Is a 9/80 Schedule Right for Your Business?

February 17, 2021 | 380 views

Is a 9/80 Schedule Right for Your Business?
Is a 9/80 Schedule Right for Your Business?

We’ve talked a lot about flexible scheduling, from a 4-day workweek to job-sharing options. Generally, these non-traditional schedules improve some areas of your business: efficiency, employee morale, or even your comparative attractiveness to prospective employees. Flexibility in working hours is in high demand from employees, and another option that might be right for your business is a 9/80 schedule.

The 9/80 schedule refers to a two-week period during which employees work 40 hours over nine days (instead of ten days). Typically, Days 1 through 8 are 9-hour shifts, Day 9 is an 8-hour shift, and Day 10 is not a scheduled workday. As an example, if you have a location that is usually open Monday through Friday, then employees would have a 3-day weekend every other week.

As a business owner or manager, this schedule might appeal to you personally. It ensures that you, too, can enjoy 26 long weekends each year. But as with all schedules, there are pros and cons to a 9/80 work schedule.

Good Reasons to Consider a 9/80 Schedule

Ideally, any type of flexible schedule is designed to offer more work-life balance. With more days off, employees can plan getaways and pursue family time or engage in their hobbies. Simply having an extra day to run errands is helpful. And things like medical appointments are easier for employees to schedule without having to ask for time off. With slightly extended daily hours, employees may also benefit from an easier commute to work when roads are a bit quieter.

For you, the employer, running on a 9/80 schedule also has benefits. Scheduling complexity is reduced because there are fewer situations when employees will ask to change their schedules or miss a shift due to a pressing matter like a doctor’s appointment. Besides, offering a 9/80 schedule could help create happier employees who are pleased about having a better work/life balance. Happy employees are less likely to leave your organization, too, and that helps keep your business going smoothly.

When a 9/80 Schedule Might Not Work Well

Longer days mean shorter nights, and that could be a problem for employees with families. The benefit of having 26 long weekends each year might not overcome the challenges some employees face with evening responsibilities like school events.

Longer days also mean more daily fatigue. And that could create employees that are not focused on doing their best work. If productivity declines, that flexible work schedule is not suitable for your business, even if you do get three days off in a row, twice each month. If employees are tired and spend their day off sleeping, no one will be pleased with the result.

Does the Change Suit Your Specific Situation?

Effectively changing an existing schedule needs input from employees. The goal should be to improve their working and home life while still providing you, the employer, the resources you need to achieve your business goals. Ask your employees what might work for them before instituting a life-changing schedule that is not readily adopted.

The feasibility of any kind of flexible scheduling will vary by industry, too. If you operate seven days a week, a 9/80 schedule will mean that you seldom have everyone at the worksite on the same day for things like meetings or training sessions. However, a service company might easily be able to schedule work only nine days out of ten.

And lastly, labor laws might diminish efficiencies. For example, if your employees pick up work trucks for a day to make service calls, adding an hour to the workday means a smaller portion of that day is spent prepping vehicles for work and returning them to base. However, in some states, overtime is paid after the eighth hour, so an improvement in daily efficiency in one area might come at a financial cost.

Regardless of the challenges, flexibility is an excellent way to schedule employees efficiently and develop happy, loyal employees. It is definitely worth considering whether or not a 9/80 schedule suits your business.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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