Running a set schedule appeals to employees, but often puts the employer in a tough position. People do enjoy knowing when they will get their days off in advance. Employers need ample coverage. The ideal scheduling practice involves setting a rotating schedule that allows for sufficient coverage on a routine basis. The 4-days on, 2-days off schedule allows an employer to set a six week schedule that maintains the rotation of employees while giving personnel guaranteed days off.

Calculate the minimum number of employees needed per day to maintain efficient operations. For example, you determine that you need no less than 5 employees per day to keep the business running smooth.

Divide the figure from Step 1 by the total number of employees. The calculation will determine your teams. For example, you have 13 employees. 13 divided by 5 is 2 teams with 3 employees left over. You will set the schedule for 3 teams, with the third team having only 3 employees.

Schedule the teams in opposing shifts. Start your first team as being off on Sunday and Monday. The second team will be off on Tuesday and Wednesday. The third team will be off on Thursday and Friday. Continue the pattern for any additional teams you have. The schedule will begin to repeat after six weeks.

Schedule four off-schedule weeks during the year. A six-week rotation leaves four weeks at the end of the year that disrupt the pattern. Schedule a standard 5 - 2 pattern for the week of a major holiday. Doing such four times in the year allows the 4 - 2 schedule to continue without disruption.


Split the employees into shifts first if you will be running multiple shifts per day. For example, you have 45 employees and 3 shifts. You determine that the third shift needs 10 employees, the second shift needs 15, and the first needs 17. You are left with 3 additional personnel. Split those amongst the three shifts making it 11, 16, and 18. Make sure to keep the number of employees per shift at least double the number of employees necessary to make the 4 - 2 schedule work. You would then calculate the schedules on a per-shift basis.


The 4 - 2 schedule only works with a minimum of two teams. If you need 5 people per day and only have 8 employees, you will have to stick to a strictly rotating schedule.