The Continental shift schedule is a fast rotating shift pattern that uses 4 teams and three 8-hr shifts to provide 24/7 coverage. Each team rotates through a sequence of 2, 2, and 3 consecutive day shifts, swing shifts, night shifts, or days off. The following is a typical team schedule for a 4-week (28 days) repeat cycle:
- Week 1: 2 day shifts, 3 swing shifts, 2 night shifts
- Week 2: 2 days off, 3 day shifts, 2 swing shifts
- Week 3: 2 night shifts, 3 days off, 2 day shifts
- Week 4: 2 swing shifts, 3 night shifts, 2 days off
Although Continental Shiftpopular in shiftwork, the transition between the day oriented circadian physiology and the requirement for work and sleep at the “wrong” biological time of day may cause sleep loss, fatigue, and shift work disorder.
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|Name||Continental Plan, also referred to as the 2-2-3 Rota|
|Shifts||Day (8-hr), Swing (8-hr), Night (8-hr)|
|Repeat Cycle||28 days|
|Rotation||Fast, forward rotation from day shift to swing shift to night shift|
|Average Hours per Week||42|
|Staffing Fluctuation||Balanced from shift to shift and day to day|
|Common Usage||Popular with 24/7 operations that prefer 8-hr shifts|
|Notes||This is an alternative to the Metropolitan plan for 24/7 operations using 8-hr shifts. It provides up to 3 consecutive days off and ensures 1 free weekend every 4 weeks. Its main drawback is the long 7 consecutive work days.|