6 of the Best 8-Hour Shift Schedules to Cover 24x7

Do you use 12, 10, or 8-hour shifts? There are pros and cons to each but this article will provide some insight for those looking at 8-hour shift schedules

October 26, 2022

Law enforcement schedules can be a headache to create and maintain. 

Do you use 12, 10, or 8-hour shifts? There are pros and cons to each but this article will provide some insight for those looking at 8-hour shift schedules.

8-hour shift schedules for 24x7 coverage provide safer, more reasonable work shifts for employees. However, they do not allow for as many full days off. 


If 8-hour shifts are required or something your department prefers, you do have some options.

These examples can get you started but will not be able to directly tell you how you should set up your schedule.

Each department will handle their schedule a little different.

How you set up payroll can also have an effect on which rotation you choose.

**Since these are 8-hour shift schedule templates, all 6 examples require 3 squads or platoons, one each covering a different shift. So, you will have to take the templates displayed and add 2 more copies of them. I have only included the first squad/platoon so it does not become monotonous. One squad will be for the night shift and one will be for the swing/mid shift.

1. [5 on 2 off] [5 on 3 off]

This is one of the bigger templates with a rotation lasting 15 weeks.

The officer will work 5 days on, 2 days off, 5 days on, and 3 days off.

We noticed this pattern was used in law enforcement departments ranging from 25-50 people.

(Even though we list what size the departments are, that does not mean a department larger/smaller cannot also be successful with the particular rotation)

Template 1 5,2,5,3

Template 2 5,2,5,3

Template 3 5,2,5,3

2. [5 on 2 off]

The 5 days on, 2 days off rotating shift schedule can be set up a few different ways.

This is the most known 8-hour schedule.

Below are 7 different one-week templates.

We have seen this pattern used in departments from 15 all the way up to 175 people.

5on 2 off all templates

For this one, you do not have to use all the templates. 

We have seen departments use 1, 3 and 5 or 2, 4 and 6. 

Mix and match to find the templates that will work best for your department.

With the [5 on 2 off] you can optionally do something like the template displayed below:

Other option for 5on 2 off

This way, shift times are dispersed evenly.

However, changing shift times that often can mess with your sleep schedule.

Extending each shift (day, mid, night) to 4 or more weeks could provide a viable solution.

3. [4 on 2 off]

The [4 on 2 off] rotating shift schedule is shown below with 3, 6-week templates.

Law enforcement departments ranging from 35-50 people use this schedule.

All in One 4 on 2 off

4. [6 on 3 off] [5 on 3 off] [6 on 2 off x4]

This shift pattern has been used in departments sized 50-75 people

7 templates lasting 7 weeks are shown below.

However, we did see some departments only use 1,3 and 5 or 2, 4 and 6.

This is one you can mix and match depending on your specific needs.

6 on 3 off Template 1

6 on 3 off Template 2

6 on 3 off Template 3

6 on 3 off Template 3.2

6 on 3 off Template 4

6 on 3 off Template 5

6 on 3 off Template 6

6 on 3 off Template 7

5. [6 on 2 off] [7 on 4 off] [7 on 2 off]

This is a 4-week rotation where the person will work 6 days, have off 2 days, work 7 days, have off for 4 days, work another 7 days, and have off for 2 days.

This is a pretty intense schedule working 7 days in a row twice. 

4 templates are required to cover round the clock.

Departments ranging 50-75 people use this shift pattern.

6 on 2 off 4 Templates

6. [5 on 2 off] [4 on 2 off]

With this 13-week rotation, the officer will work 5 days, have off 2 days, work 4 days, and have off 2 days.

3 templates are required to cover 24/7. 

Departments in the study sized 25-35 people used this rotation.

5 on 2 off 4 on 2 off - 1

5 on 2 off 4 on 2 off - 2

5 on 2 off 4 on 2 off - 3

Some 8-hour shift schedule examples are more complex than others.

27.66% of PlanIt Police Scheduling Software users schedule with 8-hour shifts.

All 8-hour shift schedules require a mid, swing and night shift which can be more difficult to manage. 

Your officers will definitely appreciate the shorter shift lengths but time off will not seem as frequent. 

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