FAQ: What You Need to Know About Working Evening Shift Hours
Updated November 30, 2022
Many jobs that require evening hours are service professions, such as law enforcement or healthcare, but a growing number of employers in other businesses are staying open during evening shift hours as well. If you are looking for a position that frees up daytime hours for errands and other business, then evening shift work may be right for you. In this article, we answer some commonly asked questions about evening shift work.
What are the different shifts?
Shift work can be defined differently from industry to industry. However, employers will typically divide work into three shifts, assigning different groups to each:
Morning shift: Usually 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Evening shift: Typically 4 p.m. to midnight. or 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Overnight shift: Also known as the graveyard shift, this shift lasts from midnight to 8 a.m. or 1 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Some employers, however, use a 12-hour shift. Those who work 12 hours at a time will typically work something other than a five-day workweek. For example, many law enforcement personnel will work 12-hour shifts for four consecutive days, followed by four days off. A 12-hour work shift means employees will have some daytime and nighttime hours each time they work.
What jobs commonly schedule evening shift hours?
Mission-critical jobs such as law enforcement, military and healthcare have a long tradition of having employees working evening and overnight shifts. Recent changes in the economy have seen shift work spread. Manufacturers now routinely run factories across 24 hours, journalists cover news at all hours, groceries stay open overnight and some construction takes place overnight.
Can you make more money working the evening shift?
You may be able to earn more money in the evening, but it depends. Labor laws do not require employers to increase pay for evening shift hours. Compensation levels are generally set by the market and become a matter of negotiation between employer and employee. However, because not everyone wants to work evening hours, it's possible employers may decide to pay a premium for the evening shift.
How many people work on the evening shift?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 15 million and 20 million people work jobs outside daytime hours. This includes positions with evening hours as well as overnight hours. This number constitutes about 16 percent of the workforce. Approximately four in 10 employees report working evening shift hours because it was the nature of the job. The percentage of people working declines quickly as the night goes on, with the smallest number of people working during the overnight or “graveyard” shift.
What are the advantages of working evening shift hours?
Evening shift hours provide several potential work/life benefits. First, working evening jobs means you have more time during the day for doctor appointments, trips to the bank or other daily errands. You can also expect less traffic at night as the largest percentage of the workforce will have already gone home. Distractions will be fewer as there are not as many people around. There may also be fewer meetings to attend. Evening hours could give you the chance to learn additional skills. Evening shift hours may indirectly help boost your income, as it creates flexibility to work a second job during daytime hours in addition to your evening-hours job.
What are the disadvantages of working evening shift hours?
You may have a more limited social life, as you will be working when your friends want to socialize. You might experience some health issues as your sleep cycles will be different than if you work during the day only. There may be some additional risks since crime goes up during the evening hours. You may also start to feel lonely or isolated as you may not be interacting with many coworkers.
However, occupational health experts and other doctors have researched the effects of evening and overnight shift work on your health. These studies have looked at ways to reverse or limit some of the impacts of working at night on your body, and also the kinds of accommodations employers may make to reduce negative effects.
What are some of the most common evening shift jobs?
Evening hours are possible in almost any profession. Some of the most common evening shift jobs include:
Emergency room doctor
Taxi or rideshare driver
Hospital intake worker
How do you adjust to evening shift hours?
You can best adapt to working evening shift hours by sticking to a defined routine. This routine should emphasize getting regular sleep at the same time each day, limiting the use of caffeine, which can disrupt sleep, eating well to reduce the risk of adding weight and taking a well-timed nap before the start of your shift. Pack a lunch or snack for your shift to avoid having to use vending machine food.
How do you answer interview questions about working evening shift hours?
It is best to be open and honest if asked about your willingness to work evenings during job interviews. Inform the hiring manager upfront if there is some reason why you cannot work the evening shift, or if you have reason to think evening work would be too difficult. On the other hand, do not be afraid to show your comfort level with shift work and to indicate your willingness to flexibility.
Who is best suited for the evening shift?
Having certain personality types and habits will help you understand if you are a good candidate for evening shift hours. People who tend to fall asleep early and get up earlier are not well-suited for the evening shift. Older employees also tend to have a harder time adjusting to the evening or overnight shift. From a personality standpoint, people who are less open and social — known as introverts — tend to be more successful on the day shift over the evening shift.
Jobs with evening shift hours
If working during the night appeals to you, there are many jobs to consider. Here are 10 jobs that commonly work in evening shift hours:
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