The standard 8-hours day, 5 days per week periods, 40-hour workweek are familiar to most working people. However, the recent pandemic has changed the way we work. It has made us understand that there are diverse work arrangements that can amp up employees' productivity. The 9-80 work schedule is one of them.
Although the 9-80 workweek may appear new, it could very well be the next big thing in the world of flexible work trends.
So, what exactly is it? Is it appropriate for your business and your employees? Let's have a look.
What is the 9-80 work schedule?
In the 9-80 work schedule, employees have to work 9 hours per day from Monday to Thursday. And on Friday, they have to work for 8 hours.
That 8 hours will include 4 hours for the first week until Friday and 4 hours for the second week. In the second week also, they have to work 9-hours days from Monday to Thursday. And, they can observe an off day on Friday.
Let's understand the concept better with an example of the 9/80 work schedule.
Monday: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm with an hour of unpaid lunch break in-between (9 hours total)
Tuesday: Same (9 hours)
Wednesday: Same (9 hours)
Thursday: Same (9 hours)
(Total hours till Thursday will be 36 hours)
Friday: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm (the first week will end here ) then, 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm (the second week will start)
Monday: 8:00 am - 1:00 pm, and 2:00 am - 6:00 pm with an hour of unpaid lunch break in between (9 hours total)
Tuesday: Same (9 hours)
Wednesday: Same (9 hours)
Thursday: Same (9 hours)
Thus, the 2nd week will have 36 working hours.
That is, the employees will work for 80 hours in 2 weeks.
In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act does not address the subject of a flexible work schedule. The U.S. Department of Labor only specifies that an employee must work a certain number of hours each pay period. And that they must be present in some way during a "core" time each day. It means that a compressed or flex schedule is permissible at the employer's discretion, such as the 9/80 work schedule.
Pros Of The 9-80 Work Schedule
1. Better work-life balance
Because your employees will have extra days off on Fridays, it'll be easier to fit in all of their necessary appointments. It will save their sick days or vacation time. Thus, employees can attain a better work-life balance. If we talk about your business, it will increase retention rates, reduce employee absenteeism and increase productivity.
2. Added flexibility
Although the 9-80 plan works best when each employee gets a designated day off, you can introduce some flexibility in selecting the day off. Like, some employees can take off every other Wednesday instead of having a three-day weekend. The only condition is that eight of the employee's nine working days must be 9 hours long throughout the two weeks.
3. Appeals to potential hires
The flexibility mentioned above is an option that benefits all who require freedom in their daily lives. It allows them to avoid sitting at their work desk for a prolonged period.
We know millennials for their desire for more flexibility, anyway. And, when it comes to choosing a new job, many of today's top employees prioritize the ability to maintain a solid work/life balance. As a result, the 9/80 work schedule makes a company more appealing to potential employees.
Read our blog on: Understanding Millennials in the Workforce
4. Boosts productivity and work quality
Because your employees have more control over their work schedule, a 9-80 schedule has been shown to boost productivity. That extra day off boosts their morale and motivates them to work better.
Cons Of The 9-80 Work Schedule
1. Doesn't suit all business
Your clients or customers may not be available during the extra hour of uptime, limiting the productivity prospects for employees. Especially if your company is client-based, the 9/80 work schedule may not be as effective if your clients are not active during those hours. It will impact the company's competitive profile, which in turn will have an effect on revenue and management responsibilities, particularly in small businesses.
However, this schedule works well when there are administrative activities to complete, general labor to accomplish, or other internal tasks.
2. No assurance of higher productivity
There is no assurance that adding another hour to the usual 8-hour workday would result in a higher amount of work. Switching to a 9-80 schedule may result in lower production because employees remain in their lowest energy levels during the last hours.
3. Longer hours at work
If you introduce a 9/80 work schedule, your staff will be at work for 10 hours each day. It includes an hour for lunch. While some people can adjust to such a schedule without difficulty, others may find it difficult to stay at work for so long.
4. Lesser team collaboration
The office gets relatively silent outside the core hours when team members come together with such a flexible schedule. There may be fewer opportunities for collaboration with fewer people in the room, leading to future communication challenges.
At the same time, some employees will always look for ways to take advantage of the situation. When working from home, the 9-80 schedule becomes even more problematic. Even though they're logged into their work account, these employees may be watching Netflix if no one is present to supervise them.
Read our blog on: 8 Ways to Foster Team Collaboration
In fact, such flexible scheduling necessitates employees' full dedication and employer's trust in their employees.
How To Make The 9-80 Schedule Work For Your Business?
1. Plan the deal.
The first step in introducing a 9-80 work schedule at your company is to communicate to your employees and management team about it. This stage entails determining what flex days your employees' desire and whether they are feasible to implement. It would be best to talk to your managers to determine what actions need to be taken to make a 9-80 schedule possible.
2. Make a formal policy.
Establish a formal policy. It should outline the expectations for your staff. Be specific about all the details about overtime and working off the clock to avoid any miscommunication. Make sure your policies comply with U.S. Department of Labor regulations by teaming up with your human resources department.
3. Track the working hours.
Maintain a quantitative record of hourly observations that are easily measurable to track every hour of working employees. It will assist you in determining how efficiently employees use each hour.
4. Introduce employees to smart working.
To make the most of these valuable working hours, you must introduce your employees to smart work. Your employees must be taught how to organize their tasks and stick to deadlines.
5. Create a long-lasting bond of trust with your employees.
The most crucial thing is to have a trusting relationship with your employees. Create an environment where employees can freely share their thoughts and be accountable for their achievements. If you honor and respect their opinions, you will find certain employees who think outside the box.
Two Best Practices To Adopt In The 9-80 Work Schedule
1. Prohibit switching off days or working hours.
Employers believe there is no harm in allowing an employee to change their off day. But, there comes a miscalculation. Because switching off days or working hours usually means four hours of overtime in the 9/80 work schedule.
For example, suppose an employee who is off every other Friday is scheduled to work this Friday. In that case, they might request to work the following Friday instead. That is, on the day they are ordinarily expected to be off duty. This situation will result in more hours being worked in one of the two workweeks in the two-week pay period.
It is also true when employees want to adjust their hours worked per day. Allowing employees to arrive or leave early on their split-day may result in overtime pay. Additionally, employees permitted coming in early and departing late on alternating workdays will be subject to overtime.
To avoid this problem, prohibit employees from changing their working hours on their split days or switching their scheduled off days.
2. Monitor lunch break timings.
Failure to keep track of lunches on the alternate working day (e.g., Friday) may result in an overtime obligation.
Suppose an employee is scheduled to work between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm on alternate Fridays and has an unpaid one-hour lunch break. In that case, the employee should work the first four hours (until noon). Post that, they can take an hour for a lunch break, and return to work for the final four hours (until 6:00 pm).
However, if the employee took a lunch break at noon, they would be required to work the last five hours after 01:00 pm. It will trigger one hour of overtime responsibility in the second workweek of the two-week pay period.
Employers should monitor the employee's lunch breaks regularly to ensure they are taken at the proper time. They should underline the necessity of taking lunch after the first four hours of the alternate work day.
You may also like to read: 27 Tasty And Healthy Lunches For Work To Satisfy Your Cravings
Frequently Asked Questions About The 9-80 Work Schedule
1. How does the 9-80 work schedule work during holidays?
The way a 9-80 schedule handles holidays depends on whether the holiday falls on an eight-hour or nine-hour workday. Employees normally earn eight hours of holiday credit if it occurs on an eight-hour workday. The credit comes with a deadline for using the time. Employees are normally granted the same eight-hour holiday credit plus one-hour credit toward paid time off if the holiday falls on a nine-hour day.
2. How does the 9-80 work schedule equate with the sick time?
Sick time equals the number of hours that employees would have worked on the day that they missed. If an employee misses a nine-hour day due to illness, nine hours are deducted from their sick leave bank. Similarly, eight hours are reduced if the day is only eight hours long.
3. How does overtime work on a 9-80 work schedule?
Companies must modify their employees' Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") workweeks when switching to a 9-80 work schedule. They must still adhere to state and federal overtime compensation regulations. On a 9-80 schedule, if a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours a week, the extra hours must be compensated at 1.5 times their hourly rate.
Is there a 9/80 work schedule in place at your company? If not, do you have any plans to put one in place? Do write to us about your experience.
(Image credits: Freepik)