Instead of forcing workers to have a rigid 9-5 or 8-5 schedule each day, some companies are looking at how an alternative calendar could work for their employees. One of those options is called the 9-80 work schedule. By adding an additional hour to each work day so that you’re working nine hours on the clock instead of eight, you can receive an additional day off after two weeks.
By working the 9-80 work schedule, you will receive two 3-day weekends each month. There is also one month during the year for most workers where there would be three extended weekends. You would also receive the normal holidays off according to your schedule, the same healthcare benefits, retirement contributions, and whatever else is associated with your employment contract.
This schedule is voluntary in the United States, with each employer allowed to offer or decide not to allow the 9-80 work schedule. If you like the idea of having some extra days away from work each month without much of an additional commitment, then here are the pros and cons of this idea for you to consider.
List of the Pros of the 9 80 Work Schedule
1. This alternative schedule can lead to productivity increases.
When employees have more control over their work schedule each day, then they bring more energy into the office. Having the reward of an extra day off every other week works to provide instant gratification, which leads to more positivity about daily job duties. The outcome of this structure is that more work typically gets done each day, not because of the extra hour that everyone is working, but because people are actually excited about going to work.
The 9 80 work schedule in the United States can improve the quality of an employee’s work by 60% and their productivity by 70%. Employers who allow a flexible calendar like this also see fewer sick days and vacation requests coming from their staff.
2. It becomes a recruitment tool for the organization.
Another reason why employers embrace the idea of the 9 80 work schedule is because it provides them with a point of differentiation from their competition. It is another benefit that prospective workers can consider when weighing the pros and cons of an open position with a company. It is much easier to find a work-life balance when there are a couple of extra days off per month without compromising the benefits received or the paycheck earned.
Because employers see higher levels of productivity from their staff with an alternative schedule like this one, many organizations can see a boost to their budget over time when implementing this option.
3. Employers do not lose shift coverage, despite the extra days off.
The 9 80 work schedule is flexible enough that everyone in the office can take either a Friday or a Monday off and still provide enough office coverage to get some work done. There might be a handful of people who prefer to take their extra time during a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday as well, which opens even more options. You will also receive extra coverage during the first or last hour of the day as people come in or stay late to fulfill their obligation to the 9-hour work day.
Although this option can sometimes create problems for smaller offices and limit vacation scheduling, employers still have enough people around to make sure that their customers receive the support they deserve.
4. Alternative schedules like this help the environment.
When you allow everyone in the office to start working a 9-80 work schedule, then it takes vehicles off of the road in your community for two days per employee each month. If you have an office of 100 workers, then that is 400 total trips to the office or back home that you eliminate. That means fewer carbon dioxide emissions produced, less pollution, and fewer fuel expenditures.
Although workers might travel somewhere on their day off, these errands or activities would usually occur during the weekend anyway. There is almost always a net environmental gain because of the implementation of an alternative schedule.
5. Employers can decide where they need an extra hour of coverage.
Organizations sometimes prefer the 9 80 work schedule because it allows them to place workers into different slots. Some might come in an hour early or stay late instead. If there is an 8-5 schedule in place, then there might be the option to reduce the lunch break by 30 minutes to have some staff report early or late to work that extra time as well. If you are working 7:30-5 for four days per week with a shorter lunch instead of 8-5 with a long break, the changes you encounter as an employee are minimal in comparison to the extra time you receive.
Because organizations have the opportunity to extend their business hours, there are more chances to serve customers. That means there is the potential for additional revenue.
6. Alternative schedules like the 9 80 can alter traffic patterns in positive ways.
CNBC reports that the average commuter in the United States wastes over 40 hours in traffic each year during rush hour, which costs a total of $960 in additional expenses. In New York City and Los Angeles, drivers are spending over $1,700 each year because they are stuck in traffic. Cities like Chicago and Seattle experience similar problems.
If workers need to shift their schedule by an hour each day to accommodate the alternative calendar, then it will change their traveling patterns for the rest of their day. That means each employee can being or conclude their day at a time that reduces their time in rush hour. This alteration can be sufficient to diminish the amount of time that some people spend away from their families. When you add in the additional day off which comes twice monthly, it can be profitable to work this schedule in several different ways.
7. Workers have more time to manage personal responsibilities.
Since workers get two additional days off during each period, they have more time to manage the specific tasks that happen in life. They can schedule medical appointments during these off days instead of taking vacation or sick time. It allows families a chance to organize extended weekend trips that can serve as a little vacation as well.
Employees have more time for shopping, starting a hobby, or being available for the after-school activities for their children. There is even more time to consider volunteering with that extra day off every other week.
List of the Cons of the 9 80 Work Schedule
1. Alternative schedules are not suitable for every workplace.
There are some employees who receive a lot of energy to be productive when the office is quiet. Then there are the workers who use that time to goof around if there is not proper supervision in place. Some organizations see a reduction in their productivity levels because the extra time serves more as a set up time for workers, giving them extra moments to chat, surf the Internet, or manage their personal affairs.
Some independent workers or contractors might even lose opportunities to be productive since they could no longer have access to the data they need even though they’re still on the clock.
2. There are more opportunities to cheat the system with a 9 80 work schedule.
Although some workers commit to an alternative schedule and improve their productivity immensely, the business hours that an organization creates outside of the window of normal operations can lessen the impact that employees may have. If an agency operates as a B2B firm, then there might not be anyone around during their extended hours.
It is also critical to note that someone can log into an account and pretend to be busy, especially if they have the authority to work remotely. Organizations must have some way of tracking the conduct of their workers outside of the regular schedule if a supervisor is not present during this time.
3. It can still cause staffing gaps in some situations.
When the 9 80 work schedule operates perfectly, then there is full coverage available for an organization. If an employee calls off during a time when other workers are enjoying their three-day weekend, then it could impact coverage significantly. Some businesses don’t even have enough staff to allow for the extra couple of days off that this idea generates. That is why a complete, long-term look at the calendar is necessary to ensure that there are enough people around to serve customers when looking at this schedule.
4. This alternative schedule can impact the daily break times at work.
Most workers receive an unpaid hour for their lunch break, which means they are already away from home for nine hours during the day. If you can make it home for lunch, then it doesn’t always feel like a disadvantage – but it does increase your overall commuting expenses. When you add another hour to that schedule, then workers are putting in five hours before and after their main meal, which can be challenging to manage in some situations.
Not only can this disadvantage impact the daily break times which are available to the staff, but it can also lead to the development of unhealthy habits. Workers could be sitting for longer periods, increasing the risk of a workers’ compensation issue.
5. It creates a shorter morning or evening for workers 9 out of the 10 days of each period.
Many families are already struggling to find enough time to manage everything that happens in the evening. Some have trouble getting to the bus stop or to school on time. When you decide to use a 9 80 work schedule to manage time at work, then there is up to an hour less each day that you get to be available for everyone. That extra time requires you to be at work, which might mean fewer social activities outside of the added day off, fewer extra-curricular activities, or even added stress.
6. Workers are not always productive in the first or last hour of the day.
Some workers see their maximum productivity levels peak during the mid-day hours. If you are the type of person who gets a lot of work done in the morning or evening, then you could benefit from the 9 80 work schedule because a quieter office would help you to work more effectively. If that does not describe you, then you might find that this alternative opportunity does more harm than good for your approach to your job.
Verdict on the 9 80 Work Schedule
Some workers benefit from alternative schedules. Others prefer working something that is more traditional. There are no general right or wrong approaches to consider when looking at the 9 80 work schedule format. It is up to each worker and their employer to determine what is the most beneficial approach to their needs.
There can be staffing gaps in some situations, but there can also be improvements to employee coverage. It could save money, but this schedule could also be more expensive to implement.
When looking at these 9 80 work schedule pros and cons, it is imperative to look at the long-term outcomes to ensure this approach is beneficial. For workers who want to receive a couple of extra days off each month, this option is an easy way to make that happen. Employers can also see advantages because this option can be seen as an employee benefit.
Crystal Lombardo has been a staff writer for Future of Working for five years. She is a proud veteran and mother. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our editor-in-chief a message here.