When referring to a work schedule, you’re generally referring to the number of hours per day or the days per week that one is expected to arrive to their job. There are more types of work schedules than you may know, these differentiate depending on the position. Your schedule is also subject to change depending on the time of year. For example, in some positions, seasons can influence your work schedule.
Before accepting a position, be sure you know the work schedule, this way you can avoid surprises.
Checking the expected schedule before accepting a job
You can usually find the type of schedule required for a position within the job listing or by asking the interviewer. If you are still unsure about the hours after that, be sure to ask the employer before accepting the job offer.
Sometimes on a posting it will state whether a job is part-time or full-time. It’s a good idea to clarify what that means exactly and how many hours they want from you. For example, one person who was in search for a job accepted a job that was listed as “full-time” expecting to work around 40 hours a week on salary, however, she later found out that the employer was expecting her to work at least 50 hours per week. This can happen the other way around as well. An example of this is an applicant who applied for a part-time job anticipating about 25-30 hours per week but was scheduled 8-10 per week and occasionally even less than that.
When inquiring what type of schedule you have, don’t forget to ask about the days because for all you know it could be 15-hour days and they only want you there 3 days, when you’re expecting to do 9-hour days 5 days of the week. You can never have too much clarification, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Types of Work Schedules
Full-Time Work Schedule
Typically, a full-time schedule requires you to commit 37-40 hours per week. Because of these long hours, a company will often provide full-time employees with benefits whether that be health insurance, vacation and sicks days, or different retirement plans.
Full- time schedules will change with each company you go to, but for the most part, employees have the same reoccurring shifts every week. The most common hours you’ll see having a full-time schedule will be 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, which adds up to 40 hours per week.
A part-time schedule is considered any number of hours that don’t meet the general full-time standard. The main benefit of having this type of schedule is its room for flexibility, allowing you to keep up with responsibilities you may have outside of work.
The downside to being a part-time employee is the lack of benefits and the inconsistent scheduling. A schedule of a part-time employee might look like, Tuesday through Thursday 7am-11am and Sunday 12pm-7pm.
Fixed Work Schedule
A fixed work schedule isn’t necessarily full-time but there’s more consistency to the days and hours you work. Once you have discussed with the employer, and you have both agreed on what days and hours you are comfortable doing, a fixed work schedule is a much easier route to take.
An example of this type of schedule might be Thursday through Sunday 3pm-10pm or Monday through Friday 8am-4pm.
Flexible Work Schedule
A flexible work schedule is less stiff than a fixed work schedule. Typically, you have a certain number of hours and days you are required to work but you can switch shifts with coworkers in order to satisfy your out of work needs.
The ways this type of schedule looks like will vary infinitely, but a prime example of a flexible work schedule would be Monday – 10am to 3 pm, Tuesday – 9am to 2pm, Friday and Saturday – 4pm to close.
Rotating Shift Work Schedule
A rotating shift schedule is meant to give a fair distribution of shifts to all employees by cycling them through the different types of shifts, whether that be morning, swing, and night.
Seeing this type of work schedule is not as common as the others. Jobs that might use this system are military, roadwork, construction, and health care.
Hours for a rotating shift work schedule can change between day shifts (8am-4pm), swing shifts (12pm-8pm), and night, or overnight shifts.
- Certain jobs might require rotating shifts
- Know if you have a fixed or flexible schedule
- Ask about the type of schedule you have prior to accepting a job
Part-time jobs are one of the most common types of schedules, to learn more about what they might consist of, check out What is a Part-time Job?.