The concept of a 9/80 work schedule—working eight 9-hour days, one 8-hour day, and enjoying 3-day weekends every 2 weeks—sounds so appealing.
Microsoft Japan even claimed that there was an increase of 40% in their productivity when trying out this schedule.
So what exactly is a 9/80 work schedule? What are its pros and cons? Should you try it out for your business? Should you try it for your business? And how do you implement it?
What is a 9/80 work schedule?
The 9/80 work schedule is a compressed work schedule in which employees work eight 9-hour days and one 8-hour day over 2-week period. That 8-hour day will include 4 hours of the first week and 4 hours of the second week.
We’re all familiar with a 9-5 work schedule—working 40 hours per week. With a 9/80 schedule, the total working hours every 2 weeks is still 80 hours, but now employees get one extra day off.
A common 9/80 work schedule is shown in the table below:
In Week 1, employees work for 9 hours from Monday to Thursday, and 8 hours on Friday. The first 4 hours of this Friday belongs to Week 1, and the last 4 hours belongs to Week 2.
In Week 2, employees work for 9 hours from Monday to Thursday. And they get a full day off on Friday.
There might be different variations of a 9/80 work schedule, but the general idea still remains. The 8-hour work day doesn’t have to be Friday. It can be on Monday, depending on each business.
Examples of a 9/80 work schedule
This schedule is for businesses that starts at 8 a.m:
If your business starts a little bit earlier, you can use the schedule below:
The pros of a 9/80 work schedule
Increase work-life balance
Having one extra day off can be huge to some employees. They have more personal time for themselves and longer weekends with their family.
One weekday for personal matters
Employees can do lots of things if they have a weekday off: visit the doctor, complete paperwork, go to the bank, schedule appointments with companies that open on weekdays, etc.
In fact, your staff might be distracted if they have personal matters unresolved. Having time to solve these issues, they can come back to work more refreshed and focused.
Fewer time-off requests, sick leaves and no-shows
These issues often happen because employees don’t have enough time off, or they have personal matters to resolve on weekdays. Having one extra full day off allows them to solve their issues without making excuses and submitting leave requests.
Less interruption, increased productivity
Working one extra hour per day gives staff more time to complete their work without putting it off to the next day. Work is less interrupted, resulting in increased productivity.
Save time and money on commuting
Commuting to work can be a huge waste of time and money. No one loves traffic jams and costly gas prices. Even though it’s only one extra day off every 2 weeks, employees are going to enjoy this benefit.
Reduce mental problems
Workplace stress is a common reason for mental health issues among employees. More days off and longer weekends allow your staff to balance their work and life, spend time on themselves, and relax. This can reduce stress and mental problems significantly.
Boost employee morale
The idea of having an extra day off can boost employee morale remarkably. Many will be excited about having a longer weekend waiting for them, and having more control over their week.
Attract talented workers
Some young workers actually prefer flexibility over pay, seniority, and health coverage. A flexible schedule has become an attractive perk that more young employees start to prioritize when looking for a job.
Good for the environment
A day off means less commuting and vehicles, aka less emission and pollution. Of course, some of your employees will be traveling and driving outside on these days, but not all of them. A few vehicles off the road have already made a significant contribution to protecting the environment.
Avoid rush-hour traffic
Working 9 hours a day requires your staff to either come earlier or leave later. This allows them to avoid peak-hour traffic where everyone rushes to work, school, and home.
The cons of a 9/80 work schedule
You must be wondering how people can work 9 hours straight in a day, right? That’s the problem with a 9/80 work schedule. It has its disadvantages, too.
8-hour workdays have already been tiring for some, let alone adding one extra hour. Some employees may be unwilling to try this 9/80 schedule. They can be grumpy, pretend to work, or lose their energy, which results in decreased productivity.
Less time for personal matters on 9-hour days
Scheduling conflicts may arise if employees have personal matters to solve on 9-hour workdays. Some may need to pick up and drop off their kids at school. Some may want to prepare lunch with the rare time they have in the morning. Some others take extra classes in the early evening.
Difficult to manage schedule and payroll
If your business needs to open 5 days a week, you may need to separate 2 groups of employees so that there’ll always be someone on-site. One group can take Friday off, while others take Monday off, for example.
It’s fine if your business is still small, but once it grows, managing all this can be a nightmare. It requires long-term planning and making adjustments to the work schedule.
By applying the 9/80 schedule, you have to adjust your payroll system accordingly. Basically, you don’t have to pay overtime if your employees work within the 80-hour/2 weeks time frame. But sick leaves, paid leaves, and vacations need to be handled differently depending on whether they’re off on 8-hour or 9-hour days.
The extra hour may be unnecessary for some businesses
If you’re running a coffee shop and there aren’t many guests at the extra working hour, then this hour is of no use. Your staff may just use it for chatting or using their phones.
Costs may occur
Depending on your industry and business, you need to consider the cost that may occur together with a 9/80 schedule.
For instance, your business includes risky tasks during non-daylight hours, meaning you need to spend more money on safety measures. If your employees work on computers, they have to sit longer, leading to health problems and you may have to compensate for those medical costs.
How do you implement a 9/80 schedule?
1. Plan & communicate
Find out if a 9/80 work schedule is feasible to implement in your business and what steps you need to take to implement it. Then, talk to your employees about this type of work schedule and see if they’re willing to follow it.
2. Select the “off” day
The “off” day, also known as the “flex” day or the alternating day, is the day off every other week. Most companies take every other Friday off.
Note: If you change, switch, or trade the “off” day, it’ll result in overtime. So it’s best to select a day that suits your business most.
3. Determine the start and end of the workweek
Knowing the start and end time of the workweek helps you calculate overtime. You can start the work week in the middle of the “off” day.
For example, if the “off” day is Friday and your opening hour is 8 am – 6 pm, then start the workweek at 1 pm on those Fridays and end the workweek at 12 pm on those Fridays.
4. Create policy for implementing the schedule
Since the 9/80 schedule is more complex in terms of overtime and payroll, you should create a policy for it. State your expectations and include details about overtime so employees are clear about their working time.
5. Establish a system for maintaining schedules, overtime & payroll
If employees change their working hours and lunchtime on the 8-hour day, or change their “off” day, it’ll result in overtime.
For example, on a standard 8-hour day, an employee works from 8am to 12pm and finishes their first workweek, then takes a 1-hour lunch break, then starts their second workweek by working from 1pm to 5pm. If they decide to take a break at 11pm, that’ll result in 1-hour overtime for the second workweek.
So, establish a system for handling work schedules, overtime & payroll so you don’t get confused when those cases happen.
Frequently asked questions about the 9/80 work schedule
1. How do you calculate overtime when you implement a 9/80 work schedule?
Businesses that implement a 9/80 work schedule still need to comply with the state and federal overtime compensation regulations. Non-exempt employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will receive overtime compensation at 1.5 times their regular rates if they work over 40 hours per week.
2. How do holidays work with a 9/80 work schedule?
This depends on whether the holiday falls on an 8-hour workday or a 9-hour workday. If the holiday falls on an 8-hour workday, employees get 8 hours of holiday credit or another day off during the pay period. If the holiday falls on a 9-hour workday, employees get 8-hour holiday credit plus 1-hour credit to their PTO bank.
Some companies only allow the holiday to be an eight-hour day. In this case, if the holiday falls on a nine-hour day, the employee needs to work one extra hour on another day, take an hour of unpaid leave, or take an hour of vacation time.
3. How does sick time work with a 9/80 work schedule?
This also depends on whether the employees take sick time on an 8-hour workday or a 9-hour workday. If an employee is off on an 8-hour day, 8 hours are deducted from their leave bank. If an employee is off on a 9-hour day, 9 hours are deducted from their leave bank.
4. Is a 9/80 schedule worth it?
Some say that this type of schedule is the best job perk they’ve ever had, some hate it. As cliché as it sounds, this depends.
Should I use a 9/80 schedule for my business?
Your industry and your business
This depends on your industry and the characteristics of your business. Can it operate outside standard 9-5 hours? For instance, if your business is in the customer service industry, being available for more hours is a huge plus.
Adjustments and adaptations
A 9/80 work schedule needs lots of adjustments and adaptations. Are you willing to spend more time and effort on creating employee schedules, adjusting the payroll system, and managing days off?
Some employees may feel this flexible schedule is amazing, while others think it’s a nightmare. Check to see if this kind of scheduling works for your employees. Are they willing to follow it?
You can let your staff try the 9/80 schedule out voluntarily. Some employees may change their minds if they see their colleagues get an extra day off.
The nature of your business’ tasks and workflow
A 9/80 schedule is more suitable for businesses operating on individual output. If your business requires collaboration and dependent tasks, it can be challenging to manage the workflow.
What should I do?
Communication is key. You can discuss with your employees and explain clearly the pros and cons of the 9/80 method to see how your staff react. You may want to test it out with voluntary staff to see if it works.
Think about the long-term outcomes and consequences of the 9/80 method. Create a long-term plan if you decide to use this schedule for your business.
When it comes to choosing between a traditional 9-5 schedule and a 9/80 schedule, there’s nothing right or wrong, or which one is better. It’s more about considering whether which one suits your business and is most beneficial for both employers and employees.
To get started, you can use our 9/80 work schedule template on Google Sheets or try out free employee scheduling software like Camelo. You can set up a 9/80 schedule on Camelo, copy it from week to week, and manage employee work hours right on the app.