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Alternative Work Schedules

Alternatives to the typical work week encompass three different work schedule variations: flextime, compressed work weeks, and staggered work hours. Each of these represents a different kind of adjustment to the traditional 9-to-5, 8-hours-a-day schedule.


Flextime allows employees the option of changing their starting and ending times for each workday. Most flextime programs include a core period during the workday in which all employees are required to be present. During this time, meetings and other activities which require company or department-wide coordination are scheduled.

Compressed Work Week

A compressed work week schedule permits employees the option of finishing their usual number of working hours in fewer days per week or fewer days per pay period. Some consideration must be given for coverage during the day off of those individuals who are on a compressed work week. In order to coordinate operations within a department, everyone may not be able to take a day off at the same time, though it is possible for an employer to completely close on a selected day. Two schedule configurations are common:

  • Four/Forty (4/40) Schedule: Under this plan, employees work the usual 40 hours in four ten-hour days. The fifth day is a day off.

  • Nine/Eighty (9/80) Schedule: This option allows employees to work their usual number of hours in a two-week pay period in nine days. The tenth day is a day off.

Staggered Work Hours

Staggered work hour programs adjust employees' starting and ending times by 15-minute to two-hour ranges. The main purpose behind this program is to shift some people out of the peak commuting period in order to relieve traffic congestion. Below are the more common staggered work hour plans.

  • Departmental: Under this plan, departments are assigned different starting times by management.

  • Individual: Under this option, employers assign individual employees staggered starting times. Employees do not have a choice among starting times; employers set their assignments. Employees within departments or work units may be assigned different starting times.

Benefits of the program

Due to alternative work schedules, many organizations report less absenteeism, fewer late employees, and less use of sick leave. With the use of flextime or staggered work hours, congestion during peak travel times is reduced and valuable time typically spent by employees commuting is lessened.

For those offering compressed work week, employees eliminate an entire day of commuting which can then be spent running errands and doing all the chores that normally take an employee out of work. This benefit is well received by employees and is a great way to cut down on absenteeism and increase morale. For organizations with operations across the country or around the world, alternative work schedules help increase coverage and extend communications company-wide.

As with all benefits, participation is reliant on communication. When implementing this benefit, send out email notifications and reminders, display posters across the office or in high-traffic areas and provide information on the company’s intranet site. goDCgo Employer Services consultants can help you design all marketing pieces to distribute to employees as well as set-up workshops to help educate employees on the new policy. We will work with you throughout the whole process from researching different policy models and deciding which program is best for you to implementation and promotions.