Don't get the second shift wrong –- this has nothing to do with your overtime hours. Shifts refer to businesses with non-stop operations like healthcare, grocery, security, hospitality, and many others. Such companies and organizations have to secure 24/7 coverage and require employees to work in shifts.
Probably, you will be given an option to choose between the shifts sometimes; most often, your employer will require you to work for eight hours of the day. Let's see in more detail what shift work is and which benefits and disadvantages it has.
Types of Shifts
Day (First) Shift
This shift starts in the morning and finishes in the afternoon. Normally, you begin between 8 am, and 9 am and finish between 5 pm and 6 pm. The day shift typically lasts eight hours, with one hour allowed for lunch.
Afternoon (Second) Shift
The second shift starts late in the afternoon and finishes late at night. It usually begins between 4 pm and 5 pm and lasts until midnight or 1 am. This shift works better for those people who prefer staying awake in the night but like to sleep until late in the mornings. The afternoon shift will also be great if you have other commitments in the morning or in the daytime.
However, you should always plan for your sleep if you have personal issues in the daytime and work in the late afternoon. It may only seem beneficial, for example, to study in your 'first shift' and work in the second. But in reality, you may get exhausted very quickly and, with time, experience health issues.
Night (Third) Shift
Usually, the night shift starts at midnight and lasts until the day shift starts. So, typical hours are between 12 am, and 8 am on the same day. You need to remember that for a human organism, it is not natural to stay up at night so that you will feel slightly disoriented, and your reactions might be delayed. You will need more time to recover after a sleepless night compared to the second shift. So make sure to properly arrange your schedule for your rest.
Split shift assumes that you work in two separate time blocks during one day. For example, you work half of the shift from 8 am till 12 pm, and the second half may last from 5 pm to 9 pm.
Working in a rotating shift means that today you can work in the first shift, tomorrow in the second shift, and on the third day in the night shift. Then one, two, or even more days off usually follow, and the rotation starts again.
Or, your employer can offer rotation every several days or weeks. Like, one week you work in day shifts, the next week you take only the night ones. This is usually done to spread the load evenly between all the workers, and such unchanging shifts are called fixed.
If you need extra money, you can try to work over the weekend. This way, you will not have to work that hard as when you incorporate your second job in your working week. But on the other hand, the precious weekend time when families tend to spend time together will be missed. In this case, you need to consider all the pros and cons.
Why Is Second Shift Beneficial?
So, why would you agree to work until late afternoon? What good points about it can you name? Let's take a look at the benefits of working in the second shift.
You are free during business hours. This is good not only in terms of buying groceries without standing in a queue. Shopping centres are not so crowded in the daytime, so you can buy all you need much quicker. If you take your children to various activities, you can let them join earlier classes, so they can already be free by the end of the day.
You can see a doctor when needed. And do it without asking for permission and worrying if the visit lasts longer than expected. Especially when you have kids, you can always take care of them, and this is precious. You can plan for some activities with free daytime or even do some side job like walking with someone's dog or babysitting.
You can save money on daycare. If your husband or wife works regular hours and you work in the second shift, this is a great way to save on your child or several kids’ daycare costs. Yes, staying with kids at home sometimes can be even more challenging work than your job. But this is a chance for you to spend more time with your children and see them grow. When your spouse comes home, you leave, so this schedule looks acceptable.
You can drive in less traffic. Rush hours are challenging. You have to add another hour or two for getting to your office, and then another two for going back. Those people who live in big cities are used to spending their lives in traffic jams. But isn't it advantageous to stay on the other part of the road and enjoy the saved time? Spend that hour for a walk, or shopping, or cooking dinner instead of waiting in your car or a bus.
To Sum It Up
When you consider working until late, you should think of all the pluses and minuses of such life. If your health is good and you are young, working in the second shift might not harm you. Ask your employer about the long-term schedule if you can change it once the circumstances change. Ask if there will be urgent requests to come to work if another employee gets ill or faces some personal issues.
Once you know which type of schedule you have (rotating or fixed) and when your employer can notify you of your shift change, you can plan your time accordingly.