POSTED: May 24 2022
Pro’s & con’s of compressed hours

Compressed full-time hours: The pro’s and con’s

It is becoming increasingly common for businesses to offer compressed full-time hours and can be a great way to get the best talent through the door and being able to offer a more flexible work pattern is definitely a perk that may persuade employees to stay at a company.

Further, an employee is entitled to request flexible working practices and indeed an employee may request a compressed working week and any business can only refuse if there are clear, sound and robust business reasons to do so.


A compressed work week allows employees to work full-time hours (40 hours per week) over fewer days.

The main idea of the compressed work week is for employees to have another day / half day off.


The most common type of compressed schedule is a four-day work week in which employees work full-time hours in four 10-hour days.

Another popular model of the compressed work week is the 5-4-9 work schedule, which is based on the two-week working period. An employee works 9 hours per day, but then in the second week takes the Friday off. Basically, in two work weeks an employee works 9 days for 9 hours.

Other options might include working an hour extra Monday to Thursday in order to finish early on Fridays.




  • An additional day off affords employees a better work/life balance
  • The employee keeps full pay and benefits
  • Reduced commuting time and commuting costs
  • Potential reduction in childcare costs
  • Opportunity to attend appointments and home errands
  • Opportunity to pursue professional development as there is more time to study.
  • There may be fewer interruptions and higher productivity in non-regular office hours


  • Longer hours / costs for childcare
  • Childcare pick up
  • Less time at home in the evening for family activities


  • Attraction and retention of employees
  • Potential increased staff morale
  • Extended hours of workplace operation and service offer, i.e. 8am – 6.00pm
  • Fewer absences. Because they have more flexibility, employees are less likely to take time off from work to run errands, attend medical appointments or resolve personal matters.
  • There may be fewer interruptions and higher productivity in non-regular office hours


  • Less supervision in some time periods
  • May create difficulties in scheduling meetings and events
  • A longer schedule may cause lower productivity at the end of the day
  • May cause understaffing in some time periods, i.e. annual leave
  • Health and Safety considerations e.g. Lone working
  • IT Support would have to be extended
  • Costs of office running, electricity, power etc.


Is a compressed work week the right arrangement for each specific employee and each specific position?

  • Would this be optional?  A choice in the implementation of this may avoid resentment amongst the team.
  • A set working pattern for each person to achieve consistency and internal communication efficiencies
  • How are people’s day of work selected? Will everyone want a Friday? This could be the biggest challenge.
  • Will there be any problems resulting from fewer interactions among employees?
  • How do you track that an employee is working from 8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Consideration to be given tracking employee productivity at the start of the arrangement to make sure there is no decrease.
  • Is the work load on the extended-hour days still healthy?
  • How would you ensure that fatigue doesn’t set in – regularity of breaks to be considered?
  • Breaks between days, i.e. 11 hours between working and Working Time Regulations
  • How would client queries be responded to?
  • How would the shuffling and sharing of responsibilities be managed?
  • Can and would employees cover each other’s work on ‘off’ days?
  • Holidays – how would cover be managed?
  • Holidays would be the same in terms of weeks, i.e. 5.6 weeks and pay but days would be reduced
  • Holiday systems would have to be managed carefully and amended accordingly. This would of have to be managed if there was a variable arrangement for these compressed hours.
  • Would this change have a positive impact on the team?
  • If considered, there should be a trial period and if there is an eventual permanent change, this would be a change in terms and conditions – consultation would be required.


  • Is there any traction in offering a four-day week at the same pay – a 20% pay rise but would that result in 20% more productivity?
  • A poll of 1,196 employers and employees in October and November 2021, conducted by the CIPD as part of its An update on flexible and hybrid working practices report, found that two in five (41 per cent) said new ways of working had increased productivity, up from (33 per cent) a year earlier.