What Are the Different Work Schedules for a Business?

December 13, 2023

In today’s fast-paced business world, having an efficient work schedule is crucial for maximizing productivity, ensuring seamless collaboration, and fostering a healthy work-life balance. Work schedules can vary between businesses and may adapt to each organization’s and its employees’ unique needs. 

Below, we explore the different types of work schedules businesses can use to optimize their workforce and the pros and cons of each one. Whether your employees prefer traditional fixed schedules, work shifts outside regular operating hours, or flexible work arrangements, you can gain insight and understand which is the most fitting work schedule for your company or team.

Different Types of Work Schedules

Work schedules dictate the times and days your employee is expected to work. Ideally, your work schedule ensures your business is adequately staffed so that your employees contribute enough to your business’s bottom line while avoiding overworking your employees.


Most Used By: Most offices and businesses that operate during regular business hours. 

Although the most common type of work schedule, the term “full-time” can vary based on the number of hours. Generally, a full-time shift can range between 8 to 10 hours per day. 

Most full-time employees work from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. However, full-time employees may also have unconventional schedules, such as working Tuesday to Saturday, having their days off non-sequentially, or having a flexible schedule as long as they render enough hours per week. This also includes employees who work 8 to 10 hours during an afternoon or night shift.

Pros Cons
  • Eligible for Benefits: Full-time employees have government-mandated benefits and additional benefits from their company.
  • Higher Take-Home Pay: Full-time employees generally earn more than part-timers. 
  • Not Eligible for Overtime: Exempt salaried employees are exempt from overtime if they work over 40 hours.
  • Less Flexibility: Employees must work more hours to reap the benefits of full-time work. 


Most Used By: Restaurants, service-based businesses, and businesses with low workloads.

Part-time employees generally work less than 35 hours per week. Although they have schedules similar to full-time employees, they only have to work around four hours per workday.

Pros Cons
  • Better Work-Life Balance: Shorter hours mean more time for themselves outside work.
  • Easier to Apply: Most part-time jobs don’t require specialized skills, making it easier for employees to gain experience. 
  • Fewer Benefits: Part-time employees are ineligible for some government benefits.
  • Inconsistent Scheduling: Some part-time positions are only available seasonally or as needed. 

Fixed Shift

Most Used By: Most businesses with fixed operating hours.

These work schedules are arranged in set hours repeated every day. This has less flexibility for employees, but it’s the easiest for businesses to manage, especially for companies operating during certain times.

Pros Cons
  • Easier Management: All employees are expected to be present during a specific time.
  • Routine: Establishing routine hours can benefit your employees, clients, and operations. 
  • Less Flexibility: Employees have fewer options to make up for unworked hours.
  • Global Market Limitations: Maintaining a fixed shift can be difficult, especially when dealing with international clients and stakeholders. 

Flexible Shift 

Most Used By: Offices and businesses that can allow flexible shifts. 

Also known as flexitime, you define the number of hours and days your employees work, while they can set when they work those hours. For example, if your employee must render 8-hour shifts five days a week, they can perform a nine-to-five or six-to-three.

Pros Cons
  • Better Job Satisfaction: Employees experience better work-life balance.
  • Attract Talent: Some prospective employees prefer flexible work schedules, which could attract quality hires. 
  • Time Conflicts: Meetings must be scheduled ahead of time to ensure everyone is present.
  • Communication Limits: Some businesses may have communication issues due to unpredictable work times between employees. 

Split Shift

Most Used By: Bus drivers, businesses who want to accommodate parents, caregivers, students, and other employees who need to manage personal tasks in between shifts.

Split shifts break one shift into multiple shifts per day. For example, employees are on the clock from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM and then have a long break before working from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The best example of this is school and public bus drivers, who are only needed in the morning or afternoon.

Pros Cons
  • Flexibility: Some employees need extended breaks between shifts to accommodate personal matters.
  • Customer Demand: Businesses have the workforce to cater to specific times when demand is higher. 
  • Scheduling Conflicts: Unless everyone in your business has split shifts, this can cause time conflicts between employees.
  • Increased Commuting: Employees may need to travel to and from work multiple times per day. 

Rotating Shift

Most Used By: Businesses that operate 24/7, healthcare, manufacturing

In this model, you generally have three shifts: morning, swing, and night shifts. Your employees take turns between these shifts, which are typically changed every week or month.

Pros Cons
  • Promote Fairness: Ensures employees get a turn handling the less desirable hours each shift.
  • Workplace Engagement: Employees get to meet other employees in different shifts that they don’t usually interact with. 
  • Less Consistency: Weekly or monthly changes may not be enough time to get employees to adapt.
  • Harder to Plan Activities: It could be difficult to schedule activities for the workplace due to the changing schedules. 

Compressed Work Schedule

Most Used By: Offices and businesses that can provide flexible schedules.

Unlike the typical five-day workweek with eight-hour shifts, a compressed work schedule is a four-day workweek with at least 10-hour shifts. The key benefit of this schedule is having three days off.

Pros Cons
  • Longer Weekends: Employees have more days to unwind with an extra day off.
  • Promote Productivity: A shorter workweek can motivate employees to be more productive and efficient. 
  • Longer Workdays: Employees may not like the 10-hour shifts required per day.
  • May Require Higher Pay: Companies may need higher salaries as incentives, especially for night shift employees. 

Freelance or Seasonal Schedule 

Most Used By: Project-based work, only when a task is required within a certain time.

These schedules are often reserved for contract, freelance, or seasonal employees. After agreeing on the working hours with their employer, they work as needed until their project is complete or until their contract ends.

Pros Cons
  • Cost-Effectiveness: A practical solution for businesses with irregular tasks.
  • Flexibility: Schedules can be flexible to accommodate the business needs. 
  • Inconsistent Work: Employees may need to find additional income sources.
  • Less Benefits: Employees may not be qualified for government benefits. 

Why Choosing the Right Shift Matters For Your Business

Choosing the right shift for your business is crucial as it directly impacts various aspects of the organization, such as productivity, employee morale, customer satisfaction, and overall profitability. Implementing a well-thought-out shift schedule will ensure your employees are healthy, productive, and motivated. 

Deciding to change your business’ work schedule can significantly impact your operations and bottom line. If you’d like to explore different work schedules to optimize your employees’ performance, HPWP can help. We provide professional business consultation services to make your organization more effective and efficient. Contact us for questions and inquiries.