Successfully Surviving a 12-Hour Shift

Across America, many companies are moving to longer shift schedules for their employees. In the manufacturing sector, 12-hour shifts have already been common for decades and PMG employees are very familiar with finding ways to work them successfully.

If you’re wondering how you can possibly make it through a work schedule that accounts for half of the total time available in a day, here are some tips and tricks for surviving a 12-hour shift.


two production workers working together

Get Your Mind Right

A 12-hour shift is 50% longer than an 8-hour one. You have to start each shift with the right mindset. If not, it will feel longer and get more dangerous.

“The long hours can wear on you mentally…so you need to show up wanting to be there and focused on safety, of course.”

Dan O. – Welder

 You Can Always Teach or Learn

There’s always a chance of downtime during production. The question is, what do you do with it? Passing along knowledge is a great way to pass time.

“Twelve-hour shifts are much shorter if you’re busy so help others with their work or just clean up.”

Jeff C. – Maintenance

Don’t Forget What You’re Working For

The good part is long hours equal large paychecks.

“An old road dog told me not to ever forget what you’re doing this for…money.”

Jeff C. – Maintenance

Physical Condition

inspector working on an oil pump

Elements & Conditions

The work is one thing, but the situation you’re working in is an entirely different thing to consider.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re ready for the job; if you’re not ready for the weather, the wrong clothing can ruin a job.”

Jason H. – Operations Manager

Battery Life

Your tools won’t work if the battery is dead and neither will your body. Taking sleep seriously is a must for surviving long shifts.

“The people that struggle the least with long hours are the ones that get enough sleep the night before.”

Kim M. – Technical Manager

Fill Your Tank

If you’re making a trip in your car, you need enough fuel in the tank to get there. The same thing goes for your body. Eating and drinking right is imperative.

“You have to make sure your body is ready for it with plenty of nutrition and hydration.”

Dan O. – Welder

Mental Condition

machine operator working on a CNC machine


The nature of production facilities means some can be less than stimulating and some tasks can get repetitive. Often, the best cure for this is a simple change of perspective.

“Adjust your vision periodically, meaning don’t stare at the same thing constantly. It’s a small thing, but it can go a long way.”

Jason H. – Operations Manager

 Smaller Time Blocks

Production runs, especially big ones, can deal with some daunting numbers. Thus, the best way to attack them is often in smaller chunks.

“I like to set short incremental goals. Cutting a cycle time for a part down from eight minutes to seven can result in substantial savings on a 1000-piece run and it makes the day go faster working in shorter time frames.”

Dan C. – Machinist

Prioritize Appropriately

The more you put on your plate, the easier it is to get overwhelmed. Make sure your checklist is in good working order.

“Our best techs all have a lot they could do. They learn how to recognize what needs to be done, compared to what they’d like done, and then set their work accordingly.”

Kim M. – Technical Manager 


The next time you have a long shift, or mandatory over-time come up, don’t dread it. Rather, try using some of these tips from our employees to help you prepare to not only survive your shift, but shine during it. If you think you’ve already got 12-hour days down, then maybe consider a position with PMG.


Check out our website to learn more about open positions.