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.

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
Per week {{ hoursPerWeek.toLocaleString() }} ${{ wagePerWeek.toLocaleString() }}
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 the pattern in RotaPlanner.app

To setup the 4 on 4 off pattern within our rota planner you will need to create a recurring shift for each of the 8 days.

Option 1 (simple)

The simple way to implement this pattern is to create two daily recurring shifts, one for the day shift and one for the night shift.

The problem with this approach is that it's harder to differentiate between the 4 days on and the 4 days off.

With the following approach you can add custom shift titles to differentiate between the 4 on and 4 off days.

Simple implementation of 4 on 4 off shift pattern

Option 2 (advanced)

This approach takes a bit more work to setup initially but does give you the ability to differentiate between the 4 days on and 4 days off.

If you're using the 12-hour shifts, you will need to create two shifts for each day, one for the day shift and one for the night shift. So 16 recurring shifts in total. Don't worry - you will only have to do this once and you'll never have to touch it.

Here's how you create one shift:

  1. Click 'Add shift' and enter your desired hours
  2. In the 'Recurrance' option select 'Custom'
  3. Enter every '8' days in the additional options
  4. Finish filling in the details and click 'Add shift'

Here's what your add shift modal should look like:

Add shift

Here's what your calendar will look like after adding your first shift:

Day 1 added of 4 on 4 off shift pattern

Now add the next 3 day shifts, and you should have something like this, you can see it's starting to take shape:

Day 4 added of 4 on 4 off shift pattern

Now let's add the 4 night shifts for the same days, it should look like this:

Night shifts added of 4 on 4 off shift pattern

That's all the '4 on' shifts created. Now we just need to create the same shifts for the '4 off' days.

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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.

Simple, modern way to do shift management

Improve your team's visibility of their shifts by enabling employees to view their shifts online.

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