An Organisational Guide to Compressed Hours

Compressed hours has fast become an incredibly popular topic in the UK. Given the surge of the “Great Resignation” and quiet quitting, organisations have struggled to keep their employees and keep them engaged. 

That in mind, compressed hours might just be the solution. Let’s go over what compressed hours mean and how to implement them effectively…

Here's how to track and approve working hours from within Personio's HR software.

What Are Compressed Hours?

Compressed hours is a type of flexible work arrangement. It is where employees compress their 40-hour workweek from the more traditional five days to fewer days. A compressed working schedule most commonly involves working four days of the week. 

There are multiple ways to approach compressed hours: 

  • Employees can decide to work two extra hours from Monday to Thursday and then take off every Friday. This is popularly called the 4/10 (working four days for 10 hours) working schedule

  • Employees can decide to work for 30-60 minutes additionally for four days and then take off half of the fifth day. Most employees prefer to do this Monday-Thursday and then take a half day on Friday.

Are Compressed Hours Useful?

To best answer this question, we need to look at it from two different perspectives: the employee’s side and the employer’s side… 

1. Employer Side

From the employer’s side, compressed hours can be really useful when implemented in the correct way. Compressed hours can really help out employers retain their employees and provide better well-being to their employees. 

When employees are taken care of, they can be more productive and effective, take fewer sick days and stay with the company for a longer period of time. 

All of these are major positives for the employer. 

When implemented poorly, though, compressed hours can be quite problematic. An essential employee who is involved in almost every single project in the company taking a day off every week might create a bottleneck. 

Also, there are some roles like customer service which require people to be available to take in calls, so employers need to be careful when implementing compressed hours. 

The last thing to note is time tracking. Employers will have to track an employees’ working hours efficiently if they want the compressed hours working schedule to succeed. 

2. Employee Side

Looking at the employee’s side, compressed hours can have multiple benefits like an additional weekend day (Friday off), more free time and the possibility to start a side-hustle or additional education. 

However, there are also some problems that employees might face when performing in a compressed hours work schedule: 

  • Handling a 10-hour day can be quite problematic for many employees. They may need to figure out how to effectively use their energy for such a long working day. 

  • Doing more work in less days requires the employees to figure out how to be more productive and do everything that needs to be done so that projects don’t come to a standstill when they’re not there.

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What Is a Compressed Work Schedule?

A compressed work schedule is a way for the employee to perform their 40 hours of work in a flexible way so that they can enjoy certain benefits. One way of implementing the compressed work schedule can also be rolling out a 9-day fortnight

How Do You Calculate Compressed Hours?

Compressed hours work schedule still requires employees to do 40 hours of work per week. It’s just that they’re determining how many hours they’ll do per day (as we saw in the above examples). 

With compressed hours, you need to take care of holiday leave. An employee who is working on compressed hours calculates their annual leave in hours instead of days. 

Take into account that when your employees working days fall on bank holidays, they don’t deduct one day from their annual leave, but the number of hours they would have done on that day. 

For example, if the bank holiday falls on a Monday and the employee on compressed hours works 10 hours on Mondays, then the employee gets 10 hours deducted instead of one regular (eight-hour) day.

Should Your Organisation Employ Compressed Hours Contracts?

Compressed hours provide a lot of flexibility for employees and employers get more productive employees who are less burned out. So compressed hours contracts provide a lot of benefits for both employees and employers, but they need to be implemented correctly if all stakeholders want to benefit from them. 

Are Compressed Hours the Future of Work?

Compressed hours may be the future of work. But, it will truly depend on how well companies can organise themselves to track all the necessary elements to make it work. One of the biggest concerns is the ability to track time effectively. 

Most companies struggle with this when implementing compressed hours, but if you start using Personio’s Attendance Tracking Software, you can accurately track time in a legally-compliant way. 

With this system, you can pave the way for an effective compressed-hours working strategy. Speak to an expert today to help put your plan into action. 

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