As more employers look for ways to rethink the standard workday, stay abreast of some of the new options out there. One of the most popular new trends: the 9/80

“Working 9-to-5” isn't just a fun song. It's been the mainstay of white collar office work for the last several decades. The advantage of a fixed work schedule has been that it allowed workers to organize their lives around a commonly instituted time frame.

But in recent years, many employees are placing a much higher priority on a better work-life balance.  As companies explore alternative working arrangements, the 9/80 work schedule has recently become quite popular. Its advocates say it improves motivation and boosts employee satisfaction. So what is it and could it work for you?

What is a 9/80 work schedule?

The term “9/80” stands for “9 days / 80 hours.” This is opposed to the traditional “5/40” structure that organizes schedules as single work weeks of “5 days / 40 hours.” The 9/80 work schedule is organized in a two-week frame. The idea behind this work schedule is to compress the same number of work hours - 80 hours - into nine days rather than ten. The result is that every two weeks, employees get an extra day off work.

How does a 9/80 work schedule even work?

A 9/80 work schedule considers a two-week period as a single unit and splits up the work days into a sequence of eight 9-hour days and one 8-hour day.

For example, that could mean working the first week with nine-hour work days from Monday through Thursday and an eight-hour day that Friday. In the second week, then, Monday through Thursday would again be nine-hour workdays. The second Friday, however, would be a day off. The 80 hour requirement would have been met on Thursday.

There are, of course, a variety of options and possible breakdowns. But that's one of the most common versions of the 9/80 work schedule.

Example of a 9/80 work schedule

Week 1

  • Monday: 9 hours

  • Tuesday: 9 hours

  • Wednesday: 9 hours

  • Thursday: 9 hours

  • Friday: 8 hours

            44 hours worked

Week 2

  • Monday: 9 hours

  • Tuesday: 9 hours

  • Wednesday: 9 hours

  • Thursday: 9 hours

  • Friday: Day off

            36 hours worked

Why is the 9/80 work week becoming popular?

The pandemic lockdowns forced many companies to rethink how they went about conducting business and managing their employees. The surprisingly positive experiences with remote work have led to an explosion in the popularity of alternative employment models in the post-pandemic labor market.

Even as companies strive to return to normal operating structures, employees have discovered both a keen desire for flexibility in their work schedules and new-found confidence in demanding that flexibility when looking for new jobs.

According to an Ernst & Young survey, 54% of employees would consider quitting their jobs if their employers did not afford some flexibility. For many employees, a better work-life balance has simply become a much higher priority than in years past. 

The pandemic also brought many of the downsides of the standard 5-day/40-hour workweek to light: an unhealthy work-life balance, the potential for burnout, and limited productivity. 

As companies are becoming more open to alternative approaches to work schedules, the 9/80 schedule is becoming one of the most popular. It has already shown the potential to improve motivation, boost productivity levels, and bolster employee engagement.

Are there advantages to a 9/80 work schedule?

The best work schedules strike a balance between accomplishing goals and allowing employees the most amount of time away from work. Moving away from the “work for work's sake” process to a more flexible and achievement-oriented process has been shown to dramatically increase employee satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement. That, in turn, maximizes customer satisfaction. 

There are a number of advantages to the 9/80 schedule. Let's explore a few of them.


Have you ever wished you could have a weekday off to get some errands done or schedule medical appointments? Or, if you're a parent, have you wished for some time to attend school activities that happen during the week or simply spend more time with your kid? A 9/80 work schedule creates flexibility that can include days off during the week for the employee without losing their overall hours.

But within the system, there is also flexibility for the employer too. When employees ask for personal time off, employers are generally concerned with the potential loss in productivity. A 9/80 schedule, however, offers solutions for this concern.

For example, let's say your employer cannot give everyone an extra day off and, basically, shut down operations for a day. Instead, they could split the schedule, with half the team off on Friday and the other half off on Monday. That way, everyone gets a three-day weekend, but the business stays open all week.

Increased productivity

Arranging work hours in the 9/80 split can dramatically bolster morale, motivation, and engagement, which, in turn, means more productivity.  With that extra day away from the office every two weeks, employees have more time to focus on themselves. When they do return, they're usually more regenerated and prepared to work.

Some workers come to view the additional day off as an earned reward, encouraging them to push harder through the week to reach it. Also, employees with that extra time away might need to use fewer sick days and less PTO.

A healthier work-life balance and more flexibility give employees a feeling of control over their own schedules, leading to better morale at work. In other words, flexibility means more productivity. 

Easier commutes

Commuting can be incredibly annoying. With an additional day off, employees spend less overall time commuting. Over the course of a year, that saved time could translate to real savings in time, fuel, and money. 

Additionally, having a longer workday - meaning the employee is coming in an hour earlier or staying an hour later - shifts the commute to times when there is less traffic, making the commutes potentially easier and faster. Who wouldn't want that? Reduced commute times also mean better-rested employees, especially if you can reduce the physical toll of commuting. 

Work-life balance

Incidents of employees complaining about burnout have seen a dramatic rise. A 2022 study by Gallup showed that 43% of workers feel burned out at work. New data shows mentions of burnout are up more than 40% this year compared with 2019. Greater flexibility and time away from work help to mitigate the risk of burnout. 

All of those free Fridays add up to 26 three-day weekends a year for employees. That's time they can spend on

  • Family activities

  • Personal passions

  • Downtime to rest the mind

  • Short trips 

  • Taking care of chores and appointments

What are the disadvantages of a 9/80 work schedule?

Despite their advantages, 9/80 schedules may not work for all companies or employees. Some employers have unique scheduling situations that make it difficult to implement this system. For some employees, the extended hours or alternative structure just don't work for them.

Longer workdays

Everyone is different, obviously. For some, a 9-hour workday isn't an issue. Having that extra day off is worth the shorter evenings. But for others, that extra hour can take a real physical toll. Longer days can mean dips in energy levels late in the day that can lead to lethargic, unproductive final hours or even exhaustion. Working later means getting home later, so you have less time to enjoy your evening. Also, if you work in an area with shorter winter days, you'll end up driving to and from work in the dark for extended periods. 

Fixed schedule

Though it's an alternative to a regular 9-to-5, a 9/80 work schedule is still fixed and cannot be modified under any circumstances. Employees generally decide on their scheduled off day long in advance and often can't get extra time off for unforeseen situations. It also doesn't offer the same flexibility as other non-traditional schedules.

Not suitable for everyone

This work schedule does have advantages for a lot of employees, but it doesn't necessarily work for everyone. With a 9-hour workday, single parents might have to spend more on childcare and folks who work two jobs might find it simply too tiring.

How do you start a 9/80 work schedule?

Adopting a 9/80 work schedule is an ambitious undertaking for companies and employees alike. It can involve a difficult transition period and can demand some intense adjustments in employees' daily lives. 

But if you're looking for interesting ways to boost productivity and improve work-life balance, and you're open to exploring alternative schedules, the 9/80 work schedule could be the solution for you.

If you're looking for a role with more flexible working, the first thing you need to do is get your resume in shape. Why not send yours for a free resume review from the experts at TopResume and get your job search off on the right foot?

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