Compressed Workweek: What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages?

A compressed work schedule allows an employee to work a traditional 35-40 hour workweek in less than five workdays. For example, a full-time employee could work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.
Benefits Disadvantages
An extra day off each week, with no reduction in pay. Powering through longer workdays may not be as easy as you anticipate.

You work four days a week and have a three-day weekend during a compressed workweek. Some businesses still demand that employees put in 40 hours per week. In that case, employees work 10-hour days for four days. Other businesses permit staff to work fewer hours—32 per week—so they put in their standard eight-hour shifts over four days.

I was eager to see what this new schedule would be like when I chose to test the compressed workweek for two weeks. I should point out that I was instructed to work from home halfway through the first week of my experiment due to ongoing pandemic concerns, but I continued to work 10 hours per day, four days per week, from home.

Compressed Work Week

What are the advantages of a compressed workweek?

Consider the following advantages if you’re debating whether or not to try a compressed workweek for your own schedule:

More days off

You will have more days off per week if you work longer hours in a single day. You may be able to take a class, keep up an exercise regimen, or spend more time with family and friends if you have more days off.

Less commuting time and expense

When you work fewer days a week, you also spend less time traveling to and from work, which can reduce stress, expenses for gas and parking, and wear and tear on your vehicle. You’ll also be contributing less pollution to the environment.

More time for personal errands

An additional day off during the week can help you save time on simple errands. Weekday lines at the grocery store are typically much shorter than weekend lines. The same is true for retail stores, drugstores, and post offices. Additionally, running errands during the week will free up your weekend to engage in more leisurely activities.

Higher job satisfaction

A shorter workweek that permits you to spend more time with your loved ones, friends, and hobbies can increase your job satisfaction while you are at work. Having the option to select a flexible work schedule can be the key to achieving a healthy work-life balance, which is essential for feeling motivated.

What is a compressed workweek?

A compressed workweek is a schedule that enables employees to complete five days’ worth of full-time work in less time. A typical compressed workweek is a four-day workweek with ten hours per day of work. Working four days one week and five days the following week are additional options.

Various compressed workweek schedules are available, depending on your industry and employer. Sometimes, independent contractors have the freedom to design their own compressed workweek. Additionally, some companies offer unconventional work schedules that give employees up to two weeks off after nine consecutive days of work.

What are the disadvantages of a compressed workweek?

Although a compressed workweek has many benefits, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of. Here are some common drawbacks to a compressed workweek:

More hours in a workday

More hours per day could potentially tire you out. Longer workdays may decrease your productivity or cause physical and mental exhaustion.

Less childcare availability

Your workday will likely start earlier and/or end later than it would on a typical day, and some childcare centers, daycare centers, and schools might close before your workday is over. Knowing when and how you can drop off or pick up your kids at school or daycare is crucial if you have children. While some daycare centers and schools might offer extended hours, it’s crucial to make arrangements before starting a compressed workweek.

Less time after work for personal errands

Working longer hours means you won’t have as much time for after-work activities like going out to dinner with friends, watching a movie, hanging out with your kids, or running errands. Determine whether taking one extra day off each week will make up for the four days you work late by allowing you to arrive home earlier.

How to decide if a compressed workweek is right for you

Here are a few ways to assess whether switching to a compressed workweek is the best option for you:

1. Make a list of your needs

Make a list of the things you require from your work schedule before deciding whether a compressed workweek is appropriate for you. This could be a list of things that are unavoidable, like extra time after work for errands or an extra day for personal appointments. You can better understand how a compressed workweek will impact your daily life by making a list.

2. Consider the pros and cons

Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of working a compressed schedule. Consider the drawbacks (such as longer workdays) you are willing to endure in order to experience the advantages of a compressed workweek, for instance.

3. Ask for feedback

Talk to your family and team members at work. Inform them that you are thinking about switching to a compressed workweek and request feedback to help you understand how it might affect them.

For instance, after speaking with your family, you might discover that a shortened workweek would make it harder to complete personal errands or could possibly interfere with your home schedule. You will need to decide in this situation based on this feedback.

4. Discuss a schedule change with supervisors

Workplaces are increasingly accommodating of employees’ switch to compressed schedules. Bring up the possibility of working a shorter workweek with your manager or employer if you are motivated and eager to do so. Ask for a schedule change and go over the benefits and drawbacks you’ve considered.

5. Consider jobs that allow for a compressed workweek

If you want to work a shorter workweek, look for jobs with companies that allow their employees to work unconventional hours. For a flexible work environment, you might even think about working as a freelancer or independent contractor. There are many jobs that are suited to flexible work weeks as a result of the expansion of remote work.

Tips for working a compressed workweek

It helps to have some strategies in mind to ease the transition when switching to a compressed workweek. Utilize the advice below to help you remain inspired and effective in your new schedule:

Plan your weekly tasks

Make a list of all the tasks you must complete during the days you work each week. Planning each day in advance can assist you in maintaining your focus and motivation throughout your longer workday.

Use time management techniques

Staying organized and on track with your projects requires the use of time management and prioritization strategies that can help you keep track of and organize your work tasks. Timers are also excellent for scheduling your breaks between tasks, which will help you remain focused and motivated throughout the day.

Ask for support when you need it

Reach out to your manager or team leader for assistance if you ever feel overburdened by attempting to fit projects and tasks into your workweek. When you’re feeling stressed, it can sometimes be enough to just stop doing things that are pointless or important in order to devote more time and resources to tasks that are more crucial.

Coordinate with family and friends

Plan your travel and lodging accordingly for the days you know you’ll be working longer hours. Ensure that your family is aware of and has access to your work schedule.


What are the benefits of a compressed workweek?

What are the advantages of a compressed workweek?
  • More days off. …
  • Less commuting time and expense. …
  • More time for personal errands. …
  • Higher job satisfaction. …
  • More hours in a workday. …
  • Less childcare availability. …
  • Less time after work for personal errands. …
  • Make a list of your needs.

Which one of the following is an example of a compressed workweek?

Advantages and disadvantages of a compressed work week
  • An additional day off affords employees a better work/life balance.
  • The employee keeps full pay and benefits.
  • Reduced commuting time and costs.
  • Fewer interruptions and higher productivity in non-regular office hours.

What is a 5 4 9 compressed work schedule?

Here are some examples of compressed workweeks that aren’t the standard 40 hours: Four 10-hour days to get an extra day off every week Eight nine-hour days, giving an extra day every other week. Three 12-hour days, providing a four-day weekend.

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