What Exactly Is Second Shift? - Everything You Need to Know


Not every business has its opening hours strictly during the day. Whether the business runs 24/7 or strictly during the night, there are a lot of jobs that require you to work during non-traditional hours that are outside the usual 9 to 5 regime. 

Maybe you’ve worked second shift jobs all your life, or are possibly thinking about applying for one, understanding how second shifts work and what is expected of you is essential.

In this guide, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about second shifts from what they are to the various benefits and disadvantages that come with them. Therefore, you’ll be able to determine whether a second shift is right for you. 

Also read: 6 Best Payroll Software To Try In 2021

2 people talking

What is a Shift?

Before we discuss what second shifts are, it’s important to understand what a shift is. Shifts are described as work that is done outside 7 am to 6 pm. They are usually split into three categories which are evening, night, and morning, with employees following either the same schedule every week or working on a rotating schedule, so everyone gets a turn working each shift.

Many businesses run on shift work such as gyms and restaurants and are commonly seen in other industries including retail and sales. 

Also read: 6 Talent Acquisition Strategies For Startups


What is a Second Shift?

So, what are second shifts? Second shifts typically take place either in the afternoon or evening and tend to have a clock in time between 3 pm and 6 pm before clocking out between 11 pm and 1 am. 

The most common examples of a second shift are within the hospitality and retail industries as bartenders and sales assistants, as well as personal trainers, will often work second shifts. Other industries include media and broadcast, especially during specific events. 

Also read: Payroll Success For Small Business


Advantages of Second Shifts

Knowing what second shifts are is just the starting point as it’s essential to understand what benefits come with working second shifts, so you can decide whether it is right for you. Here are the major benefits you should know:


Can Work a Second Job

The first benefit that comes with working a second shift is that it gives you the opportunity to work a second job. For those who want to earn more money and don’t mind incorporating extra hours into their schedule, a second shift can be a great way to earn some extra money per month.

This can be especially advantageous for students who want to earn extra money alongside their studies without affecting their routine. 

Also read: Employee Motivation Strategies 


Find a Work-Life Balance

Another great benefit that comes with second shifts is that they allow you to develop a better work-life balance thanks to the flexibility that comes with the second shift schedule. For those who would usually have to rely on extra costs such as childcare or babysitters, you will be able to find a job that is better suited for you. 


Higher Pay

One of the most notable benefits of working a second shift is that they typically come with a higher pay rate. This is because they take place outside traditional hours, meaning that any work done during the evening through to the early morning hours is paid at a higher rate. 

On average, this higher rate will be between 5 and 15 percent more than a salary worked during the traditional hours of the day. 

Also read: The Right Way To Onboard Remote Employees


No Traffic

A great perk for those who hate being stuck for long periods of time. There is often limited to no traffic during the second shift because most people will be in bed. This means you’re not wasting lots of valuable time stuck in traffic.


Sleeping In

Lastly, being able to sleep in is a great perk for those who hate forcing themselves out of bed early in the morning. This means that if you find that you are more alert during the evening hours, you’ll most likely be more productive during this time and therefore better suited for second shift work. 


Disadvantages of Second Shifts

Being aware of the disadvantages will provide you with a realistic outlook when it comes to deciding whether second shifts are a good fit for you. There are two major disadvantages that you should be aware of before making your final decision: 


Disruption of Sleep Schedule

The first disadvantage is that your sleep schedule will be disrupted. If you have never worked irregular hours before, then you are more likely to experience a disruption in your sleeping patterns. Sleep disruption can lead to a condition called Shift Work Sleep Disorder, known as SWSD. 

SWSD symptoms include issues staying awake or falling asleep throughout the day and can also cause problems concentrating, irritability, and headaches. 

Working second shifts doesn’t automatically mean you will suffer from SWSD. A recent study concluded that between 10 and 40 percent of second shift workers will get SWSD. 


Health and Social Drawbacks

Another disadvantage you should know about are the health and social drawbacks that may occur. Due to the nature of second shifts and their non-traditional hours, you may find yourself feeling isolated as you are working when most people are socializing.

Working second shifts can also have health implications as it can reduce the amount of exercise you do and cause poor diet choices if you don’t plan in advance. A study concluded that second shift workers have an increased risk of being overweight, which in turn can lead to all sorts of health issues in the long run. 


Owning a Second Shift Business

If you own a business that operates outside traditional hours, there are certain things you need to consider preventing a high employee turnover and ensure that your work environment is as safe as possible. Here are just a few:

  • Make sure that your workers have access to nutritious and healthy food.

  • Carry out a variety of safety measures such as cooler temperatures, lower noise levels, and bright lighting to keep your workers alert. 

  • Offer plenty of mental health and wellbeing support, so your second shift staff is as comfortable as possible.

  • Offer rotating shifts, so your second shift workers have a healthy work-life balance.

  • Ensure that your second shift workers are always included in any company announcements and meetings.



Second shift work can be extremely rewarding and ideal for certain lifestyles and if you are after more money. However, understanding the advantages and disadvantages of second shifts will allow you to determine whether it is right for you. 

Always make sure you think it through thoroughly before undertaking the job as you want to make sure that it benefits your life and does not hinder it in any way.

Using our paystub generator you can make sure that your high organisation levels are maintained.

Create Your Paystub in 2 minutes

Try our instant paystub generation tool. Flip through our templates page
to chose your best match and receive your stub instantly.

Go ahead and create your own stub now!
What Exactly Is Second Shift? - Everything You Need to Know
James Wilson

After graduating from McCombs School of Business in Texas, James joined ThePayStubs as a CPA to make sure the numbers we provide our clients are correct. Read More

Related Articles
money back guarantee
100% Security
Satisfaction Guaranteed
Gold stars

Great Service

First time creating a stub. Customer support was AMAZING. I had a few self-induced issues and customer support was there from start to end.

Brandon Wilson