Alternate Work Hours

Not everyone works a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 workweek. Many companies offer full-time work hours outside what used to be considered typical “business hours” without compromising customer service or productivity.

Two common full-time options are the "9/80" and the "4/40" systems. Alternative work hours allow employees flexibility during the week to schedule appointments and errands that are difficult to do in the standard 40-hour workweek. Studies have shown that sick leave and employee turnover rates decline where alternative work hours are allowed.

Alternative work hours also contribute to improved air quality and reduced congestion by taking a vehicle off the road once a week or every other week. Here's how the two options work:

9/80 Work Week
The employee works for nine hours for the first four days, then works eight hours on the fifth day of week one, then works nine hours per day for the first four days of week two, and takes the fifth day off.

4/40 Work Week
The employee works 10-hour days four days per week. The fifth day is a day off, making every weekend a three-day weekend. (Note: not all jobs can be performed safely and productively for ten hours a day.)

Under both of these type of schedules, the employee is coming to the office fewer days, reducing the number of days they are commuting and taking cars off the roads.

Employer Considerations

Employers need to evaluate the impact of alternative work hours at each work site to make sure that the work group productivity and customer service do not suffer as a result of these schedules. Often, managers can schedule staff meetings for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and avoid days with fewer staff (usually Mondays and Fridays).

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that some workers who put in more than 40 hours in a workweek be paid overtime. In order to accommodate the spirit of this act, some adjustment of the official pay period beginning and ending times may have to be made (e.g. start timekeeping for the workweek at noon on Friday).

Flexible Work Hours

Some employers can offer the opportunity to flex their staff’s work hours, so they are not commuting during high volume traffic times. 

For example, if you staff can work 10 AM to 7 PM (with an hour lunch), they are commuting during lower volume traffic times. By avoiding rush hours, employees can make the commute much quicker and avoid idling in traffic, which is a leading contributor to pollution from vehicle emissions.

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