the DuPont schedule

The DuPont Schedule - What is it and how is it useful?

Find out what the DuPont schedule, or also called, '12 hour shift schedule' is and how you can implement it in your business.
23. May 2022  • 3 minute read
Shift work is necessary for industries with varying and longer opening hours. Especially in industries where 24/7 attendance is required, such as healthcare.

However, working long and irregular shifts is not easy for employees, which in turn makes it difficult for a manager to lead the team. Fortunately, the DuPont shift schedule can help you and your team simplify this process and maintain a good work-life balance.

In this blog, we take a closer look at what the DuPont schedule is and how you can implement it. We will also share tips and tricks that will help you lead your team while following the DuPont work schedule.

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What is the DuPont shift schedule?

The DuPont, or also called the DuPont 12 hour schedule is a fixed 28-day rotational cycle in which each employee works in 12-hour shifts.

DuPont's work schedule involves 4 teams working an equal number of day and night shifts over a 4-week period. The DePont shift schedule typically consists of 14 12-hour shifts, which comes down to an average of 42 hours of work per week. However, as can be seen in the example below, some weeks contain up to 6 work days equalling 72 hours of work. 

However, there are 12-hour schedules with a lower number of consecutive work days as well, the 2-2-3 work schedule for instance has a maximum of 3.

Here is an example of the DuPont schedule:

D = Day shift
N = Night shift
O = Rest day.




The DuPont schedule offers your employees more flexibility and stability despite having to work long irregular shifts and work weeks. This in turn ensures greater satisfaction and a positive work experience and is therefore considered employee-friendly.

The benefits of the DuPont work schedule are:

  • Employees only need to work 180 days a year.
  • They do not have to work more than four days in a row.
  • They have a 3-day weekend every other week.
  • They have a full week off every fourth week.
  • Their schedule is stable and predictable.

How to implement the DuPont shift schedule.

5 practical tips to help you implement and manage a DuPont schedule.

Although the DuPont work schedule is one of the most convenient and flexible 12-hour schedules, following it can be problematic if not implemented carefully.

Here are some tips to help you implement and manage a DuPont shift work schedule:

1. Set a start time that matches your team's preferences

It is important that your employees are comfortable with the start time of their shifts. There is no right advice for what the start time should be since every team has different preferences. After all, we are individuals. If most of your employees are early risers, 05:00 may be a good start time. But if many employees have to take children to school in the morning, you may need to choose a later time.

2. Guide new employees

New employees often need time to get used to a new work schedule such as the DuPont schedule, both mentally and physically. Their bodies are simply not used to the work schedule (yet). This can be problematic for both their work and personal lives. For example, a new employee who worked the previous night shift is more likely to make an avoidable mistake the next day than an experienced employee. It is to be expected that new employees will suffer from fatigue, insomnia and other problems due to the rotating 12-hour schedule. As a manager, it is important to keep this in mind and check in regularly to see how they are doing.

3. Encourage taking breaks

Taking regular short breaks is crucial in order to stay fresh throughout a 12-hour shift. How you fill this in again depends on your team's preference. Some people prefer a short break every 45 minutes while others are only ready for a break after 75-90 minutes. It is wise to set a minimum and maximum for breaks. This ensures that everyone gets adequate rest, but also ensures productivity.

4. Be prepared for potential problems

As in any workplace, replacements must be arranged regularly when someone is on leave. This could be because of illness, vacation, and so on. You want to make sure it fits into the schedule of the person taking the shift when a replacement needs to be arranged. Each team is on backup duty for their colleagues once every four weeks. You can rotate teams on a weekly basis based on the week in which they have the fewest shifts themselves, so that if it happens that they need to replace someone, they don't have too many shifts in that week. Moreover, this rotation also applies within the teams themselves so that there is a fair rotation of people taking shifts from their colleagues.

5. Communicate and evaluate with your employees

Talking with your employees on a regular basis will help you understand their preferred work schedule. Furthermore, you can also be thoughtful towards your team by allowing them to swap shifts among each other. For example, you can follow a DuPont schedule if most of your employees prefer that, but if a few of your employees prefer night shifts, you can assign them to more night shifts. As long as this is properly communicated among your team.

Lastly, it's a good idea to speak with your team about their experiences and possible problems. This way, you are always aware of how things are going and can guide them to overcome problems and ensure productivity.

Bonus tip: Running the DuPont shift schedule can be made more manageable with the help of a workforce management system such as Workfeed.


Working long and irregular shifts requires a lot from your employees and it is not for everyone. This means that managing a team working 12-hour shifts involves a lot of responsibilities. You bear responsibility for ensuring the well-being of your employees, the quality of work and the growth of the company. And while the DuPont work schedule is a healthy, productive and convenient method, you must implement it properly to enjoy its benefits.

Hence, be sure to take advantage of the tips provided and continue to continuously validate progress with your team.

PS. To make it easy on yourself, you can use a workforce management system like Workfeed to make the process less time-consuming, allowing you to focus all your attention on the well-being of your team.
Berry van Waarden
Berry van Waarden
Head of Marketing

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