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Work-life balance is the holy grail for remote employees, but few employers have truly mastered it. With the Great Resignation, even companies impervious to the pandemic have now realized the importance of their employees' mental health.
Companies like Kickstarter have taken the lead by implementing the 9/80 work schedule — a method that allows employees to work a four-day workweek every other week.
Before you drastically alter how your team works, let's take a closer look at the 9/80 work schedule.
The 9/80 work schedule is a two-week cycle where employees work 80 hours in nine days instead of ten. Of course, to cover 80 hours in nine days, employees will need to work longer hours some days. Their reward is a Friday off every other week.
Here’s how it shakes out:
Week 1: Employees will work five days. The first four days will be nine hours shifts, but the fifth day will be a slightly shorter eight-hour day.
Week 2: The following week, employers will work four more nine-hour shifts. Instead of an eight-hour shift on their fifth day, they’ll get the day off.
Although these shifts are an hour longer than the average 9-5, employees enjoy the freedom of a long weekend every other week. In some cases, employers might even allow their employees to work four-hour shifts on the fifth day of each week.
Image credit: BAE Systems
That’s why companies like Kickstarter and Panasonic have made the switch. Here are the most important benefits an organization can reap from this flexible work schedule:
Long weekends - Flexible work schedules can play a significant role in helping employees feel better rested. Employees on a 9/80 schedule get 26 three-day weekends throughout the year. This gives them time to spend as they wish so that they return refreshed.
Stress management - Alternative work schedules help employers boost employee morale by simply valuing their time.
Elevated employee productivity - A shorter work week with a few extra hours of work can help increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Employee productivity is crucial for any organization.
Work-life balance - With a flexible work schedule, employees can manage childcare, health and wellness, and other household duties. They’ll also have an easier time taking vacations to recharge.
Less commuting - An additional day off every other weekday means employees spend less time spent commuting to work. For employers, it’s a day that they can conserve power.
Though there are countless upsides to the 9/80 work schedule, there are still some negative aspects. Here are a few concerns to consider before implementing a nine-hour workday for your organization:
Long workdays - Nine-hour days are not something everyone's cut out for — or capable of doing. You might find yourself forced into a traditional nine-five schedule in industries like childcare or education.
Staffing gaps - Having an extra day off each month goes a long way. That is until sick leave and staffing shortages force team members into ten days of work in a two-week period.
Unfavorable employee and customer retention - With 9-hour days, some employees will struggle with productivity. Longer days can lead to burnout and customer retention issues.
Now that you've seen the pros and cons of the 9/80 schedule, it's time to consider if it's right for your business. You can start by asking yourself these questions:
Are your clients closely tied to a traditional 9-5 schedule? Clients in the legal, banking, or education sector may keep your business tied to a traditional 9-5 schedule.
Does my team employ shift workers and require 24/7 coverage? Companies in the service-oriented industry or businesses with staffing gaps are less likely to benefit from the 9/80 work schedule.
Does my team have adequate measures in place to reduce burnout? Weekly trivia, virtual retreats, and no-meeting days are worth considering. These are just a few incentives that can help employees recharge while on the clock.
These are just a few factors to consider when planning to switch to a 9/80 schedule. Ultimately, the best way to ensure this scheduling change will lead to a productive and healthy work environment is to welcome input.
Ask your employees how they’d feel about a 9/80 schedule. Set up a survey, hold a town hall, or simply invite feedback via Slack. If your goal is truly to maximize efficiency and create a healthy work environment for others.
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