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What is a 2-2-3 Work Schedule?

2-2-3 Work Schedule2-2-3 Work Schedule
min read
September 21, 2023

Business owners that have shops or facilities open 24/7 know that a simple 9 to 5 work schedule doesn't do the trick. 


While there are plenty of shift patterns to choose from, a 2-2-3 work schedule is usually less taxing than other shift schedules. This shift pattern can help business owners like you better manage productivity and your employees' well-being


Read on to discover what a 2-2-3 work schedule is and if it makes sense for your business. 

What Is a 2-2-3 Work Schedule?

A 2-2-3 work schedule requires employees to work 12-hour shifts in a 28-day rotating shift cycle. Four teams work 2 days in a row, get 2 days off, then work another 3 days.

Typically, the teams will work opposite schedules throughout the 28-day cycle. So, if one team works days for the first two weeks, the other team works nights. Law enforcement, hospitals and call centers tend to use this schedule.


Here's what it looks like:

Usually, 2-2-3 employees work fourteen 12-hour shifts during the month. This means that 2-2-3 workers only have about 180 workdays a year.  


For comparison purposes, employees who work 8-hour shifts over 28 days may work an average of 20 shifts and about 260 shifts per year. So, while 2-2-3 shift workers work longer hours, they have more time off. 

2-2-3 Schedule Pros and Cons 

Should you implement a 2-2-3 schedule? Here are some pros and cons to help you make that decision.



How to Manage a 2-2-3 Shift Schedule 

Despite the flexibility that the 2-2-3 schedule offers, you may find it challenging to manage employees while keeping productivity on track. For that reason, here are some tips to help you better manage this shift pattern. 

#1. Communicate with Your Team 

Communication is key to helping employees adapt to a rotating work schedule. Make sure they are crystal clear about what the schedule entails. That way, there isn’t any confusion about who is showing up and when, and employees can adjust their personal schedules if need be.


It’s also important to encourage an open dialog between you and your employees so they feel comfortable coming to you when adjustments need to be made or they have a concern. That way, you can be proactive in addressing problems before they blow up.

#2. Pay Attention to Signs of Fatigue & Encourage Breaks

As employees begin adapting, pay close attention to signs of fatigue or exhaustion. Sluggish employees can decrease the productivity and morale of the team. Plus, tired employees are more likely to make errors, like not following safety protocols. 


Whether they need to go to the gym, take a walk outside, or take a power nap, carve out time for your team to re-energize.   


Remember, every employee may require a different break schedule. While some may want to take a break every 25 minutes, others may want to work for 90 minutes before recharging. No matter what works best for them, set a break time limit to ensure your workers stay productive.

#3. Use Employee Scheduling Software

Scheduling software can work miracles for business owners. It will help you schedule shifts in advance and notify team members so they can prepare. This software also makes it a lot easier to deal with swapping shifts or getting coverage when an employee is sick.

#4. Establish Appropriate Start Times 

Setting up an appropriate start time is crucial for the happiness and satisfaction of your employees. For example, if most of your employees enjoy sleeping in, you may want a later start time for the day shift, like 10 a.m. On the other hand, if your employees are early risers, an early start time like 5 a.m. may be better. 


Either way, you want to assign shift start times that work for your workers and allow them to recharge for their next shift. 

#5. Light Your Workspace 

The human circadian rhythm is very much influenced by light, so increasing lightning can stimulate alertness and help your team stay productive. 


Additionally, when employees are more alert, the probability of workplace accidents decreases. 


Using an illuminance level of 1000 lux (the equivalent of outdoor lighting during the day) during the night shift can promote alertness and suppress melatonin production, which makes employees sleepier.

Variations on the 2-2-3 Work Schedule 

Because every business has different needs, many companies have created variations of the 2-2-3 work schedule to serve their customers and employees better. Here are some variations of this shift pattern. 

Panama Plus Shift Schedule 

In addition to the 12-hour shift schedule of a standard 2-2-3 schedule, the Panama Plus schedule also mandates each team works eight-hour shifts every eight weeks. 


Each team follows shift sequences that look something like this:


After repeating that pattern for 8 weeks, the employee will work 8-hour weekday shifts for two weeks.


Employees usually benefit from including an 8-hour shift in their work schedule since it gives them a break from the long 12-hour shift days. 

Pitman Shift Schedule 

This schedule involves four teams working in 12-hour shifts in a two-week cycle and is identical to the 2-2-3 schedule. It follows this pattern:



Since team members get three days off, it’s sometimes referred to as the 2-3-2 schedule. 


Like the 2-2-3 schedule, the day shifts and night shifts rotate throughout the month. As a result, each team member eventually becomes familiar with the busiest and slowest times of the workday. 

DDNNOO Schedule

A DDNNOO shift pattern requires 3 teams to work rotating 12-hour shifts within a 6-day rotation cycle. With this type of shift pattern, workers work:



This kind of work schedule can be advantageous since it requires only three teams and workers only need to work four days in a row. 


However, the long shift length (four back-to-back 12-hour shifts) can be exhausting for many workers, which may take a toll on productivity. 

Dupont Shift Schedule

With the Dupont rotating shift schedule, four teams must work 12-hour shifts over a month. Their ratio of days on to days off varies every week, also known as a period.


Here’s how it works:


Every team will complete all four periods by the time their 4-week cycle is over. 

The Dupont Schedule offers predictability and provides a week off every three weeks. So, it gives each employee time to catch up on appointments, vacations or some R&R.


However, some weeks employees must work 72 hours in one week, which can cause fatigue and exhaustion. Plus, finding employees to fill in for a shift can be challenging when a worker is out, which could throw a wrench in the entire shift cycle. 


What is a 2-2 shift?

A 2-2 shift is a shorthand way of saying a 2-2-3 shift. That means four teams of employees complete 2 workdays in a row, get 2 days off, then work another 3 days.

What is a 3-2-2 workweek?

A 3-2-2 workweek is the same thing as a 2-2-3 schedule, which means four teams of employees work 2 days in a row, get 2 days off, then work 3 more days.

What is a 2-2-1 work schedule?

This is when an employee works 8-hour shifts at different times of the day over a week. This includes two afternoon shifts, then two morning shifts, and then one night shift.

What is shift work? 

Shift work refers to businesses that have employees working in rotations. In other words, some workers may work exclusively in the morning or during the day, while others will work exclusively at night. Unlike businesses that operate strictly during the day, companies that use a shift work schedule usually operate 24-7.

What are the most common shifts? 

Every business uses shifts differently to satisfy the needs of its business. Common examples of shifts include:


What are the two types of work schedules?

There are usually two types of work schedules: fixed and rotating. With fixed shifts, the employee works the same schedule every week. Meanwhile, a rotating schedule involves rotating shift patterns, which work well for companies that operate 24/7.

Keep Your Employees Top of Mind When Scheduling Them

Managing a team that works on a 2-2-3 work schedule is a balancing act. Not only do you have to focus on productivity and business growth, but you also have to look out for the well-being of your staff. 


The best thing you can do is keep in touch with your team and address any problems quickly. Think about how you can stay flexible to your employees’ needs. They may be tired (which is the major downside of this type of schedule), so giving them time to take breaks or a quick nap could really help.

Now that you know all about this type of schedule, all that’s left to do? Start planning who's working when, and let your team know!

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