9/80 Work Schedule Guide: All You Need to Know [2024]

9/80 Work Schedule Guide: All You Need to Know [2024]

Portrait of Jess Cheung Lark's Author
Portrait of Jess Cheung Lark's Author

Jess Cheung

February 7, 2024


Feb 7, 2024


10 min read

Employee working a 9/80 schedule
Employee working a 9/80 schedule
Employee working a 9/80 schedule
Employee working a 9/80 schedule

Are your employees overworked? Does their productivity fluctuate?

As a business owner or HR professional, addressing these challenges is critical — and the 9/80 work schedule might just be the solution you need.

The 9/80 work schedule is an innovative approach that offers employees three-day weekends every other week. But does it fit your business model? What about operational logistics and compliance?

This article will provide helpful insights and practical advice on the 9/80 schedule, including how Lark can help you expertly implement it in your workplace.

What is a 9/80 work schedule?

A 9/80 work schedule is an alternative to the traditional 40-hour work week. An employee works 80 hours over nine days in a two-week period rather than 10 days of eight hours each.

Typically, this means working eight nine-hour days (72 hours total) and one eight-hour day in two work weeks, with one accumulated day off every other week.

The extra day off that the employee earns is typically added to a weekend.

The main purpose of this schedule is to allow employees to enjoy a three-day weekend every other week while still fulfilling the traditional, full-time 40 hours per week.

What does a 9/80 work schedule look like?

A typical 9/80 work schedule looks like this:

9/80 work schedule in table form

In the first week, an employee works nine hours daily, Monday through Thursday, and eight hours on Friday, accumulating 44 hours that week.

The following week, the employee works four nine-hour days (Monday through Thursday) for a total of 36 hours. They take the Friday off to enjoy a three-day extended weekend.

The cycle then repeats itself, starting the following Monday.

It’s important to note that the 9/80 schedule laid out above is not set in stone. You can work with an alternative schedule if you like, such as letting employees take their day off in the middle of the second week instead of at the end.

What are the benefits of using a 9/80 work schedule?

The 9/80 work schedule comes with a number of advantages that make it attractive for employees and employers alike.

Benefits for employees

Employees enjoy the following perks with a 9/80 work schedule:

1. Regular three-day weekends for better work/life balance

One of the most attractive benefits for employees on a 9/80 work schedule is the opportunity to enjoy a three-day weekend every other week.

This extended break gives them more time for personal activities, relaxing, and spending time with family and friends. As such, it can contribute significantly to a better work-life balance.

2. Reduced commuting

This work schedule reduces the number of days employees need to commute to work, saving them time and reducing their transportation costs. It also lessens the stress and fatigue associated with daily commuting.

A person watching traffic

3. Increased job satisfaction

The flexibility and improved work-life balance that come with the 9/80 schedule can lead to increased overall job satisfaction. Employees who feel they have a good balance between their work and personal lives tend to be more positive, motivated, and committed to their jobs.

4. Greater focus and productivity

The recharge the extra day off provides can lead to increased focus and productivity during work days. Employees might find themselves more energized and efficient since they’ve had more time to rest and rejuvenate.

Benefits for employers

The 9/80 work schedule can generate valuable benefits for employers as well, such as:

1. Lower operating costs

Employers can benefit from reduced operating costs because, on the days when employees are off, the need for office resources and utilities is minimized. This is particularly true for businesses that have a significant portion of their workforce on this schedule and synchronize the extra days off.

2. Easier time attracting talent

More than 67% of employers now offer full or partial flexibility in employee scheduling to accommodate their workforce. As with other flexible schedules, offering a 9/80 work schedule can make your organization more attractive to potential employees and help you compete with other employers.

It can also play a positive role in retaining existing talent who value the work-life balance this schedule provides.

A company that offers flexible work arrangements

3. Improved productivity

Although it might seem counterintuitive, the 9/80 schedule can increase productivity — simply because well-rested and satisfied employees tend to be more efficient, creative, and engaged in their work.

The net effect can be reduced absenteeism, lower turnover rates, overall better employee morale, and higher-quality output.

What are the drawbacks of using a 9/80 work schedule?

While these benefits make the 9/80 schedule attractive, this work arrangement also comes with several disadvantages for employees and employers that business owners should consider before implementing it.

Drawbacks for employees

Employees using a 9/80 work schedule may face the following challenges:

1. Not a fit for every job position

The 9/80 work schedule may not be suitable for some jobs, particularly those that involve manual labor, customer-facing roles, or shift work.

Working nine hours a day, especially in roles that are mentally or physically demanding, can lead to increased fatigue and reduced concentration. It can potentially affect work quality and personal health, especially if the employee also faces a long commute.

2. Challenges in coordination

Employees on a 9/80 schedule might find it challenging to coordinate with colleagues on a traditional schedule, particularly on their off days. This can lead to delays in communication and project collaboration.

3. Work-life balance disruptions

For some, longer workdays can make it difficult to manage daily responsibilities, such as child care, education, relaxation, or personal commitments.

4. Potential for resentment

In workplaces with only some employees on a 9/80 schedule, the regular long weekends these individuals receive may cause feelings of unfairness or resentment in their colleagues — especially if the arrangement is perceived as a privilege rather than a practical scheduling option.

Unhappy employees

Drawbacks for employers

Employers may face issues as well when implementing this schedule, such as the following:

1. Not a fit for every business type

Not all business models can accommodate a 9/80 work schedule. Industries like retail, healthcare, and manufacturing, for instance, may find it impractical to implement due to the need for a constant employee presence at the workplace.

2. Complexity in scheduling

Managing a 9/80 work schedule can add complexity to employee scheduling, especially in larger teams or organizations. This particular schedule can be more challenging than the traditional 40-hour work week when it comes to maintaining operational efficiency.

3. Potential for decreased productivity

While some employees do well with extended hours, others may experience a decline in their productivity, especially toward the end of a longer workday. This can affect the team or organization’s overall output and efficiency.

4. Risk of increased absenteeism and turnover rates

As we said earlier, when individual employees do well on a 9/80 schedule, reduced absenteeism and turnover rates can result. However, if the longer work hours make it difficult for some employees to maintain a healthy balance between their work and personal lives, absenteeism and turnover can increase for those individuals in the long run.

So, make sure this work schedule is a good fit for your employees — and only use it if they do well with longer work days.

5. Overtime issues for non-exempt employees

Non-exempt employees on a 9/80 schedule may face overtime issues due to working 44 hours in one week and 36 in the next. This can lead to unintended overtime costs for the employer and potential legal complications.

To resolve this issue, the employer can divide the longer workday so that their employees don’t exceed the 40-hour threshold in any single week. Another solution is to use a biweekly payroll system instead of a weekly or monthly one.

Some employers solve the overtime issue by offering compensatory time off instead of overtime pay. Others allow their employees to “bank” their overtime hours, which they can then use for time off at a later date.

A piggy bank for overtime

Employers must manage all of these solutions carefully to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state labor laws.

Always consult with a labor law expert or a human resources professional so that any payroll adjustments for a 9/80 work schedule are legally sound and fair for employees.

As you navigate these complexities, you can benefit from advanced time-tracking software that accurately tracks hours worked, including overtime, and ensures proper compensation. These tools can also help you stay compliant with labor laws.

Should your company switch to a 9/80 work schedule?

Choosing whether to implement a 9/80 work schedule in your company is a significant decision. Consider the nature of your business, your employees’ needs, and the potential impact of such a unique schedule on productivity and morale.

Here are some considerations and advice for managers in various industries:

In industries like retail and hospitality, where customer service is continuous and shift work is common, a 9/80 schedule is challenging since you’ll have to compensate for extended days off. Consider whether a different version of flexible scheduling could be more appropriate.

Workers in a restaurant

In the technology industry, where work is often project-based and can sometimes be done remotely, a 9/80 schedule could be a great option. It could enhance employee satisfaction and productivity — but only as long as it aligns with project deadlines and collaborative needs.

In manufacturing, where production lines and shifts need constant coverage, a 9/80 schedule could disrupt operations. However, it might be possible to implement this schedule in administrative or non-production roles.

In work environments where a 9/80 schedule could be beneficial, consider providing employees with the option to choose between a traditional 40-hour workweek and a 9/80 schedule. This choice accommodates employee preferences and personal lives. As a result, it could enhance job satisfaction and retention.

The 9/80 schedule could be a great fit in remote and hybrid work environments since it allows for extended periods of concentrated work followed by longer breaks. But make sure you have the right remote team collaboration and communication tools in place for your employees to stay connected and productive.

What does the future of the 9/80 work schedule look like?

The future of the 9/80 work schedule — and alternative work schedules in general — will be influenced by several key factors, including shifting workplace norms, technological advancements, and global economic changes.

Here are some predictions to consider:

  • The trend toward more flexible work arrangements is likely to continue since it’s driven by a growing emphasis on work-life balance and employee well-being. As part of this trend, the 9/80 schedule may become more prominent, especially in industries where long hours and flexible schedules are common.

Employees with protest signs

  • The adoption of the 9/80 schedule will probably not be universal around the globe. In countries that prioritize work-life balance, like many in Europe, it could become more popular. But in regions where traditional work patterns are deeply ingrained in society, the shift toward a 9/80 schedule may be slower or not happen at all.

  • Economic factors, such as recessions or booms, can influence the adoption of the 9/80 schedule. During economic downturns, companies will be less inclined to veer away from the traditional work model and experiment with new schedules that may require extra resources to make them work. In contrast, in a booming economy, companies will likely feel freer financially to try out flexible schedules in order to attract and retain talent.

  • Tools like Lark are already playing an important role in facilitating flexible work schedules like the 9/80 by including them in their global collaboration and scheduling features. Since these technologies evolve rapidly, businesses can look forward to a steady expansion of creative flex scheduling options.

Image showing Lark's messenger and calendar functions

  • Advanced analytics and AI could help predict optimal work schedules based on employee performance and well-being data. This can make schedules like the 9/80 more manageable and effective.

In short, the future of the 9/80 work schedule is likely to be influenced by the increasing global emphasis on work-life balance and technological advancements in scheduling and communication — though with regional differences in how it will be implemented.

Manage your 9/80 work schedule expertly with Lark

The 9/80 work schedule is an attractive alternative to the traditional work week, though it’s important to take the pros and cons of this work arrangement into account before implementing it.

Scheduling employees for a 9/80 model — not to mention staying compliant with labor laws — can be challenging, so consider using advanced office software like Lark to manage this and other flexible scheduling options.

Try Lark for free and see for yourself what it can do for your company.

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