How to Request a Job Transfer to a Different Shift

Maintaining work-life balance is important.
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Achieving work-life balance is important. When things get out of hand, you're less productive at home and at work. If bad hours are what threaten your well-being, asking for a transfer to a different shift is essential. You deserve to have a satisfying personal life along with your career. Settling for less than that will only leave you with a serious case of the what-ifs. Speaking up may be difficult, but your welfare is worth it.

    Step 1

    Determine if a job transfer is what you really want. Waffling after you get what you requested would be embarrassing. It would make you appear wish-washy. Make a detailed pros-and-cons list about your shift hours. Examine your top reasons for wanting to change shifts and for wanting to stay put. Listen to your heart, mind and gut. If you decide that a job transfer is what you truly desire, prepare to ask for it.

    Step 2

    Review your employee handbook. Examine sections that cover employee eligibility for shift transfers. Sometimes an employee must work in a shift for a minimum amount of time before a transfer request can be granted. Make note of any specific procedures for requesting a transfer, including instructions for submitting requests for special circumstances. Talking to co-workers who were able to transfer shifts can give you even better insight into the process.

    Step 3

    Stack the odds in your favor. Make it known that you're actively seeking someone to switch shifts with you. Recruit well-connected co-workers to help you search for dependable colleagues disgruntled with their shifts or just open to working any shift. When negotiating, tout the advantages of your shift, such as increased pay or decreased average workload.

    Step 4

    Write an official job transfer request letter. This is a good idea even if it isn’t expressly required. Putting your reasons in writing shows your seriousness. Lead with your strongest reasons for wanting the change. The fact that you developed a sleep disorder related to working third shift is a suitable example. Others include expanded family responsibility. Include favorable information regarding your work history and job performance to strengthen your case. Cite relevant sections of your handbook for added professionalism.

    Step 5

    Schedule a private meeting with your supervisor. Pick a low-key time to ask for the chat. If asked what the meeting will be about, respond with the truth, but don’t allow a negative reaction to halt your efforts. During the meeting, stress that happy workers make better workers. Reveal your behind-the-scenes efforts, including the names of co-workers willing to switch shifts with you and preliminary approvals from other supervisors. Present your formal letter along with any required forms to complete your case.


    • It may be necessary to have follow-up meetings to discuss your request.

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