What Is A 9/80 Work Schedule? Exploring Examples, Benefits, And Challenges

By Jack Flynn
Oct. 13, 2022
Articles In Life At Work Guide

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Over the past few years, employers have been exploring new schedule options to try to provide more flexibility to their employees.

This article will explain everything you need to know about a 9/80 work schedule, as well as provide you with examples of its benefits and downsides.

Key Takeaways

  • A 9/80 schedule typically includes nine-hour workdays Monday through Thursday, with Fridays alternating between eight-hour days and completely off.

  • Benefits of a 9/80 schedule include improved work-life balance, productivity, flexibility, focus, rest, and commute times.

  • Downsides of a 9/80 schedule include longer hours, confusing payroll, a lack of focus, staffing issues, and complications with personal day and sick leave.

What Is A 9/80 Work Schedule? Exploring Examples, Benefits, And Challenges

What Is a 9/80 Work Schedule?

Unlike a standard schedule, a 9/80 schedule works with a two-week period instead of a one-week period. The title of the schedule derives from the fact that working days during this period are split into eight 9-hour days and one 8-hour day.

This means that by the end of the first week, the employee would have worked 44 hours. The extra hours made in the first week will carry over to the second week. Therefore, a 9/80 work schedule has employees working 80 hours over nine days instead of the ten worked under a normal work schedule. The result is an extra day off every other week.

Typically, a 9/80 employee would work nine hours Monday through Thursday and eight hours Friday on the first week. Then, during the second week, they’d also work nine hours Monday through Thursday but have Friday completely off.

While the 9/80 doesn’t require this breakdown, it’s certainly the most common version of it.

Overall, employees still receive 80 hours every two weeks but will be provided with an extra day off.

Example of a 9/80 Work Schedule

To understand the flow of a 9/80 schedule further, consider the following example:

James has been newly hired into a Sales Representative position. This position has a 9/80 schedule, so his schedule appears as such:

First Week

  • Monday: 9 am-7 pm (with a one-hour lunch break)

  • Tuesday: 9 am-7 pm

  • Wednesday: 6 am-4 pm

  • Thursday: 6 am-4 pm

  • Friday: 9 am-7 pm

  • Saturday: Off

  • Sunday: Off

Second Week

  • Monday: 9 am-7 pm (with a 1-hour lunch break)

  • Tuesday: 9 am-7 pm

  • Wednesday: 6 am-4 pm

  • Thursday: 6 am-4 pm

  • Friday: Off

  • Saturday: Off

  • Sunday: Off

Because James completed an extra 4 hours in his first week, those hours carry over to the second week. By the end of Thursday of the second week, he’s already achieved 80 hours total. Thus, James will always get every other Friday off.

Benefits of a 9/80 Work Schedule

Now that you know what a 9/80 work schedule is, it’s important to note that there are several benefits that come with having one. Here are some of the best benefits for employees:

  1. Improved Work-Life Balance

    Have you ever wanted to take a short three-day vacation but been annoyed with the fact that you need an extra day off to do it? Or, maybe one of the appointments you need to make is at a facility that isn’t open on the weekends.

    One of the greatest aspects of the 9/80 schedule is the work-life balance that comes from greater flexibility. You’re guaranteed two extra days off each month, which means more time for family and friends, as well as appointments or errands.

    Additionally, your daily work hours on other days only increase by one hour, meaning that you might barely notice the extra time worked on your workdays while also getting those extra days off.

    Plus, all of this can lead to fewer sick days, no-call/no-shows, and time-off requests.

  2. Increased Productivity

    When you have more days off, it’s easier to be focused and energized in the workplace. Working that extra hour every day won’t seem like a big deal if it all culminates into that rewarding day off.

    Over time, this reduces stress and can decrease the chance of sickness or burnout.

  3. Employee and Company Flexibility

    Instead, they can split up the days their team gets off by giving half of the employees Fridays off and the other half Mondays. Everyone gets a three-day weekend, and the company is still able to remain open five days per week.

    Employees also benefit from having a weekday off, which can mean easier appointments, and trips to the store, post office, or bank.

  4. Improved Focus

    While an extra hour of work for four days doesn’t seem like much, it can actually provide you with that extra time you need to focus on your tasks and get things done.

    Just think about it, would you rather pack up and leave with one paragraph left of your report that you need to finish tomorrow, or have the extra time to finish it that day? If you wait until the morning, you might forget your train of thought or be distracted by other important tasks.

    Instead, finishing it on the same day will be a huge relief and set you up for success the following day.

    With that in mind, having an extra hour allows for deeper focus in the workplace.

  5. Better Rest

    Having more downtime is a great way to go into the next week feeling refreshed and ready to work. With a 9/80 schedule, the additional days off can give you the ability to rest.

    Just think, maybe instead of your days off being dedicated to only errands, chores, and appointments, you might actually be able to relax.

  6. Reduced Commuting

    While cutting two workdays out of the month might not seem like it’d have a huge impact, it can make a major difference when you have a longer commute. You might save yourself hours of driving or stressful delays in traffic.

    This helps with stress, and your wallet, as you’ll be spending less money on gas too.

Cons of a 9/80 Work Schedule

While all of these benefits sound great, that doesn’t mean that a 9/80 work schedule is without its challenges. Here are a few reasons why it might not be for you:

  1. Longer Hours

    If you find yourself struggling to handle an eight-hour shift, working several nine-hour shifts might not be the right fit for you. Plus, maybe you want to be home for dinner at a certain time or need to pick your kids up from school. That extra hour might make it difficult to work around those responsibilities.

  2. Confusing Payroll

    While this isn’t an issue for employees, employers might find it difficult to create a payroll structure. This is because if you’re basing payroll on single workweeks, then it will seem lopsided when one week shows 44 hours worked and the next only shows 36.

  3. Lack of Focus

    Though some people might be able to get more done in nine hours, others might find that their energy is all but drained before their shift is over. The fluctuation in hours and days can also cause issues for employees, as the lack of consistency can harm productivity.

    Think of it this way, if you remember those school weeks where you had a half-day on Friday, you probably also remember how you took that week or that school day less seriously. This likely harmed our focus.

    In a less extreme sense, a 9/80 schedule can cause the same issue.

  4. Staffing Issues

    Even with alternating days off, it can be difficult for companies to fill out their staffing requirements. After all, if half of their staff has Friday off, and the others have Monday off, what do you do when two people call out sick on Friday?

    For reasons like that, it can be especially difficult for small businesses to implement a 9/80 because it can put certain days in a precarious staffing position.

  5. Personal Day and Sick Leave Problems

    It’s normal for employees to need the occasional sick day or personal leave, but it can be difficult to organize the time off when there’s at least one day with eight hours instead of nine. 9/80 employers will typically have to re-organize their sick leave to cover nine hours instead of eight, but this comes with challenges. For instance, nine and eight hours don’t divide equally into the same numbers.

  6. Overworking and Abuse of Overtime

    As employees adjust to working nine-hour days, they could easily get used to working even longer than nine hours as they find projects to fill the extra hour.

    When this becomes a habit, it harms the employees, as they’ll quickly become burnt out, and it harms the company if the workers are getting paid overtime too often.

How to Implement a New 9/80 Work Schedule as a Business

As with anything, communication is key. You don’t want your employees to look at their schedule and suddenly realize they’re working nine hours instead of eight. Instead, create a test schedule that you can discuss with business partners and employees, so everyone can offer their opinion or agree on the new schedule.

After everyone agrees, you’ll need to start changing payroll. Most importantly, you have to be careful about how you add things up.

Payroll for a 9/80 Work Schedule

For example, if a normal pay cycle accounts for 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday, you’ll need to change that to account for the leap of the 9/80 schedule. The first week will total 44 hours, while the second week totals 36 hours.

Most notably, you need to ensure that the change to the first week isn’t processed as overtime due to the extra four hours. We recommend running payroll based on a two-week schedule to avoid this. And speaking of two weeks, if you’re not already paying your employees bi-weekly, you’ll need to change that too (it’ll be much easier that way).

Of course, you also need to consider PTO. Under the new 9/80 schedule, PTO will need to account for nine hours on any day except for Friday.

But, once you implement these changes, you should be more or less good to go. If you use a bi-weekly pay schedule, your employees will even be paid at the same time as always.

Final Thoughts: Is a 9/80 Schedule Right for You?

As a full-time worker, you’re used to the daily grind of a standard schedule — eight hours a day, five days per week, 40 hours a week. Odds are, this type of schedule has been the standard, even from job to job, so you’ve never questioned it before. After all, it is the “standard schedule.”

But, if you find yourself struggling with work-life balance, maybe it’s time to look into alternatives. A different work schedule might just provide you with the flexibility you need.

But, what are the alternatives to a standard schedule?

Well, one of the most popular is the 9/80 work schedule, which is known for its flexibility. This schedule doesn’t operate like your typical 9-5, Monday through Friday, and there are plenty of benefits that come with that.

Though, of course, there are also some challenges that come with adopting it too.

If you’re an employee who craves a flexible work schedule, more days off, and more time to dive into your tasks at work, a 9/80 schedule might just be perfect for you. On the other hand, if you’re satisfied with your standard schedule and don’t like the idea of getting home later than you already do on the weekdays, you’d do well to stay away.

For businesses, the 9/80 schedule can be a great way to improve employee morale and productivity but can also make payroll or maintaining the proper amount of staff more difficult.

Regardless of what you prefer, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons of a 9/80 work schedule.

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Jack Flynn

Jack Flynn is a writer for Zippia. In his professional career he’s written over 100 research papers, articles and blog posts. Some of his most popular published works include his writing about economic terms and research into job classifications. Jack received his BS from Hampshire College.

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