Editorial

06 Apr 2022

What is a 9/80 Work Schedule?

Kelsey Kaczynski

In today’s modern world, most organizations operate on a standard 9 to 5 schedule. This means that employees work set days (usually Monday through Friday) and set hours (usually 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) However, have you, your HR department, or your hire-level managers ever thought of trialing any alternative work schedules? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will explain the intricacies, pros, and cons of one of the fastest-growing work plans, the 9/80 schedule. We’ll outline why many companies are changing their traditional models for this new format. Additionally, we tell you how you can integrate and trial this new type of structure into your own company so that you can see if this schedule would prove productive, engaging, and beneficial to your own workforce. Sounds good? Great, let’s get started.

First things first, let’s explain what a 9/80 schedule really is. A 9/80 schedule is based on a simple premise. It is a work schedule that is comprised of a pair of two-week periods in which employees work eight nine-hour days and one eight-hour day. For the first week, employees work four nine-hour days, Monday through Thursday, and then on Friday, they work for 8 hours. Four 9-hour days add up to 36 hours, so the first four Friday hours complete a 40-hour week. This means the last four Friday hours start the clock for the following week for payroll. Working four more nine-hour days adds up to 40 hours—which means employees can take the second Friday off. Then the cycle starts again the following Monday.

Some organizations have decided to jump aboard this new model of working in the hope that it will boost employee productivity and engagement. The standard scheduled workweek simply isn’t right for many employees and companies, particularly in this day and age when many people work from home or at least in a hybrid remote model.

Optimal working schedules can only be determined through much trial, error, and delicate consideration and the best schedule can look different from organization to organization. However, one thing that they all have in common is their ability to promote a healthy work environment and culture for your various fractions. That being said, companies are evolving every day and many of business's most successful industries weren’t even conceptualized when the traditional working-week model was actioned.

With that in mind, researching, trialing, and communicating various styles of working is a necessity for any forward-thinking business.

What are the advantages of a 9/80 work schedule?

There are making advantages to altering your traditional work model and in particular, augmenting it to follow the 9/80 work schedule. Let’s examine some of them.

  • Increased Productivity

Every worker can relate to feeling worn down by the monotony of the working world. Getting up at the same time, being on the clock for the same hours, and returning home every evening can feel boring and get old pretty quick. This sense of unenthusiasm can inspire procrastination, tiredness, and lack of motivation among workforces. Naturally, these can contribute to a stagnant organization that doesn’t reach its goals, maintain talent retention, or have a healthy work-life balance.

However, many employees who operate within the 9/80 schedule view the additional day off it yields as a well-earned reward. As you are probably aware as an HR specialist, there is no understating the importance of rewards and recognition within the working world, and this day off incentivizes higher levels of productivity and enthusiasm. Additionally, the extended weekend has the potential to enhance team morale, giving all individuals involved a more positive outlook on their duties. There have even been reports that this work schedule results in fewer sick days and vacations.

  • Easier Commutes

When attracting the best talent, commuting is always a main consideration both for HR fractions and also for potential new hires. This new work model provides for an easier work commute for works because it means they avoid popular driving times which are often associated with heavy traffic. Additionally, it of course means that they won’t have to commute to work as frequently since they have an additional day off.

  • Work-Life Balance

All in all, if this new scheme is run correctly, employees can find a more equal balance between work and their personal lives when living, operating, and functioning on this new schedule. After all, having an additional two days off a month and long weekend breaks, and this enables individuals to travel, relax and plan for more personal time. All of which are incredible conjunctive towards healthier mental, physical wellbeing.

A woman points at a graph

What are the disadvantages of a 9/80 workweek?

So, if this new form of working is so incredible, then you might find yourself wondering why every organization and HR department hasn’t just abandoned their traditional models in return for this new one. Well, the truth is, implementing a new work schedule into a company, particularly larger companies that operate on multiple time zones and are in contact with various external bodies, is a massive undertaking. We’ve outlined some of the potential disadvantages below.

  • Extensive Workday

Sure, this new method of working will give you two extra days a month, but it also requires you to work longer hours on the days that you are in the office. Maintaining engagement, interest, and loyalty on a schedule consisting of long hours like this can be a real struggle for certain employees, particularly if your workforce is generally stationary.

It can be tricky to remember the benefit of longer workdays when you’re exhausted from an extra hour / nine-hour workday. This truth can cause tension between all company tiers and among employees too. It can also lead to poor mental well-being, stress, and unhappiness the following week.

  • Less Coverage for Small Businesses

Small companies with few employees may find it impossible to master the 9/80 schedule. First off, there may not be enough employees to split the day off and increase coverage. In other circumstances, employers may have just enough employees to split them into two teams, but not enough for each team to handle the work throughout their shifts. This can result in detrimental staffing gaps.

  • Isolated Decreased Productivity

As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks, and there is nowhere that this phrase rings more true than in the working environment.

Different people work better at different times, it’s a simple fact! Some employees work better in the mornings and others are more productive in the evenings. Depending on how employers shift their full-time 9/80 hours, they may notice certain employees struggle and their motivation dwindle during the additional hour, no matter whether the hours of overtime are placed in the morning or the evening.

Two people pointing at a desktop showing a red lightbulb

An Example of a 9/80 Workweek

Almost all adults should be familiar with what the traditional 40-hour workweek looks like. However, this new model looks a little different from that. Here’s an example of this new model over a two-week period and including 8 hour days and 9 hour days.

Monday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Tuesday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Wednesday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Thursday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Friday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. (Attention! The second week begins here)

Weekend: Employees off both Saturday and Sunday

Monday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

Tuesday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Wednesday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Thursday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m

Friday: Employees have this day off (one of the two days rewarded as holidays per month)

Two people work at a desk in front of a large clock

Important Side Aspects of The 9/80 Workweek

One of the key things to be aware of if you’re contemplating implementing this structure within your company is how it will impact your workplace, your employees, and the future trajectory of your company. In light of this, we advise you to take note of the following key nuances before deciding to integrate this new schedule as the norm in your workplace.

  • Off-days: If a holiday falls on a 9-hour workday, the time record should read 8 hours holiday, 1 hour vacation. This could cause problems for employees who believe they are entitled to a full day when in fact they only receive one hour holiday in lieu. The employee is then entitled to collect their holiday hours and exchange them for hours off work.
  • Sick days: A day of sick leave equals 9 hours sick unless it’s on the 8-hour day. However, it is important to be mindful that this specific aspect of the schedule may vary depending on health insurance best practices in particular countries and states.
  • Non-exempt employees: Certain employees: who work more than 40 hours in the standard workweek must be paid overtime wages (1.5x regular hourly fee), based on the workweek of noon Friday to noon Friday. This new working schedule does not make them exempt.

So, that’s a wrap on the 9/80 work schedule! If you’re considering making it the norm in your company, remember to consult your fellow HR executives and workforce consensus first. This won’t just mean that they’ll feel included in your company’s decision-making processes, but it will also promote as smooth a transition as possible. Remember, the best company schedule is the one that works best for a company’s employees.

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