9-Day Fortnight - A Comprehensive Guide
Explore the 9-day fortnight work schedule in our comprehensive guide. Learn its benefits, implementation strategies, and impact on work-life balance.
7 min read
10 Jan, 2024
In an era where work-life balance is increasingly valued, the concept of the 9-day fortnight has gained popularity. Approximately 28% of employers are either currently utilizing or considering the adoption of a nine-day fortnight work arrangement.
This alternative compressed work schedule allows employees to have every second Friday off, allowing for extended weekends and increased personal time.
In this guide, we'll show you how to make an informed decision by explaining the benefits and strategies of implementing it at your workplace.
What is 9-Day Fortnight?
A "9-Day Fortnight" is a compressed work schedule arrangement where employees work nine days over a two-week (fortnight) period instead of the usual ten days. This typically involves working extended hours on the nine working days to compensate for the core office hours that would have been performed on the tenth day.
For example, if a standard workweek is 40 hours over five days (8 hours per day), in a 9-Day Fortnight arrangement, an employee might work 8.89 hours per day for nine days, totaling 80 hours over the two weeks.
This allows for one additional day off every two weeks, providing employees with a three-day weekend or an extra day off at some point in the fortnight.
Working Pattern Examples
To better understand the concept, let's look at an example of how the 9-day fortnight working pattern can be implemented.
Here are a few examples of how this can be structured:
- Extended Work Hours: Employees work longer hours over nine days to earn an extra day off. This could mean extending daily work hours by 45 minutes to an hour.
- Flexible Scheduling: This pattern is adaptable to fit the organization's and the employee's needs. Options include varying the start and end times, like beginning work at 8 am and finishing at 5 pm or starting at 9 am and ending at 6 pm. Another approach is having a standard first week, such as working 8 hours per day, followed by a more extended second week, like 10 hours per day.
How do you calculate a 9-Day Fortnight?
Calculating a 9-Day Fortnight is relatively straightforward. Here's how you can do it:
- Determine the total full-time work hours for a standard two-week period (e.g., 80 hours for a 40-hour week).
- Divide the total hours by nine days (e.g., 80 / 9 days ≈ , 8.89 hours per day).
- Plan the work schedule over nine days within the fortnight, ensuring each day meets the calculated daily hours.
- Choose a day for the extra day off (e.g., every second Friday).
- Modify daily hours slightly to fit specific workplace requirements or agreements.
This calculation ensures the same total working hours are maintained while providing an extra day off every two weeks.
Benefits of the 9-Day Fortnight
As discussed earlier, the 9-Day Fortnight is an innovative work arrangement that benefits employees and employers, contributing to a more sustainable and productive work environment. Let's explore these benefits in detail:
- Better work-life balance: The 9-day fortnight scheme reduces stress and improves employee job satisfaction. It offers flexibility, which is particularly appealing to those with young families. A survey found that 80% of workers would be more loyal to flexible work options.
- Enhance Mental and Physical Health: A more extended break between workweeks improves well-being, reduces burnout, and increases motivation. It allows individuals to attend medical appointments and personal errands, resulting in less stress and better overall health.
- Reduce Commuting Time: The scheme cuts commuting by one day every fortnight, saving time and lowering expenses. This is significant, as the average American's one-way commute is about 27.6 minutes.
- Increase Productivity and Focus: A compressed workweek allows employees to work more efficiently with heightened concentration, leading to better output and job satisfaction. A study by the University of Oxford found that workers are 13% more productive when happy and well-rested.
- Attract & Retain Talent: Implementing this schedule enhances a company's appeal in a competitive job market and helps retain current employees with its flexible work arrangement. As per the survey, nearly 68% of professionals would consider switching to a different company that offers a 9-day fortnight schedule.
- Reduce Absenteeism: Providing an additional day off biweekly helps lower work-related stress, reducing employee absenteeism and the risk of burnout.
- Potential Cost Savings: A nine-day fortnight schedule can reduce recruitment and training expenses due to optimized office utilities and reduced turnover rates.
- Reduce Carbon Footprint: Having one less operation day every two weeks reduces energy consumption and the need for employee commuting. This effectively lowers the organization's ecological footprint and enhances its public image as an eco-friendly company.
- Enhanced Employee Engagement: A flexible work schedule demonstrates an employer's commitment to their staff's well-being, significantly boosting employee engagement, productivity, and loyalty. This approach fosters a positive work culture where employees feel valued and motivated.
9-Day Fortnight Implementation Strategies
If you are considering a 9-day fortnight (a compressed work week) in your workplace, here are some strategies to ensure a successful transition:
Would you like a 4 day work week?
1. Annual Leave Consideration
For employees under the 9-day fortnight scheme, all leave should be recorded as usual in their annual leave documentation. The amount of leave deducted should correspond to the typical hours they would work on that specific day, in line with the established working pattern of the 9-day fortnight.
Suppose an employee working a 9-day Fortnight typically works 8.89 hours per day. If they take a day off, the leave should be recorded as 8.89 hours, reflecting their usual working hours, in line with the agreed work pattern under the 9-Day Fortnight scheme.
2. Sick Leave Policies
Some companies have policies that allow for one sick day per ten-day cycle without consequences, but others may not. Sick days taken on non-working days do not count as absences. Companies need to establish fair guidelines and policies for ill leave requests.
3. Trial Basis Implementation
Implement the 9-day fortnight on a trial basis to allow employees and management to experience the new schedule and make adjustments as necessary.
During the trial, evaluate its effectiveness, address emerging issues, and continuously monitor performance and productivity. Remember that employees may need time to adjust and adapt to the new schedule.
4. Legal Restrictions
While many employees enjoy the option of working longer hours and fewer days, it's critical to ensure that they are staying energized.
Ensuring compliance with the legal restrictions on how many hours is crucial when establishing compressed workweek regulations. Daily maximums in various countries typically range from 9 to 13 hours.
5. Free Day Allocation
Deciding how employees take their free day requires careful thought to minimize business disruptions. Different options can be considered, like having the company closed every other Friday or dividing employees into groups with alternating Fridays off. Finding a balance between business needs and employees' preferences is essential.
9-Day Fortnight Case Studies
Several organizations have successfully implemented the 9-day fortnight compressed schedule. Companies like Grant Thornton, Otta, and CharlieHR have seen positive results in their employee's work-life balance, morale, and productivity.
These case studies provide valuable insights into the practical implementation and benefits of the 9-day fortnight.
At Otta, the founders wanted to transcend the traditional workweek and embrace innovative well-being strategies. So, they initiated a 6-month trial of the 9-day fortnight in their startup, which led to highly positive outcomes. Consequently, they made this schedule permanent.
Let’s have a look at the results of their employee survey:
- 100% of respondents strongly felt it boosted their life satisfaction.
- 94% were more inclined to recommend Otta as a workplace due to this schedule.
- 90% agreed or strongly agreed that their work quality remained high under this system.
CharlieHR introduced a trial period for a nine-day fortnight in September 2021, where employees enjoyed every other Friday off without any negative impact on their compensation or working hours.
Charlie's implementation of the 9-day fortnight policy led to the following outcomes:
- 24% decrease in work-related stress.
- 14% increase in the team's ability to relax during their free time.
- 11% improvement in their focus and productivity levels.
- 30% enhancement in their capacity for deep, concentrated work.
- Positive effects on mental health.
Besides flexible working hours and exploration days, Charlie's nine-day fortnight was featured as a top-three reason for candidates to join the company.
What Sets a 9-day fortnight Apart from a Four-Day Workweek?
The 9-day fortnight differs from a four-day workweek in its structure and impact on working hours. In a 9-day fortnight, employees work their full-time hours over nine days within two weeks, often extending daily work hours slightly.
In contrast, a four-day workweek typically involves working fewer hours per week, reducing the days and total hours. While the 9-day fortnight maintains full-time hours with an extra day off biweekly, the four-day workweek focuses on reducing overall work hours.
Does the 9-Day Fortnight Align with Standard Full-Time Hours?
No, the 9-day fortnight does not align with the typical standard of full-time hours, which usually involve a 40-hour workweek spread over five days. Instead, a 9-Day Fortnight consists of working longer hours across nine days, with the benefit of an extra day off every two weeks.
How Do You Calculate 9-Day Fortnight Annual Leave?
To calculate annual leave for a 9-day fortnight, first find the total fortnightly hours (e.g., 8 hours/day x 9 days = 72 hours). Convert annual leave into hours (e.g., 20 days leave x 8 hours/day = 160 hours). When leave is taken, deduct the daily hours from the total leave hours.
9-day fortnights have proven to be a successful solution for companies seeking to reduce costs and give employees more flexible schedules. It can be implemented with minimal disruption and offers the potential for a healthier and more flexible work environment.
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