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In a 9/80 work schedule, an employee works 80 hours over nine days each two-week period rather than the traditional 10. While employees get an extra off day every other week, this schedule has drawbacks, including long days. Specific schedules may vary by employer, but a common format is four nine-hour days each week, with alternating eight-hour Fridays and "free day" Fridays.
Pro: Free Day
Perhaps the most attractive feature of the 9/80 schedule is the extra day off. Assuming the free day occurs on a Friday, you get a three-day weekend every other week. This extra time off allows more time for family activities, hobbies, travel and other pursuits. In a typical nine-day schedule, you have at least one eight-hour day as well. The Environmental Protection Agency and commuter agencies in such places as the Washington, D.C., metro area have noted that alternative work schedules reduce traffic congestion, which means less time on the road for commuters.
Pro: Time to Conduct Personal Business
In addition to the free time, employees with every other Friday free can complete personal business that is often difficult on a regular schedule. Many financial services companies, post offices and government agencies are open only on weekdays. A free weekday makes it possible to complete some personal errands that are much more challenging without the day off. Parents also have the chance to visit their kids' schools or attend school activities.
Con: High-Pressure Workdays
High-pressure workdays are a drawback. Some employees work in roles where they have required production levels or standards to meet regardless of the schedule. If you work four days instead of five, you must cram the productivity into four days. It is difficult to maintain high energy and stamina on the nine-hour days that are common in the four-day weeks. Emory University notes that compressed schedules such as the 9/80 can lead to morale problems. In some cases, salaried employees end up working well beyond 40 hours and even a few hours on their free day to catch up. It can also be challenging to align supplier delivery schedules and other external factors with the nine-day schedule.
Con: Short Evenings
The tradeoff for the long weekend is that you lose some social time during the week. On a nine-hour day, including a lunch break, you may not finish until at least 6 or 7 p.m. With a modest commute, it is hard for people to enjoy social activities and hobbies during the evenings. By the time you eat dinner and relax, it is near bedtime for those who have to rise early the next morning.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.