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How has your company implemented compressed hours effectively?

My workplace (IT company with only office workers) is currently drawing up a formal flexible work policy which documents, among other things, the acceptable forms of flexible working. We already practice flexible working, this is purely to formalise it and provide a process and documentation around it.

One we would like to consider including is compressed hours (such as working full time hours within a 4 day week or a 9 day fortnight) but are concerned about how extra hours will effect staff health & wellbeing, and also we avoid getting a bunch of people applying for it with the justification that they already do over their 7.6 hrs a day so should get that one day off a week or fortnight. How do we set expectations around a reasonable amount of work produced within a given time frame to allow compression?

Keen to hear of experiences (good or bad) and any tips you may have,

TIA!

I’ve run our company on 4-day weeks for a decade. We transitioned from 5x8 to 4x10, thinking that we needed to maintain the hours, but found it difficult to fit it in with our lives. We switched to 4x8 after a few months and haven’t looked back.

Doing that on a companywide basis is different from having some people self-select, though. On one hand, for those people who can do it and who can handle the 9.5 hour days, great. On the other hand, you’ll now have a segment of your workforce not there on a regular basis. Are you set up to handle that? If you have an async-comms culture already, that might not be a problem. If those away-people are missing out on meetings though, they’ll end up missing out on opportunities that “full-time” people get.

There are some challenges there, for sure; but flexible conditions are also a good way to attract and retain talent. Another question is: how does hours-at-desk translate to productivity anyway? We all know that some hours are better than others.

Happy to continue the conversation or answer any questions :slight_smile:

Hi @karnold welcome to the community!

This is a great question and the flexibility piece is something we have had in place for a while. I’m unsure where you are located but I’m in Melbourne (Aus) and also work for an IT services company. There is flexible working arrangements as legislated by the Govt and then there is the extra layer of flexibility, because if you can do it, its the right thing to do for your people!

We have always had very flexible practices and are now building out our remote workforce, so when it came to an actual policy we had to be clear about the difference between the legislated options and then our offering of flexibility and what it means. Is it time shifting hours? Is it working from home a day a week? No matter what it is, we are open to trying it. If its a new arrangement for us, we always pop it in a trial period to ensure it works for the business and the employee. We haven’t had anyone ask for compressed hours as a regular arrangement but have made it work in an ad hoc setting were someone needed a day off and didn’t have enough leave.

The only two things that I think we didn’t quite get right in the beginning, is making sure there are clear goals/KPI’s/measures in place so you can still track HOW effective the employee is on their new arrangement. All our Devs & Engineers have timesheets which help with that level of accountability.

The other part which we didn’t really consider, was the perceptions of other people who wanted to be in the office all the time and who don’t really makes use of the arrangements, and their opinions of people not being at their desk all the time. There seems to be a little old school/closed minded mentality there for some who think that those people aren’t working or are taking advantage.

Keen to see what others have to say on this topic!