The standard work schedule in the United States involves working 40 hours over the course of five days. Most workers complete the schedule by going to work on Monday through Friday, and then leaving Saturday and Sunday as their weekend. Some employees work an alternative schedule that offers different weekend days while following the other elements of this common structure.
Although the standard work schedule does offer some convenience, it can be a challenge to balance work and life when your career takes a precedent during the daylight hours. Some employees are looking at a new schedule, called the 9-80 work schedule, as a way to give themselves more flexibility.
The 9-80 work schedule gives an employee a two-week schedule instead of focusing on the Monday-Friday routine. It adds an additional hour to each day, which then accumulates enough extra time for the worker to take an extra day off during each period. That makes it possible to receive two 3-day weekends during each month.
This alternative schedule works when the day off an employee earns is fixed. Employers can make changes to accommodate vacations or sick days, but it is an opportunity for everyone to know and plan for an extra day with their families. It then reduces the risk of overtime being paid under current U.S. laws.
These are the pros and cons to consider if you’re looking at the 9-80 work schedule.
List of the Pros of the 9-80 Work Schedule
1. The 9-80 work schedule can increase worker productivity.
People who have control over their own work schedule become energized by the thought of having an extra day off. This feeling can encourage higher levels of productivity throughout the other days of work. When flexible scheduling becomes possible in the typical U.S. workplace, there are 70% improvements to overall productivity. Their work quality improves by over 60%, while three out of four workers take less sick time or vacation to manage their stress.
2. The 9-80 work schedule can improve employee recruitment activities.
When an employer offers a flexible schedule that includes the 9-80 plan, then it creates an additional benefit for prospective workers to consider. This option makes it possible for new workers to balance the demands of their household or personal responsibilities with their desire to pursue a career. It is an opportunity to create a better work-life balance while earning a paycheck. At the same time, employers benefit from the potential for better productivity from each worker.
3. The 9-80 work schedule can help the environment too.
When employees do not have the need to commute to work two extra days per month, then there is an environmental benefit to consider with this alternative schedule. Workers receive a small financial gain because they don’t have the requirement to drive, carpool, or take public transportation those extra days. That means there are fewer greenhouse gas omissions being released into the atmosphere, helping families to be environmentally responsible while they get a chance to save a little money at the same time.
4. The 9-80 work schedule allows for shift coverage to occur.
The primary concern that employers have when implementing a flexible schedule like this is office coverage. Thanks to the structure of the 9-80 work schedule, companies can have ½ of their workforce take a Friday off, while the others can take the Monday off to complete a three-day weekend opportunity. Some employers find that there are a handful of workers who prefer taking a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday off because that helps them meet certain expectations that are in their personal life. This structure makes it possible for an organization to keep their teams fully staffed while providing this unique accommodation.
5. The 9-80 work schedule offers flexibility for the employer as well.
With this alternative schedule, employers are gaining another hour of potential productivity from their workforce each day. There is the option to add this time at the beginning or the end of the schedule. Some workers may prefer an earlier morning, while others may opt for a later evening. This structure makes it possible for a company to extend their hours of service, making it possible to serve more customers throughout the day. That can eventually lead to stronger revenue streams.
6. The 9-80 work schedule can combine with a shorter work break.
The days of working the traditional 9-5 schedule are gone for most workers in the United States. Although paid 15-minute breaks are usually a part of the schedule, the paid lunch break is not usually an option. That means workers are already putting in a 9-hour day without necessarily realizing it. If an employee has a one-hour unpaid break in their day, then they can reduce that time by 30 minutes, and then work an additional 30 minutes, to create the flexibility required by the 9-80 work schedule.
That means someone could work 8-5:30 each day with the shorter lunch instead of 8-5, which reduces the amount of conflict that exists in their schedule.
7. The 9-80 work schedule can change community rush hour issues.
If an employee needs to shift their schedule by an hour each day to accommodate the alternative schedule, then it will shift their commuting patterns for the remainder of their work week. That means each worker can start or end their day at a time which lessens their commute. This shift can be enough to reduce the amount of time that some employees spend away from home. When you add in the extra weekend day that comes twice per month, it can be advantageous to work this schedule on multiple fronts.
8. The 9-80 work schedule helps to create an improvement on a person’s work-life balance.
Because employees receive two extra days off during each month, they have more time to accommodate the specific errands that happen in life. Doctor appointments can be scheduled during these off days. Families can plan weekend trips which can act as a miniature vacation. Shopping chores, hobbies, and even a side business can all benefit from the extra time off that becomes available. Many workers like to spend their time volunteering in their community in some way.
List of the Cons of the 9-80 Work Schedule
1. The 9-80 work schedule creates more opportunities to cheat the system.
When workers are using an alternative schedule, it creates normal business hours for them that fall outside of the routines that other companies or internal teams use for their employees. That means productivity levels can still be lower during these times because there is less supervision available. This issue can dramatically impact home-based workers who are working the 9-80 schedule. Just because someone is logged into their account does not mean that they are maximizing their production.
2. The 9-80 work schedule can de-energize some workplace environments.
Some workers get their energy from a quiet environment. An alternative schedule like this will support higher levels of productivity for them. When employees get their energy from a social environment, then the change that they see at work with the 9-80 schedule can actually reduce their productivity at times. It is an issue that come directly impact telecommuters because they might no longer have access to their office contacts during the extra time they are on the clock.
3. The 9-80 work schedule negatively impacts a paid lunch break.
If workers to get to work the traditional 9-5 schedule, then they will need to add a full hour to their daily routine to gain the benefit of two extra days off. You must work a paid nine-hour shift for this schedule to work as it should. Some employees can adapt to the change readily with a positive impact to their productivity. There are others who find that the extra hour, along with the time required for the commute, creates a negative lifestyle impact that is too challenging to manage.
4. The 9-80 work schedule could cause staffing gaps.
Smaller companies usually avoid an alternative schedule like this one because it creates the potential for a staffing gap. There may not be enough employees available to allow workers to take the extra day off twice per month. Even if the days are staggered so that workers are going every other week to reduce this issue, a team of two people becomes one on every Friday or Monday, depending on when the time is preferred off.
5. The 9-80 work schedule does not always lead to higher productivity levels.
Most workers do not start their day at the exact moment they punch the clock. They have usually stopped working before it is time to leave as well. Up to 15 minutes of productivity time is lost during these transition periods. This issue does not go away if you switch to an alternative schedule. There are times when it may even become worse. Some employees may find that they have less energy because of this change, which makes it more of a challenge to balance their work-home life. That is why it is usually a good idea to try this schedule first before adopting it full-time to see if it is beneficial.
6. The 9-80 work schedule usually works better in the morning.
Although there are some workers who do well during the last hour of the workday, most employees experience their peak production levels in the morning. That means the people who opt for the 9-80 work schedule are usually adding an extra hour to their morning to avoid a lapse in productivity. For workers who are on a salary payment structure, they might even decide to work on their extra day off because they need to get caught up on some items – which negates the benefits that are possible in the first place.
7. The 9-80 work schedule can create shorter evenings for workers.
When the extra hour comes at the end of the day, creates a shorter evening for each employee. That means there is less time for them to spend with their families during the week. It may create challenges for family schedules too, like trying to pick up the kids from school, take them to practice, or meet other after-work obligations. Even if there are no kids at home, the alternative schedule takes time away from social activities or hobbies that can reduce the impact of stress.
8. The 9-80 work schedule may have employees working when they can’t be productive.
There are times when an alternative schedule is not beneficial because the customers or business relationships that generate revenues are not active at the same time. This structure is challenging to some companies because they are paying for people to be on the clock without receiving any production from the effort.
The pros and cons of the 9-80 work schedule must be evaluated at the individual level to determine if it is an advantageous idea. Some companies may see staffing gaps when they adopt this idea, while there may be workers who find that the shift offers too much inconvenience. If you’re looking for a way to gain a couple of days off each month, this alternative schedule is a mostly painless way to do it for the average situation.
Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.