2-2-3 Schedule: Definition, Examples, And Best

Wall of clocks

If your business needs to provide customers and clients with 24/7 service, the 2-2-3 schedule may be the solution you’re looking for. This type of workweek is one of the more straightforward ways to ensure around-the-clock staff coverage for restaurants, call centers, and factories.

In this article, we’ll define the 2-2-3 schedule, provide examples of it in action, and discuss the best practices you need to make the schedule work for your business.

Table Of Contents

What Is The 2-2-3 Schedule?

2-2-3 schedule planning

As we mentioned at the start of this article, the 2-2-3 schedule is a way to ensure that employees are on hand around-the-clock, 24/7 to provide regular and emergency service to your customers and clients.

The schedule itself is set up to accommodate four teams, but it can also be scaled up to work for any multiple of four (e.g., eight, 12, 16, etc.). Each of the four teams is assigned a four-week (28-day) rotation that consists of two days on, two days off, and three days on.

During week one, a team will work two 12-hour day shifts, have two days off, and then work three more 12-hour day shifts.

During week two, that same team will have two days off, work two 12-hour day shifts, and then have three days off.

During week three, the team will work two 12-hour night shifts, have two days off, and then work three 12-hour night shifts.

During week four, the team will have two days off, work two 12-hour night shifts, and then have three days off.

After the fourth week, the pattern starts again with the same sequence of day and night shifts.

The other three teams work the same type of schedule, but their work times are offset in order to ensure that one team is working when the others aren’t. This basic 2-2-3 schedule is also known as the Panama schedule.

Example Of The 2-2-3 Schedule In Action

Week One:

  • Team A works two 12-hour day shifts, has two days off, and works three 12-hour day shifts.
  • Team B works two 12-hour night shifts, has two days off, and works three 12-hour night shifts.
  • Team C has two days off, works two 12-hour day shifts (while Teams A and B are off), and then has three days off.
  • Team D has two days off, works two 12-hour night shifts, and then has three days off.

Week Two:

  • Team A has two days off, works two 12-hour day shifts, and has three days off.
  • Team B has two days off, works two 12-hour night shifts, and has three days off.
  • Team C works two 12-hour day shifts, has two days off, and then works three 12-hour day shifts.
  • Team D works two 12-hour night shifts, has two days off, and then works three 12-hour night shifts.

Week Three:

  • Team A works two 12-hour night shifts, has two days off, and works three 12-hour night shifts.
  • Team B works two 12-hour day shifts, has two days off, and works three 12-hour day shifts.
  • Team C has two days off, works two 12-hour night shifts (while Teams A and B are off), and then has three days off.
  • Team D has two days off, works two 12-hour day shifts, and then has three days off.

Week Four:

  • Team A has two days off, works two 12-hour night shifts, and has three days off.
  • Team B has two days off, works two 12-hour day shifts, and has three days off.
  • Team C works two 12-hour night shifts, has two days off, and then works three 12-hour night shifts.
  • Team D works two 12-hour day shifts, has two days off, and then works three 12-hour day shifts.

Variations Of The 2-2-3 Schedule

Monday calendar page

The 2-2-3 schedule is one example of a workweek that provides 24/7 coverage, but it’s not the only option available. Here are more schedules that build on this original concept.

1) Panama Plus

The Panama Plus has the 2-2-3 schedule as its foundation but adds an eight-hour weekday shift into the mix every eight weeks. Because of this extra weekday shift, the Panama Plus schedule requires five teams instead of four.

The Panama Plus also extends each portion of the 2-2-3 to eight weeks (instead of two) before switching and looks like this:

  • 2-2-3 day shifts for eight weeks
  • 8-hour weekday shift for two weeks
  • 2-2-3 night shifts for eight weeks
  • 8-hour weekday shift for two weeks

Though the 8-hour weekday shift isn’t absolutely necessary (because you’ve also got teams working 12-hour day and night shifts), the weekday shift can be used for training and other administrative tasks.

2) Pitman

The Pitman schedule uses the 2-2-3 schedule as its base but reorders work and time off to follow a 2-3-2 pattern.

In this workweek, team members work two 12-hour shifts (days or nights), have three days off, work two 12-hour shifts, have two days off, work three 12-hour shifts, and then have two days off.

After that, the pattern repeats just like the 2-2-3 schedule.

3) DDNNOO

In the DDNNOO, three teams alternate working two 12-hour days (the DD), two 12-hour nights (the NN), and two days off (the OO).

Here’s how all of that would work:

Team A: Monday (12-hour day shift), Tuesday (12-hour day shift), Wednesday (12-hour night shift), Thursday (12-hour night shift), Friday (off), Saturday (off)
Team B: Monday (off), Tuesday (off), Wednesday (12-hour day shift), Thursday (12-hour day shift), Friday (12-hour night shift), Saturday (12-hour night shift)
Team C: Monday (12-hour night shift), Tuesday (12-hour night shift), Wednesday (off), Thursday (off), Friday (12-day shift), Saturday (12-hour day shift)

Starting on Sunday, the cycle starts again.

4) DuPont

The DuPont schedule is a more complex variation on the 2-2-3 schedule and consists of four teams working a four-week schedule that looks like this:

Week One: Work four consecutive night shifts followed by three days off
Week Two: Work three consecutive day shifts, have one day off, and then work three consecutive night shifts
Week Three: Have three days off, then work four consecutive day shifts
Week Four: Have seven consecutive days off

So, for example, Team A would start on week one, Team B would start on week two, Team C would start on week three, and Team D would start on week four.

Everyone would cycle through all four weeks before starting again.

Best Practices For Using The 2-2-3 Schedule

meeting on 2-2-3 schedule

1) Communicate With Your Team

Before implementing any new schedule, communicate as much as possible with your team. Explain how everything will work, ask for their input, and show them the pros and cons of the schedule.

Continue to communicate after the schedule is in place so that team members don’t feel abandoned in a new system.

2) Set A Suitable Start Time

Many businesses that use the 2-2-3 schedule set the start of the day shift/end of the night shift at 7 a.m.

But, if that doesn’t work for your business, you can set the start/end time to whatever you choose. Some businesses use 6 a.m., 8 a.m., or even 9 a.m.

3) Help Your Team Adapt

Starting a new schedule can be a major adjustment, so do your best to help your team adapt.

You may choose to provide written instructions to guide them through the change or assign those new to the schedule to an experienced coworker who can act as their mentor until they get settled.

4) Take Advantage Of Scheduling Software

Creating a 2-2-3 schedule can be incredibly time-consuming, but you can simplify the process with the right scheduling software.

Such software can provide automation, drag-and-drop capabilities, and templates that can make everything easier and more convenient.

Streamline Scheduling With Inch

Streamline 2-2-3 schedule With Inch

The 2-2-3 schedule is one of the more popular ways to ensure that your business has employees on the clock 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But it’s not the only type of alternate schedule available.

In fact, your ideal work schedule may be a combination of 9/80, flex, and on-call. It all depends on what your business needs to succeed.

Regardless of the type of schedule you choose, the Inch software can help you streamline the implementation and execution of any shift structure you come up with — from the simplest to the most complex.

Inch includes tools for task management, time tracking, communication, and even labor cost management so you can organize and optimize your team like never before.

To find out more about Inch and how it can benefit your business, visit TryInch.com today.

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