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 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? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

What is a 9/80 work schedule?

We’re all familiar with a 9-5 work schedule—working five 8-hour days a week. The total working hour is 80 hours every 2 weeks.

A 9/80 work schedule requires employees to work eight 9-hour days and one 8-hour day in a 2-week period. So the total working hour is still 80 hours, but employees now get one extra full day off every 2 weeks.

A common 9/80 work schedule is shown in the table below:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 9 9 9 9 8 (4 + 4) OFF OFF
Week 2 9 9 9 9 OFF OFF OFF

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:

Weeks Time of the Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Morning 8 - 12 8 - 12 8 - 12 8 - 12 8 - 12 OFF OFF
Afternoon 1 - 6 1 - 6 1 - 6 1 - 6 1 - 5
2 Morning 8 - 12 8 - 12 8 - 12 8 - 12 OFF OFF OFF
Afternoon 1 - 6 1 - 6 1 - 6 1 - 6

If your business starts a little bit earlier, you can use the schedule below:

Week Times of Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Morning 7 - 12 7 - 12 1 - 5 7 - 12 7 - 12 OFF OFF
Afternoon 1 - 5 1 - 5 7 - 12 1 - 5 1 - 4
2 Morning 7 - 12 7 - 12 1 - 5 7 - 12 OFF OFF OFF
Afternoon 1 - 5 1 - 5 7 - 12 1 - 5

The pros of a 9/80 work schedule

More 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 solving 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 more 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.

Less 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.

Work schedule will help you with rush-hour traffic

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 of a 9/80 work schedule. It has its disadvantages, too.

Decreased productivity

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 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 day.

Not for all businesses

If you’re running a coffee shop and there aren’t many guests at 7-8 a.m, then this extra working 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.

work schedule for business

Tips for running a payroll for a 9/80 workweek

A 9/80 schedule requires tracking working hours every 2 weeks.

You have to track whether the employee’s sick days, paid leaves and vacation days are on 9-hour or 8-hour days.

Although no overtime wages will be applied, there are certain aspects you need to handle differently. If your staff work more than 9 hours on 9-hour days, and more than 80 hours every 2 weeks, you have to pay for their overtime.

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?

One way to take the burden of scheduling off your back is to use a good employee scheduling software like Camelo. It helps you create schedule, assign shifts, and manage time off quickly.

Your employees

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.

Get more ideas on how to schedule your workforce.

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