What You Need to Know About Night Shift Jobs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As more businesses offer 24/7 service, the demand for people to work the night shift continues to increase. Many of the people who work the night shift provide vital services to their communities. They also allow businesses to operate efficiently and maximize profits across time zones. Because night shift employees are becoming more desirable, employers may offer an increased salary to attract candidates.

In this article, we discuss the details of working night shift hours, provide examples of night shift jobs and share tips on succeeding at your night shift job.

Read more: Shift Work: Definition, Jobs, Pros and Cons

What are night shift hours?

Night shift consistently refers to the later shift at any given business, but the exact hours it refers to varies from place to place. If a business is open 24/7, the night shift usually refers to a shift that starts between 10:00 p.m. and midnight, and ends between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. For businesses that are open for limited hours, the night shift is the final shift before the business closes. If a business advertises a night shift position, check their hours and clarify their expectations for someone working a closing or night shift.

Related: Q&A: What Is a Typical Third Shift Schedule?

Other names for night shift

Depending on the type of business, people refer to the night shift by many different names. Some businesses that operate overnight might use different terms to describe the night shift than a business that is simply open late. If a company has multiple shift options at night, they may call the earlier shift the evening shift and the later shift the night shift. Some of the common names for the night shift are:

  • Third shift

  • Graveyard shift

  • Midnight shift

  • Evening shift

  • Closing shift

Why do companies use the night shift?

Companies use the night shift to have qualified employees supporting their business beyond the standard eight-hour workday. Many different industries offer positions that are required to work the night shift. Some operate essential healthcare and safety services that people need to be able to access at any time. Others aim to offer convenience to their customers and seek out business opportunities through extending their operating hours.

Jobs that use night shift hours

Many companies only operate during regular business hours throughout the day, but there are several industries where working the night shift is not only common but expected. Both entry-level and executive positions can work the night shift as people do more global business through the internet. The following industries are ideal for people who prefer working the night shift:

  • Emergency services

  • Security

  • Retail

  • Foodservice

  • Travel

  • News

  • Customer support

  • Manufacturing

  • Hospitality

Emergency services

Most cities have emergency services available 24/7 and require experienced employees to be available during the night shift. Police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, dispatchers, doctors and nurses all commonly work overnight. People working the night shift at an emergency services job are responsible for providing necessary help to their community on very short notice.

Related: Differences Between EMTs and Paramedics

Security

Many businesses hire security professionals for overnight protection. Security guards provide surveillance and patrol the grounds of areas to keep an area safe and secure. People who work the night shift in security must be able to respond quickly to a situation and pay attention to detail.

Retail

Stores that stay open late hire people for the night shift to give all customers quality service. Night shift employees that work in the retail industry are often responsible for doing inventory and other maintenance tasks because of a lower volume of customers at night.

Read More: Learn About Being a Retail Associate

Foodservice

Many restaurants are open late, with many diners and fast food establishments staying open 24 hours a day. Generally, restaurants will have fewer employees working the night shift due to decreased numbers of customers. People who work the night shift in foodservice also help make their products available to other late-night workers in various industries.

Travel

To accommodate overnight travelers, there are many jobs in the travel industry that regularly work the night shift. There is a large demand for people who can help transport packages and get others safely to their destination at any time of day. Pilots, flight attendants, freight drivers, taxi drivers and even travel agents frequently work overnight.

Related: Learn About Being a Flight Attendant

News

Many news stations have employees working at all hours of the day and night to publish news stories as they occur. People who monitor traffic, news journalists and international reporters all regularly have the opportunity to work the night shift. The night time news shift helps keep the public informed of urgent situations.

Customer support

Companies provide 24/7 customer support as a way to increase their product's value. By having employees available to address customer concerns at any time, businesses can attract and retain customers. Customer support representatives and information technology specialists commonly work the night shift.

Manufacturing

Factory workers often work the night shift to keep production moving efficiently. There are many entry-level night shift jobs in manufacturing as well as supervisory positions. Having manufacturing professionals working the night shift ensures proper machine maintenance and therefore safety at all times.

Hospitality

People often arrive at hotels late at night, so many hotels have employees available at any hour to check people into their rooms. They also provide hospitality services to all customers and help maintain the building.

Benefits of a night shift job

For many people, working a night shift job has both personal and financial benefits. Because night shift jobs have an opposite schedule of many conventional office positions, companies often offer premium pay for people interested in the night shift. Night shift workers also may have the opportunity to make a difference in their community and help others. Working the night shift can also be ideal for people who value privacy and independence in their careers.

Tips for working the night shift

Working night shift hours can be both rewarding and challenging. Because working the night shift can require you to change your sleep schedule, anyone looking for an overnight job should take steps to stay as healthy as possible and feel energetic and awake at work. Follow these tips to improve your experience working the night shift:

Keep a consistent schedule

When selecting your schedule, try to keep your shifts on the same schedule every day. If you usually work the night shift, working the day shift on occasion will become more challenging. Keep a regular schedule to allow your sleep cycle to adjust to a nighttime schedule.

Control your environment

If you need to sleep during the day, make sure that your room is dark and quiet. During your free time, use bright lights and UV lamps to help you be more productive.

Keep a balanced diet

Eating healthy foods is important for keeping your energy up while having an unconventional schedule. Stay hydrated. eat plenty of vegetables and avoid consuming too much caffeine.

Related: How to Survive the Night Shift as a CNA

Aleysia, a certified nursing assistant, invites you on her typical night shift, explaining the work and provides tips for how you can be successful when working nights.


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