Staggered shifts are when a business intentionally schedules staff to start and end their shifts at slightly different times, creating periods of overlap during their working hours.
Staff who work staggered shifts tend to work the same number of hours, but will begin their shifts one after the other.
Staggered shift pattern example
Staggered shifts are used in all kinds of businesses, but a typical staggered shift pattern for a cafe might look something like this:
Ben: 9am - 5pm
Sarah: 10 am - 6pm
Sajid: 11am - 7pm
Amy: 12pm - 8pm
Staggered shifts are especially useful for business such as restaurants, retail, and hospitality, where staffing is required across the majority of the day but there are distinct busy periods where more staff are needed.
They also have the advantage of helping managers keep labour costs under control since, by using a staggered shift pattern, the majority of the team will only ever be on site during the busiest, most profitable part of the day. Quieter periods, meanwhile, will have only a few staff.