Panama Shift Pattern

A Panama Style Rota employs a slow rotation system, using four teams across two twelve-hour shifts. This allows the shift pattern to provide complete coverage over a 24-hour period, seven days a week.
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: April 5, 2022
  • 2 Minutes
Panama shift pattern

Panama Shift Pattern – Setting up a shift pattern that works for both your business, your customers, and your staff is difficult. Making sure that staff cover is good and you have the right skills at the right time is a juggling act. Keeping everybody happy can be even harder.

But there are different styles of shift patterns you can employ to help. One such system is the Panama Style Shift Pattern.

What Is a Panama Style Shift Pattern?

A Panama Style Rota employs a slow rotation system, using four teams across two twelve-hour shifts. This allows the shift pattern to provide complete coverage over a 24-hour period, seven days a week.

What Industries is a Panama Style Rota Suitable For?

Because of the complete 24/7 coverage a Panama rotation gives, it is a great pattern for businesses that require total coverage. These can include:

  • Businesses that offer 24-hour customer service.
  • Companies that offer non-stop infrastructure support, e.g. utility companies.
  • Police, ambulance, and fire services.

What Does this Shift Pattern Look Like?

The rotation in a Panama Style Shift Pattern generally follows the following sequence:

  1. Two days working
  2. Two days off
  3. Three days working
  4. Two days off
  5. Two days working
  6. Three days off

Each of the four teams in the pattern will work the same rotation for 28 days before switching over with another team. During these 28 days the pattern may require them to work either days or night shifts while the team they are paired with work the other.

How Is a Panama Shift Pattern Beneficial to Employees and Companies?

For companies, a Panama Shift Pattern ensures that they have 24-hour coverage 7 days a week. This can be crucial in specific business areas like healthcare, utilities, and emergency services.

For employees, a Panama Style Shift Pattern tempers long shifts with frequent breaks. This can prevent employee fatigue and unhappiness.

Is a Panama Shift Pattern Healthy for Employees?

For the most part, yes. Whilst long shifts can be tiring, the short rotations mean employees never have long to wait for their next day off. Fatigue can build up but is quickly eased with frequent breaks.

Do Employees Enjoy Panama Shift Patterns?

That depends on the individual employee. Some love the constant breaks the pattern provides and ignore the long shifts. For others, the long hours can become tiring regardless of the short number of days they work. If you are an employer thinking of utilizing a Panama Style Rotation, we would advise you to discuss this with staff first.

What Other Shift Patterns Can Be Employed?

There are many shift patterns you can use to rotate staff. Each has its benefits and disadvantages. These include:

  • 2 Shift – The 2 Shift pattern often comprises an early morning shift and a late afternoon shift. Suitable for businesses that don’t require 24-hour coverage.
  • Regular 4 On/4 Off – Many businesses that require a constant rotation of shifts employ the 4 on/4 off shift pattern. The 4 days the employee works can be nights or days providing 24-hour coverage. Disadvantages include the requirement to work 4 days in a row, possibly in long or unsociable shifts.

If you would like to automate your rota and make work scheduling easy, just sign up for a free demo with Papershift.

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Photo by Sandra Seitamaa on Unsplash

Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)