Compressed Workweek

A compressed workweek allows employees to maintain full-time hours with a schedule that is less than five full days per week.

For example, a full-time employee may work four 10-hour days in a week. Another type of compressed workweek is sometimes instituted during the summer months: an employee may work longer hours Monday through Thursday and shorter hours on Friday.

Potential Benefits of a Compressed Workweek

  • Allows the employee to maintain full pay and benefits unless number of hours worked each week decreases, and enables the department to receive full-time productivity.
  • May reduce the employee’s child care or elder care costs.
  • Provides employee with larger blocks of time off.
  • May reduce commuting time and costs.
  • Provides a low-cost benefit to the employee.
  • May enhance productivity due to fewer interruptions during non-traditional office hours.
  • May promote the sharing of facilities or equipment, such as an office, computer, or phone.
  • May increase total staff hours on especially busy days.

Potential Challenges of a Compressed Workweek

  • Employee may not be as productive on a longer-day schedule.
  • Employee may not receive supervision at all hours.
  • Arrangement may cause understaffing at times.
  • Key people may be unavailable at certain times, requiring cross-training to ensure coverage.
  • It may complicate scheduling meetings and coordinating projects.
  • For exempt staff, it may be difficult to define a full workload.
  • For non-exempt staff, attention should be paid to number of hours worked to avoid incurring overtime.

Proposals

An employee's proposal for a compressed workweek should address:

  • How department coverage will be maintained.
  • How schedules will be coordinated.
  • How effective channels of communication will be established.
  • Job expectations during times when the manager/supervisor is absent.
  • Equity for exempt staff, such as justifying a part-week schedule as full-time, particularly if 9-hour or 10-hour workdays are common among 5-day-a-week staff.

Learn more about developing a proposal.

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