Recently I gave an interview for a company. And they selected me and asked to join from next month.

So, Company(the team in which I got selected) works 24hr as clients are from all over the world. And to achieve that they have to work in shifts. They even asked me if I am comfortable working in shifts. I obviously said Yes.

But they explained me their shift structure as, You have to work from 17.30 to next day 9.30 with 2 hr break and it will count as 2 days. But next they told me this kind of night shift will be only 6-8 times a month and your effective monthly days of work will not exceed 22 days/month. and yeah other days will be normal 9 to 17.30 day shift.

So, I was wondering am I going to get more free time than doing normal shift? Or it will be same ? I have no experience of such thing.

  • What kind of job? 17:30 to 9:30 plant operator with long stretch of just monitoring is doable. 17:30 to 9:30 dealing with customers on the phone or writing software... Well, good luck with that.
    – Jeffrey
    Nov 22, 2019 at 4:08
  • @JoeStrazzere I am a man in desperate need in work. please understand.
    – HungryFooL
    Nov 22, 2019 at 5:14
  • Usually working night shifts is harder than a day shift. But can you easily shift between night shift and a day shift 6-8 times per week? This sounds even harder. Yes it's possible but it has a cost. You can't compare apples to oranges here.
    – Brandin
    Nov 22, 2019 at 5:26

3 Answers 3


Let's do the maths here...

You say they want you to do these overnight double-shifts 6-8 times a month. Working from 17.30 to 9.30 with a 2-hour break adds up to 14 hours of work. If the shifts do count as 2 days, then that's an average of 7 hours "per day" for 16 days.

The normal shift is 9.00 to 17.30 - assuming a typical 30 minute lunch break, that is 8 hours per day. So, you're doing one less hour "per day" on the night shifts - or 16 hours less each month.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

Except - those 2-hour breaks in the middle of the night shift are in the middle of the night. What can you do for two hours in the middle of the night?

On the other hand, those double shifts sounds like it means mean you do 16 days of work in only 8 days - so you have more whole days without being rostered than you would if your did the same hours of normal day shifts, don't you? This is why some people work 10-hour days for a 40-hour week - they get a 3-day weekend. With this shift system, you're essentially getting 4-day weekends, aren't you?

As pointed out in a comment by puck - this isn't quite that straightforward. Sure, you're doing 14 hours work in a 24-hour period - but you're actually working across two days (starting on Monday evening and finishing on Tuesday morning, for example). Say you do four of these shifts in a block - your first shift starts on Monday evening, and you finish your last shift Friday morning - you're going to want to sleep Friday and some of Monday. Then again, doing two of these blocks in a fortnight means you only have to do 6 day shifts throughout the rest of the month (instead of 10 or 11 days). But this also means you're only getting 8 hours to get home from your Monday/Tuesday shift, eat dinner, sleep, eat breakfast, do other things, and then start your Tuesday/Wednesday shift. There may also be rules or laws around the maximum number of hours you can regularly work in a week - meaning you'll be mixing up night shifts, day shifts, and rostered time off.

Personally, I wouldn't take a job with such a schedule - constantly swinging between day and night shifts will seriously disrupt your sleeping patterns, and studies have shown it to be detrimental to your physical and mental health in the long run.

  • "you do 16 days of work in only 8 days" - unfortunately there are no entirely free days thrown in. This nightly shift counts as two days - but on one day you go to work in the evening and on one other day you come home from work in the morning. That's not like going to work a day and have another day without any work.
    – puck
    Nov 22, 2019 at 5:43
  • @puck good point... I'll dig a bit deeper again
    – HorusKol
    Nov 22, 2019 at 6:05
  • If you do a night shift from Monday to Tuesday and then another one from Tuesday to Wednesday, this counts as 4 total work days so you get an extra day off beyond Monday to Wednesday daytime. Their might be legal restrictions to that depending on your jurisdiction.
    – quarague
    Nov 22, 2019 at 7:48

17:30-9:30 is 16 hours with 2 hour break sounds brutal. Employment law differs from country to country and sometimes state to state wrt how long you can legally work for and this tends to come from a health and safety perspective.

My summary:

  • Assuming an average of 21.7 working days per month (365 x 5/7 / 12), not accounting for holidays
  • 8 x 16 hours (counts as 2 days) = 16 days
  • That leaves 5.7 days of "normal" shifts per month

An optimistic perspective: 8 week days not working per month sounds great

A pessimistic perspective: Unless you can handle

It would be much better to understand what a typical shift pattern looks like on a week to week basis if that's possible.

e.g. alternating:

  • 3 long, 2 short, 2 off
  • 2 long, 3 short, 2 off
  • 1 long, 1 short, 3 off

(Btw I know the above doesn't add up to my original caclulations, I just wanted to illustrate my point). Tbh I think it takes a special kind of person to handle shift work. I've done oncall work in IT many years ago and that knocked me around enough, let alone 16 hour long shifts at a time. What kind of work is it?

"Follow the sun shifts" as you've described aren't that unusual in the IT and Contact Centre space however in my experience they're normally 8-9 hour shifts with a brief overlap at each end to hand over between regions.


What you should consider from your description.

  • The night shift counts as two days - but remember you are working on two days in this night shift. The day you start and the day you finish.
  • You will not exceed 22 days per month. This is not less than during a normal "day-only shift" job.

So, I was wondering am I going to get more free time than doing normal shift?

To me this sounds like there can't be entire extra free days that are not touched by work at all.

There could be some more free time if you combine the work time of two days and do other work related things only once in two days, such as commuting. You work at some nights and have more time left in the days.
Of which you will sleep a while, of course. Don't forget that in your calculations.

It depends on you how you like or dislike and you can or can't handle this.
This could be fun for someone who likes the change of work and leisure times instead of monotonic everyday's same procedure. You can go shopping, do work in/on your home at different times of the day or have appointments at the doctor or anywhere else without having to pinch time off your working hours.
But it can become stressful for those who can't handle this change. You are switching your sleeping and being awake times a couple of times a month.

My personal impression of shift working is

  • If you have doubts about that, you shouldn't expect to nevertheless grow into this somewhen.
  • If this sounds like fun to you, still imagine how this would look like in practice, that means include sleeping times and find out how you will handle the switch of sleeping times.

You said nothing about weekend shifts. Would you be ok working on the weekend?

If you are interetsed why not ask for some schedule examples to be sure how this works.

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