An Engineer’s Guide to Maintenance Shift Patterns

maintenance engineer shift patterns

Whether you’re a seasoned Maintenance Engineer or relatively new to the profession, the numerous shift patterns and jargon can be confusing. This blog is a simple guide to maintenance shift patterns and will help you to decide what’s best for you during your job search.

We recently asked our Maintenance Engineers what their biggest deciding factor in their job search is outside of salary and the majority stated that the right shifts are their #1 priority. So, what’s the right maintenance shift for you? See some of the most common below.

Continental Shifts

The most common of all maintenance shifts is the Continental pattern. In a nutshell, you would be working 12-hour shifts on a 4-on-4-off basis. Typically, week one would be 4 straight days, week two 4 straight nights, with 4 days off in between. Your rota would look something like the below:

Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
6am-6pm 6am-6pm 6am-6pm 6am-6pm off off off
Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
off 6pm-6am 6pm-6am 6pm-6am 6pm-6am off off


Panama Shifts

Also known as the lifestyle shift, Panama works nicely for those that would prefer to work fewer weekends. Working 12-hour shifts on a 3-on-3-off followed by 2-on-2-off basis, with a rotation of both days and nights, a rota would look like the below:

Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
6am-6pm 6am-6pm 6am-6pm off off off 6am-6pm
Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
6am-6pm off off 6pm-6am 6pm-6am 6pm-6am off


Three Shifts

The three-shift pattern is another of the most common offered to Maintenance Engineers. Consisting of a week of earlies, a week of afternoons and a week of nights, the three shift pattern gives you every weekend off. Working days are 8 hours, and the typical three shift rota looks something like this:

Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
6am-2pm 6am-2pm 6am-2pm 6am-2pm 6am-2pm off off
Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
2pm-10pm 2pm-10pm 2pm-10pm 2pm-10pm 2pm-10pm off off
Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
10pm-6am 10pm-6am 10pm-6am 10pm-6am 10pm-6am off off


Double Days

Double days is the perfect shift for Maintenance Engineers that don’t want to work nights or weekends. Consisting of 8-hour days, the double day shift tends to include a week of morning hours followed by a week of afternoons, like below:

Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
6am-2pm 6am-2pm 6am-2pm 6am-2pm 6am-2pm off off
Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
2pm-10pm 2pm-10pm 2pm-10pm 2pm-10pm 2pm-10pm off off


Maintenance Jobs

We’ve been recruiting in maintenance for over 50 years and know a thing or two about engineers and the engineering sector. A work-life balance is important, and we have hundreds of Maintenance Engineer jobs which offer a variety of shift patterns to suit you. View our jobs below or contact us to discuss your requirements.

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