What is the Pitman Schedule?

Find out what the Pitman Schedule is, whether it suits the needs of your business, and how you can implement it.
23. May 2022  • 3 minute read

What is the Pitman schedule?

The Pitman Schedule is a 14-day rotational cycle in which each employee works 7 12 hour shifts.

The Pitman Schedule usually involves 4 teams that work 2 day/night shifts, then get 2 rest days, followed by 3 day/night shifts. This is repeated weekly, however, the second week begins with 2 rest days, then by 2 day/night shifts, followed by 3 rest days. This is then repeated from the beginning the week afterwards.

The Pitman schedule is a fixed schedule, meaning that the teams do not rotate between day and night shifts. So a team is either only working day/night shifts, or is working day shifts one week, and night shifts the other week as shown in the example below.

The fact that the Pitman Schedule is a fixed schedule has both pros and cons, highly depending on the preferences of your employees. If some of your employees prefer to work only day or night shifts, and the rest prefer a mix, this is a good option. However, if your team prefers to divide this fairly, a rotating variation of this schedule (the 2-2-3 work schedule) is a better option.

Here is an example of the Pitman schedule:

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





The benefits of the Pitman Schedule

The biggest advantage is that every employee has a free weekend every other week. Which can be a huge benefit for employees who have families or other commitments on weekends. Having every other weekend off also allows employees to maintain a better work-life balance.

Another advantage of the Pitman schedule is that it can help reduce fatigue. Working two days on, followed by two days off, gives employees time to rest and recover from their work shifts. This can help them stay more alert and productive when they are working.

Finally, the Pitman shift schedule can be a good way to spread shifts between day and night to ensure that there are always people present at work. This allows you to achieve 24/7 coverage.

Some negative aspects to consider are :

  • Pitman's Schedule can be difficult to manage.
  • It may not work with everyone's availability.
  • Can cause fatigue among employees.
  • May not be suitable for every industry or business type.

How to implement the pitman schedule?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when implementing the pitman shift schedule.

1. Make sure you have enough employees to cover all the shifts.

In order to carry out the Pitman schedule, you'll need enough employees to cover all the shifts. It is recommended to have at least 2 employees per team, but ideally more, as this allows you to provide coverage in cases of holiday or sickness leave.

2. Get your team familiar with the Pitman schedule.

Be sure to introduce your team to the process. This will help them perform their roles better and avoid scheduling conflicts. It also sets expectations straight, as the pattern ensures that your team members know what to expect.

3. Be flexible with your employees' schedules.

The pitman shift schedule is not set in stone, so be willing to make changes as needed. This will help you accommodate your employees' needs and keep them happy.

4. Have a plan for when employees call in sick or take a vacation.

When working in teams, it is important to take potential absences into account. After all, replacements must be provided to ensure 24/7 coverage. You may want to create a "reserve" list to ensure that someone is always ready to take over a shift.

5. Implement a system to manage the schedule.

To make creating and maintaining the Pitman schedule as smooth as possible, you would do well to implement a scheduling system. This not only makes it easy to manage the schedules, but also gives you insight into the hours while offering employees more accessibility.


Shifts can be challenging, but the Pitman schedule is a suitable option to make this more bearable. It can be a great way to boost employee productivity and morale. And by following the tips shared in this article, you can implement the shift schedule in your workplace with success.

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