4 on 4 off shift pattern

What is a 4 on 4 off shift pattern

In this pattern, employees work for four consecutive days followed by four consecutive days off, creating a rotating schedule.

Here is an example of how a 4 on 4 off rota pattern might work:

Week 1:

  • Monday: Work
  • Tuesday: Work
  • Wednesday: Work
  • Thursday: Work
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Off

Week 2:

  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday: Work
  • Wednesday: Work
  • Thursday: Work
  • Friday: Work
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Off

The advantage of this schedule is that it provides employees with extended periods of time off, allowing for better work-life balance and potentially reducing fatigue associated with traditional five-day workweeks.

It also ensures continuous coverage for businesses that operate 24/7. Variations of this pattern can exist, depending on the requirements and policies of the organization implementing it.

The 4 on 4 off shift pattern is often also referred to as working 4 on 4 off. It simply the same 4 on 4 off rotating schedule!

4 on 4 off shift pattern

Average weekly hours

For a 4 on 4 off shift pattern, the average weekly working hours is 42.
This assumes you're working 12-hour shifts.

This is calculated by multiplying an average of 3.5 shifts per week by 12.

If you work 8-hour shifts; your average weekly hours will be 28.

Average yearly hours

Assuming 12-hour shifts, your hours per year will be 2190 using the 4 on 4 off schedule.

This is calculated by multiplying 182.5 average shifts per year (half of 365) by 12.

You can use the calculator below to work out your hours for other variations of 4 on 4 off rota pattern.

How many weekends?

With the 4 on 4 off shift pattern, you will work 1 weekend every 4 weeks.

Hours & wage calculator

Here's a helpful calculator to work out how many hours you would work per week, month or year in the 4 on 4 off shift pattern.

You can also use this calculator to work out your weekly and monthly pay for 4 on 4 off shift schedule.




Results recalculate automatically.
Hours Pay
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Per month {{ hoursPerMonth.toLocaleString() }} ${{ wagePerMonth.toLocaleString() }}
Per year {{ hoursPerYear.toLocaleString() }} ${{ wagePerYear.toLocaleString() }}

These are averages and not exact values. The exact values depend on where in the shift pattern you start your calculations from and how long that specific month is.

Our rota software can do these calculations for you, and more.


With the 4 on 4 off shift pattern you will be working roughly:

Here's a full month of '4 on 4 off' shift pattern illustrated. It contains {{ monthIllustration.workingDays }} working days.
W = Working, O = Off.


If you were the second person in the rotation, you would have {{ monthOppositeIllustration.workingDays }} working days:



And here is a full year illustrated, it has {{ yearIllustration.workingDays }} working days.


Common shift hours 🕒

Here are the most popular shift hours for 12-hour shifts in this schedule, to allow for continuous coverage for a 24-hour operation:

7:00 AM is often the most common start time for 12-hour shifts. This start time allows for a relatively early beginning to the workday while still providing a consistent schedule for employees.

Here's an example of how the 4 on 4 off shift pattern might work with a 6am start:

Person 1 - Day Shift Pattern (6:00 AM - 6:00 PM):

Person 2 - Night Shift Pattern (6:00 PM - 6:00 AM):

Person 3 - Day Shift Pattern (6:00 AM - 6:00 PM):

Person 4 - Night Shift Pattern (6:00 PM - 6:00 AM):

How to implement 4on4off in RotaPlanner.app

You can easily implement the 4 on 4 off shift pattern in the rota planner using the templates feature.

How to add the template

Here's how you add a 4 on 4 off template to your rota:

  1. Click 'Add shift' on your desired start day
  2. Select 'Use template' at the top of the modal Add shift button
  3. Select '4 on 4 off' in the template drop down Select shift pattern 4 on 4 off template
  4. Filling in the details and click 'Add tempalte'

By default the template adds just one 4 on 4 off shift.

4 on 4 off shift pattern with 1 shift

For a 12 hour shift pattern with 24 hour coverage, you will need to add 2 of the templates per day. Here's what your rota would look like:

4 on 4 off shift pattern with 2 shifts

The above shows a 7 till 7, 12 hour shifts in a 4 on 4 off shift pattern. Generally you will need 4 memebers of staff or 4 teams to cover the shifts with this pattern.

Managing assignments when using templates

If your assignments will always be the same you can specify them when creating the template. It's possible to change the assignments after the template has been added and to override the assignments on just an individual day by editing the shift instance.

If your assignments will change regularly you may wish to leave the assignments blank when creating the template. You can then assign staff to the inidivudual shifts as required.

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Why is the 4 on 4 off shift pattern so popular?

It's simple math, really. With four days off, you have ample time to tackle your never-ending to-do list. That's right, folks, four days of procrastination recovery!

The 4 on 4 off shift pattern is popular for several reasons:

  1. Work-life balance: The schedule allows employees to have extended periods of time off, which can enhance work-life balance. With four consecutive days off, employees have more time for personal activities, family commitments, and leisure, which can contribute to overall job satisfaction.

  2. Longer breaks: Compared to traditional five-day workweeks, the 4 on 4 off pattern provides longer breaks between work shifts. This can help reduce fatigue and burnout, as employees have more time to rest and recover.

  3. Continuous coverage: Industries that require round-the-clock operations, such as manufacturing, healthcare, and emergency services, need continuous coverage. The 4 on 4 off pattern ensures that there are always employees available to cover all shifts, without the need for excessive overtime or hiring additional staff.

  4. Predictability: The repeating nature of the 4 on 4 off pattern provides a predictable schedule for employees. They know their work and rest days in advance, which can help with planning personal activities and commitments outside of work.

  5. Reduced commuting: With four consecutive days off, employees may have the opportunity to save on commuting costs, as they can plan their personal activities during their days off without having to travel to work.

  6. Job satisfaction and retention: The 4 on 4 off pattern can contribute to higher job satisfaction and employee retention. Having a predictable and balanced schedule can improve overall job satisfaction and reduce the likelihood of burnout, leading to increased employee loyalty and longevity within the organization.

What are some alternatives to the shift pattern?

Ever heard of the 'Popcorn Shift'? It's where you work sporadic bursts of intense productivity, followed by periods of delicious snacking.
Be careful not to burn yourself out eating all the office snacks!

There are several alternative shift patterns that organizations may consider based on their specific needs and operational requirements. Here are a few examples:

  1. Fixed Shifts: In this pattern, employees work the same shift consistently, such as the day shift (e.g., 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM), evening shift (e.g., 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM), or night shift (e.g., 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM). This pattern provides stability and allows employees to plan their personal lives more easily.

  2. Rotating Shifts: Rotating shift patterns involve employees rotating through different shifts, such as morning, afternoon, and night shifts. For example, employees might work the morning shift for a week, followed by the afternoon shift for a week, and then the night shift for a week. This pattern ensures fair distribution of shifts among employees but may result in more frequent changes to sleep and circadian rhythms.

  3. Split Shifts: In a split shift pattern, an employee's workday is divided into two distinct shifts, typically with a significant break in between. For example, an employee might work from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and then have a break until returning to work from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Split shifts are common in industries like transportation and hospitality.

  4. 5-2 Shifts: This pattern involves working five consecutive days followed by two consecutive days off. It follows a traditional Monday to Friday workweek, allowing employees to have weekends off. This pattern is commonly used in office settings and other industries that operate primarily on weekdays.

  5. 12-Hour Shifts: Instead of the traditional 8-hour shifts, some organizations opt for 12-hour shifts. This pattern typically involves working for three or four days in a row and then having an equal number of consecutive days off. It provides longer stretches of time off but may result in longer workdays and potentially increased fatigue.

  6. Compressed Workweek: In a compressed workweek, employees work longer hours per day but have more days off. For example, instead of working 8-hour shifts for five days, employees might work 10-hour shifts for four days, resulting in an additional day off each week. This pattern allows for longer stretches of rest and can be suitable for industries that can accommodate longer workdays.

Why you should implement a rota planner for 4 on 4 off shifts

Rota planner software offers several advantages when implementing a 4 on 4 off shift pattern. It enables efficient scheduling, ensures fair allocation of shifts, helps with compliance, provides real-time visibility and communication, offers adaptability and flexibility, and provides valuable analytics and insights.

RotaPlanner.app can help you streamline the scheduling process, enhance communication, and contribute to efficient workforce management.

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