What is a compressed workweek?

A compressed workweek schedule compresses the traditional 9-to-5 workweek, such that employees work for longer hours and get an additional day off on a weekday. 

There are different types of work schedules that companies have experimented with. In fact, some of them offer an extra day off without increasing the work hours for the rest of the week. 

6 pros and cons to weigh in before implementing a compressed workweek:

Every coin has two sides. 

The same applies to a compressed workweek as well. From higher productivity to fewer absences, there are several tangible positive changes that organizations have seen in implementing a compressed work week policy. 

That said, not all employees are comfortable with a compressed workweek schedule since it can also delve into their personal time. Further, scheduling meetings with clients who follow a traditional 9-to-5 schedule becomes challenging. To help you with your decision, here are some pros and cons to consider before implementing a compressed workweek schedule:

Advantages of implementing a compressed workweek schedule:

Pro 1: Higher Productivity

A compressed workweek would seem favorable on days when employees feel demotivated. Employees would seek a break from the monotony, and an additional day off in a week would seem like a blessing. It would give them time to recuperate from the stress at work. As a result, for the rest of the days, they would be driven to perform their best, thereby improving productivity in the workplace. 

Pro 2: Performance and Morale Soar

Morale is higher for those who work a four-day week instead of five. Three days off means at least one weekday off, so people with that extra day get to start and finish tasks outside their work-life they normally would have to juggle. An extra day also means an extended weekend, which can lead to more out-of-town trips that don’t require someone to cut into their allotted vacation time. 

Pro 3: Faster Timelines

With a compressed workweek schedule, projects are completed a lot faster since employees are more productive, paving the way for newer, strategic tasks. As a result, companies can get more work completed, and focus on innovation, thereby increasing the overall productivity and profit of the company. Plus, employees are happier and more engaged with a compressed timeline.

Pro 4: Increase in Questions and Collaboration

Reducing the work week means your staff has to achieve the same quality of work in a shorter amount of time. This could increase stress in the workplace, which is why it is essential to leave all channels of communication as open as possible, so employees can ask the questions they need to ask. Creating a culture that truly supports the phrase "there are no stupid questions" is one of the best ways to foster collaboration and communication in the workplace. More questions mean more conversation, which means collaboration!

Pro 5: Competitive Hiring Advantage

The compressed workweek policy allows organizations to attract and retain the best talent by offering them a competitive advantage. Since employees have more time outside of regular working hours, they can pursue their personal interests or engage in other activities that interest them. This helps foster a sense of engagement among employees and gives them an edge over others when competing for new positions at other organizations. 

Pro 6: Fewer Absences

Usually, employees need to cut their workday short or take a full day off to attend to personal errands that can only be done during business hours. Having a weekday on top of the usual weekend day-offs removes that need, ensuring they'll get their paychecks in full and reducing gaps in our production. With a three-day day off, employees are given a better balance between work and personal life. Further, the compressed workweek requiring longer workdays also saves employees from dwelling in the biggest demotivator to report for work -- traffic rush hours.

Disadvantages of using a compressed workweek schedule

Con 1: Exhaustion due to longer work hours

While a compressed workweek gives an additional day off, employees must work longer hours for the rest of the week. This would be detrimental to the employees’ physical and mental well-being, with very little personal time. This can also affect their productivity in the longer run. 

Con 2: No time for personal errands

With longer working hours, all those after-work daily commitments like hitting the gym, picking up kids from school, shopping, etc, would become difficult to accomplish. An extra day off will not be sufficient to manage them, and employees may have to look for alternate arrangements in such cases.

Con 3: Incompatible meeting schedules

This could be problematic, particularly when you have employees working in different shift timings. Clients and partners who work in the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule may not be able to schedule meetings at their convenience. 

Con 4: Understaffing could be a problem

For employees working in customer-facing roles where they are expected to be on call 24x7. In such cases, an extra day off in a week would become expensive for the company. In such cases, companies may have to design a separate schedule to cover all the time zones and ensure availability at all times. 

Con 5: Unauthorized overtime work

Depending on the region your organization is located, the law may mandate a different pay schedule. You may be expected to pay overtime charges if they are working for longer hours. Companies need to ensure that they are compliant with local laws or, this could prove to be costly for the organization in the long run.

Con 6: Increased childcare costs

Longer working hours would be inconvenient for parents since this would mean they would need to make arrangements to make childcare arrangements in their absence on a daily basis. This would be expensive for the employees and may lead to employee attrition.