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Alternatives to 40 Hour Work Week Schedules

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Although most full-time American employees work eight hours per day, five days per week, employers and employees alike can benefit from alternative work schedules. Employers who offer their employees more flexible work schedules benefit from having a lower rate of absenteeism and a higher rate of productivity from their employees; there are many benefits to the employee, as well. There are also jobs for which a different schedule is the industry norm.


Flextime allows employees to select when they begin and end their workday. However, most companies do require that all employees are present during the parts of day when meetings and other company activities that require attendance take place.

Compressed Work Week

A compressed work week can be as simple as working four ten-hour shifts per week rather than five eight-hour shifts. Compressed work weeks have the added benefit of saving the employee money by reducing the cost of transportation due to the one less day a week that is worked.

A 9/80 Schedule

A 9/80 work schedule allows the employee to work 80 hours over a two week period. For example, the employee may work eight nine-hour days and one eight-hour day in a two week period. This type of schedule allows the employee to gain a full 80-hour pay period without working the standard 40-hour work week.

Rotating Schedule

A rotating schedule alternates days worked and days off each week. For example, an employee may work three twelve-hour shifts one week and four twelve-hour shifts the next week. Another example of a rotating schedule is to work eight-hour shifts that alternate days worked each week.


Telework, also known as telecommuting, is another alternative to the traditional 40 hour work week. Telework allows the employee to work one to five days a week from home, a satellite office or regional telework center. Additional advantages of telework are that the employee can either work on a pre-set schedule or complete their work within a limited time frame, depending on his agreement with his employer.

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