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Alternative Work Schedules

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Change Your Schedule and Make a Big Difference

Flexible work hours and compressed workweeks offer employees the ability to vary their work schedule by working fewer days or shifting the time they work. Typically, a compressed workweek is four days of 10-hour shifts, three days of 12-hour shifts or nine-hour shifts with one day off on alternating weeks. Flexible work hours consist of standard eight-hour days with shifted start and end times. For example, someone working flexible work hours might arrive at the office at seven and leave at four, as opposed to working a standard eight-to-five day.


Alternative work schedules let employees arrange their schedules to fit their lifestyles. Research shows that employees who have control over their schedules are more motivated and committed, which reduces turnover costs and the risk of employee burnout. By commuting during less congested times of the day, employees reduce commute-related stress and are able to better align their schedule with transit times. At the same time, employers are able to reduce energy and operating costs and increase employee satisfaction and productivity. Alternative work schedules also help everyone by reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality.

Getting Started

As an Employer
You can start an alternative work schedule by first surveying employees to determine their level of interest. You may also want to review your business operations to determine if a program is possible and which positions could benefit from it. When beginning a program, establish policies regarding work hours and set clear expectations for your employees.

As an Employee
Check with your company's human resources department to determine if they offer a compressed workweek or flexible work hour option. You should also discuss with your supervisor which schedule works best for your department's work load, as well as you personally. If there currently is no policy regarding alternative work schedules, ask your human resources department to survey the other employees and determine the level of interest in compressed workweek arrangements.