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July 17, 2019

9/80 Work Schedule: What is it, and how will my business benefit from it?


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The way businesses operate is changing by the day. Technological advancements have paved the way for concepts, such as remote working, flexible work schedules, and automation.

Each concept presenting new opportunities and challenges to businesses that adopt them. Among them, work schedules have become so diverse, that business owners are starting to become confused as to which is more effective.

Usually, work schedules are adopted based on the norm that exists within a culture. According to the Telegraph, in Germany, the average citizen works a 28-hour week, while those in Central America work a little over 43 hours a week, on average. This cultural difference has led to the development of more than 16 different types of work schedules. Each with its own benefits, and pitfalls.

So, how do you know which work schedule is right for you?

Studies show that businesses are unique undertakings that require unique systems. As such, adopting a schedule that everyone uses within a culture may not be the ideal decision. We are all familiar with the 8-hour-per-day, 40-hours-per-week schedule. In fact, it is considered by many as the standard schedule because of its vast use. However, have you ever considered an alternative solution? One which is more in line with your organization's culture?

Currently, the 9/80 work schedule has gained traction, and more and more businesses are starting to adopt it. But what is a 9/80 work schedule, and is it the right schedule for your business?

What is a 9/80 work schedule?

The best way to describe the 9/80 work schedule goes as follows:

A 9/80 work schedule takes two workweeks and separates them into eight 9-hour days, one 8-hour day and one day off.

In such an arrangement, employees would work a total of 80 hours over the course of nine days - hence the name 9/80. Adopting such a schedule would allow business owners to give employees one day off every other week. This benefit is one of the reasons why the 9/80 work schedule has become so popular.

A typical workday under this schedule would consist of four 9-hour days and a single 8-hour day. However, for payroll purposes, a common practice is to split the single 8-hour day into two 4-hour workdays - one half for the first week, and another half for the second week. This way you not only complete the 40-hour work week but also give the employee an effective workday off.

The system may seem complicated at first; however, as you read through this blog post, the concept will become second nature to you. Let’s take a look at an example of a 9/80 work schedule to help you understand the dynamics of this system.

Example of a 9/80 Work Schedule

As we have already stated, the 9/80 work schedule consists of two weeks. Let's explore each week independently.

The First Week

In the first week Monday through Thursday, employees would be starting work at 08:00 AM or 09:00 AM and finishing at 05:30 PM, 06:00 PM, respectively. During the workday, employees would enjoy an unpaid lunch break from 12:00 PM to 13:00 PM. In total, the time spent working from Monday through Friday would be 36 hours - leaving 4 hours remaining for the last day of the week.

The last day in the 9/80 schedules is known as the flex day because employees, alongside management, get to choose when, and how they spent the last 4 hours. There are two common ways that employees tend to use the flex day.

First, employees can simply opt to spend the last day of the week working a 4-hour shift. The same would be applicable for the second week as well. Second, employees can decide to merge the flex days of week one and two, for a total of 8-hours. Under this scenario, employees would enjoy a full day off from the second week.

The Second Week

The second week of a 9/80 work schedule is almost identical to the first week. Monday to Thursday, employees would work a 9-hour shift, and the flex day would be spent in accordance with how it was spent in the first week. For example, if the employee worked for 8-hours during the previous flex day, then they would enjoy the day off in the second week flex day. However, if they worked for 4-hours then they would have to work an additional 4 hours in the second week.

All in all, a 9/80 work schedule gives your staff alternatives when compared to the standard schedule. The weekends remain untouched, and employees enjoy extra days off. These are only a few benefits that come as a result of the 9/80 work schedule.

What are the advantages of the 9/80 work schedule?

Striking a balance

Considering the dynamics of this schedule, employees will effectively receive two extra days off during a single month. These two days play a major role in the work/life balance of the employees because they get to enjoy more vacations, more rest, and more time with friends and family. As a result, employees will remain productive in the long-run.


In most cases, the employees are those who get to decide how they spent their flex days. If someone wants to take every Monday off instead of having a Friday then this schedule will make the request happen.

A program for all

Initially, a 9/80 work schedule may look like a program dedicated to employees only. However, business owners, managers, and other stakeholders have to consider that this work schedule opens up time for tasks that are usually forgotten, such as planning retreats, updating Google listings, and social media profiles.

Fewer No-Shows

When employees have more time to rest then they are less inclined to call in sick or to request additional time off. This ensures that your business will operate at maximum capacity.

Potential disadvantages of the 9/80 work schedule

Diminishing productivity

We are all aware that our productivity falls as the day drags along. Adding an additional hour to the routine raises the question of how productive the last hour will be? A push strategy such as the 9/80 work schedule may not be the best alternative for labor-intensive industries, such as construction, agriculture, hospitality, and more.

Time tracking difficulties

Operating under a 9/80 work schedule will inevitably make time tracking difficult. Because of the nature of the flex day, employees may adjust it to fit their personal schedules. This will become an administrative nightmare for those who have to manage the work-hours of employees.

In fact, time management, and excessive flexibility are to of the main problems businesses face when implementing this schedule. Luckily, there are digital solutions that can help you automate the entire time tracking process, and better manage changes in the flex day.

Less evening time

An additional hour a day will mean that employees will have less free time during the evening for personal activities. Some individuals have set agendas that they follow on a regular basis, and interfering with their private life can lead to unintended consequences.

To address such a problem, many business owners allow employees to pick which schedule they want to work with. Those that don't want to work with the 9/80 schedule can opt for the standard one. Thereby, maintaining their daily routine. Having multiple types of work schedules could be great for employees, but a burden to management who have to track their time and performance.

Costly leaves and holidays

In this type of work schedule, a day of sick leave will result in a 9-hour loss of work for the business. At the same time, if a holiday falls on one of the scheduled days off then that will also lead to a 9-hour loss for the business. In the 9/80 schedules, leaves are extremely costly.

Keeping manual control in a 9/80 work schedule tends to be difficult in the long run. However, there are ways that you can maintain a healthy work environment under this schedule.

Maintaining a 9/80 work schedule

When trying to adopt a 9/80 work schedule, businesses have to pay careful attention to the flexibility they are offering and the ways through which they will manage the system in the long run.

We have already established how costly leaves and holidays can be. Employees will find ways to misuse the flexibility they are offered to their personal advantage. Without a proper management system, the costs of running a 9/80 schedule can exceed its benefits.

Therefore, business owners have to keep track of their employee's work hours, breaks, activities, time off, and - with remote workers - their location history as well. All of these features can be found in a single time tracking solution. With the help of a time tracking application, business owners, and project managers will ensure accountability and transparency in the organization.

Every change within an organization will come with its pros and cons. Similarly, the 9/80 work schedule carries the potential to positively influence change within an organization if implemented properly. Those implementing it will have to pay careful attention to flexibility and management. To ensure that you do not become prey of the common 9/80 pitfalls, we suggest looking into researching into a time tracking software that fits your needs. Using the insight derived from the software can help you establish the efficiency of the schedule, and ways to improve it.

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