saturday and Sunday are working days. A rotating weekend schedule is a work shift where employees take turns on when to work on weekends, and when to take the weekends off. This ensures each employee gets free weekends.

What is a pitman schedule and how does it work?

The pitman shift schedule is a common work pattern adopted by companies that need 24 hours coverage. This pattern consists of 4 teams and 2 12-hours shift durations. The pitman schedule occurs on a 2-week cycle, in which teams are required to work for 7 days and get a total of 7 days off work.

The 4 teams are divided into two groups of 2 teams each. One of the team takes up the day shift, working for 2 days, taking 2 days off, work 3-day shifts, have 2 days off, again work 2 days, and finish off with 3 days off. The other group works in the same pattern but on the night shift.

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What does the first shift mean?

Let us see what does 1st shift mean? The first shift means when the employees are working during the day and get the evenings and nights off. Employees working first shifts typically work during normal business hours. Typically work between 7 am to 5 pm.

What time does the second shift start?

What is considered second shift? The second shift or afternoon shift hours overlap with both morning and evening shifts. The employees get mornings and nights off. Common work hours include, 11.00 am – 8.00 pm and 3.00 pm – 11.00 pm.

What does variable shift mean?

Variable shifts definition states that there is no fixed work schedule for the week. Instead, the employer asks you to work different shifts and hours during the week, or your shift changes from one week to another. These types of work schedules are also known as rotating shifts.

When does the evening shift start?

The evening shift hours typically range from 4.00 pm till midnight or 5.00 pm to 1.00 am. Very few people prefer working in this shift due to the timings. Commonly, mission-critical jobs such as law enforcement, healthcare, and military implement evening shift.

Rotating Shift | How does it work, examples and templates to create an effective rotating shift for your team in 2021! (1)

Megha Goel

Megha is a content writer with sharp technical skills, owing to her past experience innetworking and telecom domains. She focuses on various topics including productivity, remote work, people management, technology, market trends, and workspace collaboration.


What is an example of a rotating shift? ›

Rotating shifts are scheduled shifts that change over time. An example might be a customer service rep who works six weeks of day shifts, followed by six weeks of night shifts. In another example, a first responder might work from 7 AM to 3 PM one day, from 3 PM to 11 PM the next, and 11 PM to 7 AM the day after that.

What is the best way to schedule rotating shifts? ›

A key variable of the 5-3 5-4 5-3 schedule is that you can mix the shifts from one week to the next. The teams don't have to work first shift then second shift then third shift. You could set it up so that Team 1 works first shift one week, third shift the next week, and second shift the last week.

How do you explain a rotating schedule? ›

A rotating schedule refers to a scheduling practice used by some employers to cover various shifts. With a rotating schedule, employees work a certain shift, for example, first shift (day shift), for a set period. They then rotate and work second shift (evening or night shift) for a set period.

What is a rotating roster examples? ›

It allows managers to create set shift times — such as breakfast, lunch and dinner; or morning, late and night — and then give workers different shifts each week. For example, a staff member might work the morning shift one week, the late shift the next week and then the night shift the following week.

What are 2 examples of rotation? ›

What are the examples of rotation? In real-life, we know the earth rotates on its own axis, which is an example of rotation. A group of people holding their hands and forming a circle and walking in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. A globe of map rotating on its axis.

What are 3 examples of rotation in your daily life activities? ›

Other Kinds of Rotation

Planets are not the only round objects that rotate. Amusement park rides, such as Ferris wheels or carousels, also rotate. The Ferris wheel rotates around a horizontal axis, and the carousel rotates around a vertical one. Wheels on a car rotate around a strong horizontal bar called an axle.

How do you stay healthy working rotating shifts? ›

You may find it helpful to:
  1. take moderate exercise before starting work which may increase your alertness during the shift.
  2. keep the light bright;
  3. take regular short breaks during the shift if possible;
  4. get up and walk around during breaks;
  5. plan to do more stimulating work at the times you feel most drowsy;
Jan 7, 2021

What is a 21 turn rotating schedule? ›

This shift pattern occurs on a 4-week cycle, in which teams work for a total of 21 days and have a total of 7 days off. In this rotation, teams work 7 day shifts, have 2 days off, work 7 swing shifts, have 2 days off, work 7 night shifts, and end with 3 days off.

What is the purpose of rotating shifts? ›

The distributions of work throughout your team might improve with rotating shifts because everyone works each time slot within the schedule. This is especially beneficial for ensuring no employee continuously works opening, closing or night shifts.

What is an example of a job rotation policy? ›

An employee on job rotation assignment shall remain in the same position number and compensation classification and shall retain all rights, benefits and privileges of his or her regular position. An employee on job rotation shall retain eligibility for promotional opportunities.

What is a 5 2 5 3 schedule? ›

[5 on 2 off] [5 on 3 off]

The officer will work 5 days on, 2 days off, 5 days on, and 3 days off. We noticed this pattern was used in law enforcement departments ranging from 25-50 people.

How do you roster staff effectively? ›

How to roster staff effectively
  1. Use role-based rostering. ...
  2. Assign skilled staff to busy shifts. ...
  3. Share the best shifts fairly among staff members. ...
  4. Start the roster on the busiest day of the week. ...
  5. Allow staff to check their roster online. ...
  6. Provide adequate time off. ...
  7. Share deadlines for leave requests and unavailability notices.
Jan 26, 2023

What is a real life example of rotational symmetry? ›

Other common examples of rotation are blades of ceiling fan and wheels of a bicycle. This where rotational symmetry finds its origin. Also known as radial symmetry, rotational symmetry is that characteristic in which the object looks same despite rotation of it.

What is the example of rotate? ›

Rotate the sheet of paper 90 degrees. The staff rotates the weekend shift. We rotate—she does the dishes one week; I do them the next. You should rotate your car's tires once a year.

What are the 3 types of rotation? ›

These rotations are called precession, nutation, and intrinsic rotation.

What are the 10 examples of rotational motion? ›

Examples of rotational motion are below:
  • The motion of the wheel, gears, motors, etc. is rotational motion.
  • The motion of the blades of the helicopter is also rotatory motion.
  • A door, swiveling on its hinges as you open or close it.
  • A spinning top, the motion of a Ferris wheel in an amusement park.

What are the 5 effects of rotation? ›

Effects of Rotation of the Earth
  • Effect on the Direction of the Wind. The wind is the movement of air in a particular direction. ...
  • Cyclones. ...
  • Ocean currents. ...
  • Change of day and night.

What are problems associated with working rotating shifts? ›

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.

What is the healthiest work schedule? ›

Therefore, some studies may determine that an optimal schedule would be from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with a break around 1:00 pm for lunch.

What is a 3 4 4 3 rotating schedule? ›

In a 3-4-4-3 parenting schedule, the first parent has the kids for three overnight visits, and then the second has them for four. Next week, the days swap: The first parent has the kids for four days, and the second has them for three.

What is a 5 5 4 rotating schedule? ›

5/5/4 rotating schedule

The 5/5/4 rotating schedule uses five teams of employees and three overlapping ten-hour shifts to operate 24/7. This system uses a 25-day cycle. For example, Team A works five consecutive 10-hour first shifts, followed by three days off.

Is rotating shift hard? ›

Shifts that rotate in a random pattern are also very hard on your body. Rotating shifts every two or three days is also better than changing every five to seven days.

What is the importance of rotating strategy? ›

Encourages development

A job rotation strategy helps employees develop other skills they can use not only in other positions but in their main role, too. Development can: Make an employee feel more valuable. Boost morale.

Would you be comfortable for rotational shift? ›

"Are you comfortable with rotational shifts?"-Answer 3

Anything which is needed for company's growth and success will be lead for my growth as well. So if there will be any requirement to work in rotational shifts/night shifts I am completely fine with that.

What is the main strength of job rotation? ›

What is the main strength of job rotation? Correct Answer: B) It increases motivation. Job rotation increases motivation and reduces boredom.

How can job rotation help employees? ›

Job rotation provides fresh perspectives on existing roles

When an employee takes on a new role, they bring their own work style and way of thinking to the job. A fresh perspective can lead to innovation, problem-solving skills and greater efficiency.

What are the characteristics of job rotation? ›

Job rotation is the increase in task variety by periodically shifting workers between jobs. When individuals are moved to different areas within the organization, they develop new skills, keep work fresh, and gain a more robust understanding of how everything works as a whole.

What is the best 24 7 shift pattern? ›

What is the best shift pattern to work? The 4 on, 4 off shift pattern model is extremely common and is often used in 24/7 shift work environments.

What is a 4 4 6 schedule? ›

This shift pattern occurs on a 30-day cycle, in which teams work for 6 days, then have 4 days off. In this rotation, teams work 6 day shifts, have 4 days off, work 6 swing shifts, have 4 days off, work 6 night shifts, and end with 4 days off.

What is a 4 panel rotating roster? ›

Employees are divided into four teams. During a 4-week period, each team will work a set of 4 consecutive night shifts, followed by 3 off duty days in the first week. They then work f 3 day shifts, followed by 1 off day and then work 3 consecutive night shifts.

What are the four factors that affect duty roster? ›

Rostering Best Practice takes into consideration factors such as:
  • patient needs.
  • staff needs.
  • organisational needs.
  • workforce and skills required to deliver services.
  • conformity to relevant legislation.
  • workforce availability.

How do you monitor the effectiveness of a roster? ›

Maintaining the roster - Tips for roster managers
  1. Establish a routine. Establish a daily routine that allows sufficient time to check any variations to the published roster and update as appropriate.
  2. Update promptly. ...
  3. Plan ahead. ...
  4. Monitor. ...
  5. Review reports. ...
  6. Get notified. ...
  7. Remind staff. ...
  8. Timing.

How do I create a work roster in Excel? ›

How to create a work schedule in Excel
  1. Open a blank spreadsheet. Start by searching for the Excel application on your computer or clicking on the Excel icon on your desktop. ...
  2. Create a header. ...
  3. Title your columns with weekdays. ...
  4. List employee names in each row. ...
  5. Enter shift details. ...
  6. Save your schedule.
Oct 14, 2022

What is an example of a 12 hour rotating shift? ›

A 12 hour rotating shift might work like this. For three days you work 12 hours during the day, have two days off; work 12 hours on nights for 4 days, have 3 days off; work 12 hours on days for 3 days etc.

What is a typical rotating shift schedule? ›

Rotating shifts work by having several set shifts and rotating which employees work those shifts over the course of a week or month. Shifts are generally eight to 12 hours. For example, an employee may work day shifts for five days, have two days off and work night shifts for the next five days.

What is an example of a rotating weekend? ›

Rotating weekend work is a common practice in diverse business contexts where Saturdays and Sundays are work days. So what is a rotating weekend schedule? Employees take turns on when to work weekends, and when to have the weekend off. This ensures all get a fair amount of weekend time with their loved ones.

What is a rotating shift in a hospital? ›

A rotating schedule is when you rotate between day shift and night shift. Some hospitals have nurses rotating every three weeks, some hospitals have nurses rotating every three months, and some hospitals have nurses rotating every six months.

What is a 7 2 7 2 7 3 work schedule? ›

24 Hour Schedule Pattern Examples

This pattern is designed for 4 teams, composed of as few or as many staff as you like. Every 28 days, it cycles 4 teams through a very balanced flow of 8 hour shifts: 7 day shifts on, 2 days off, 7 swing shifts on, 2 days off, and 7 night shifts on, then 3 days off.

What is a 5 2 2 5 work schedule? ›

On a two-week cycle, one squad works 5 days on then has 5 days off, then 2 days on 2 days off. The second squad works 5 days on and has 2 days off, then 2 days on and 5 days off. This sequence is repeated with two more squads for night shifts. This method is great for getting consistent long breaks.

What is an example of a 2 team shift pattern? ›

'2 Shift':

Teams of participants usually rotate on a weekly basis. The 0600-1400 shift may be called earlies, mornings, AM, or 6-2, while the 1400-2200 shift may be called lates, afters, afternoons, back shift or 2-10. The default pattern may cover: two x 40 hours = 80 hours per week or two x 37.5 hours per week.

What is a good shift pattern? ›

The best 24/7 shift patterns with 4 teams can be a traditional 4 on 4 off shift pattern or shorter runs of shifts and shorter breaks, through to variable consecutive shifts and rest days with some longer rest breaks. 4 team 24/7 shift patterns may repeat across 4, 8, 12 or 16 weeks.

What is a 7 day rotating shift pattern? ›

Types of rotating shifts

The schedule starts with four consecutive nights, followed by three days off, then three consecutive days, followed by 1 day off before returning to the night shift. In the fourth week of the schedule the team enjoys a full 7 days off before the cycle starts again.

Is it hard to work rotating shifts? ›

Typically, rotating shift workers struggle because their biological clock is constantly being asked to switch back and forth between when they're supposed to be awake and when they're supposed to be asleep. So they often experience fatigue or disorientation – similar to jet lag.

What is an example sentence for rotating? ›

Rotating Sentence Examples. I didn't realize you were rotating here, or I'd have blocked it. The scene was defined by a cluster of police cars and fire engines bathed in rotating lights. Cranes fitted with rotating hydraulic engines may be considered as coming under the third category.

What is a 21 day rotation schedule? ›

This shift pattern occurs on a 4-week cycle, in which teams work for a total of 21 days and have a total of 7 days off. In this rotation, teams work 7 day shifts, have 2 days off, work 7 swing shifts, have 2 days off, work 7 night shifts, and end with 3 days off.

What are the effects of rotating shifts? ›

Rotational shift work is associated with sleep disturbances, increased risk of cardiovascular and psychological disorders, and may negatively impact work–life balance. The direction of shift rotation (Clockwise, CW or counterclockwise, CCW) and its role in these disorders are poorly understood.

What are the shift and rotate instructions? ›

• The Shift and Rotate instructions include:
  • SHL - Shift Left.
  • ROL – Rotate Left.
  • SHR - Shift Right.
  • ROR – Rotate Right.
  • SAL – Shift Arithmetic Left.
  • RCL - Rotate Carry Left.
  • SAR – Shift Arithmetic Right.
  • RCR - Rotate Carry Right.


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