Defining Shiftwork

A definition of the word shift work.Defining Shift work

Shift work involves working outside the normal daylight hours. That is, outside the hours of around 7 am to 6 pm, the time period in which many people in our society work an eight-hour shift.

The need to sleep during the day (or, for the evening worker, to be on the job during the dinner hour and the family-oriented part of the day) means that the shift worker often misses out on family activities, entertainment, and other social interaction.

  • Shift workers might:
    • work in the evening, in the middle of the night
    • work extra-long workdays
    • work regular days at one time or another
    • “Rotate” around the clock, involving changing work times from day to evening or day to night, happening at different times of the week or month.
  • Shift work is often differentiated from “night work.” In this case, night work is an element of shiftwork during a period that, depending on the jurisdiction may be defined to encompass periods from as early as 10 pm to anywhere between 5 am to 7 am.