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.
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.
- Emergency services
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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!