In the earlier days of companies experimenting with flexible work, it was quite common for even conservative employers to offer one or more forms of compressed schedules. Employees liked them because it gave them a day or so a week off, like a modest part-time schedule, without a decrease in pay. Employers appreciated that they did not challenge the full-time model. Unlike remote work, they could be used by hourly employees and not just the exempt white-collar workforce.
At least three common forms of compressed schedules were widely used: the so-called 4/10 (4 10-hour days), the 9/80 (9 slightly longer days in a two-week period) and “summer hours” (4 slightly longer days with a half-day off Friday, usually offered in the summer. Offering all of them created some form of widely used flexibility for most of the workforce.
It is not clear why their popularity faded. It is possible that perceived administrative complexity took its toll or that a widely emerging mantra led to their demise. A common critique of remote work that did damage for years was the disrespectful question: ”How will I know they’re working if I can’t see them?” A far too frequent rejoinder regarding compressed schedules was the biting comment “Why would I pay them for four 10-hour days when if managed properly, I can get 5 10-hour days now”?
As companies gauge the preferences of employees in the turbulence surrounding the post-COVID, and recognize that remote work for white collars and little flexibility for everyone else, the various forms of compressed schedules may prove a valuable offering.
ROD has three decades of experience working with clients to customize flexibility initiatives that meet the essential talent goals in the short and long term. Whether you are interested in perfecting your suite of flexible staffing and scheduling options or reinventing your integrated system, we can partner with you to achieve superior results.