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Compressed Workweek: Is it the Flexible Work Arrangement for You?

Weighing the pros and cons

by Pat Katepoo  |  7792 views  |  0 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Compressed workweek may be the flexible work arrangement to choose as part of your work-life balance management strategy. But you should definitely carefully consider the personal pros and cons before deciding on this work option.

A compressed workweek has you working 40 hours in fewer than five days. The most widely used schedule is 10 hour days for four days a week.

Another arrangement is called 5-4/9. This is a week of five nine-hour days followed by a week of four nine-hour days, and would give you a day off every other week.

Here are some of the pros:

  • Most employees appreciate having a full day off regularly, while still preserving full-time income.
  • The commute to work may be outside the usual rush hour traffic times because of the extended work day, and thus less stressful.

However, here are some challenges and cons to consider:

  • An ongoing schedule of ten-hour or nine-hour days, while it may be the norm for some professionals already, can be physically and mentally draining.

  • Not only is the workweek squeezed into a shorter time frame, but all the after-work activities must also be wedged into the remaining hours of each work day.
  • Chronic fatigue caused by current work/family conflict time pressures may or may not be off-set by the regular day off.
  • Child or elder care coverage to match your compressed work schedule may also be a challenge.

If the downside issues are not a concern in your personal circumstances, this flexible arrangement could work out well for you, with the regular day off paying personal dividends. Otherwise, proposing a four-day workweek of eight-hour days (32 hours) may be a more practical flexible schedule choice.

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