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Every Other Friday Off Work Schedule

For the last six months, I’ve adopted a work schedule where you tally up extra hours in the first nine days of a two-week range, and take the second Friday off (also known as a 9/80 work schedule1). Below is a diagram that illustrates one way to do it.

Alternate Work Week Schedule Example

When I first adopted this work schedule, I didn’t think I’d value it as much as my peers. For better or worse (increasingly, worse), I’ve come from a long line of work environments where long hours were rewarded. Every other Friday off? Sure, that’s nice—but that’s not for leaders.

However, after a month of practice, it easily became one of the best work schedule arrangements I’ve ever participated in. Below are some supporting reasons why (from the perspective of an employee—me). If you consider yourself a forward-thinking leader, and have the authority to implement an alternative work schedule like this for your teams, please give it some serious consideration.


Relief in knowing others are off too

This may be a side effect of the previous work cultures I referenced above, but for me, I enjoy days off much more when I know other members of the team are off too. The probability of having your day interrupted by a chat DM goes down significantly. There is also a reduced concern of missing previously scheduled meetings or timely emails.

More opportunity for decompression

The older I get, the more responsibilities I assume outside of work. Increasingly, the weekend is less a block of time to unwind before the next work week, and more the only opportunity to meet personal obligations that require more time than weekday evenings afford.

Maybe it’s cleaning out the garage, or rearranging the home office, or picking out a nice gift for a loved one. Whatever it is, now there is a whole additional day every two weeks to get it done. That leaves the traditional weekend days with more of an opportunity for much-needed decompression.

More quality time with my kid

This is a bit biased toward folks with younger kids (i.e., not yet in school, or not yet in a serious grade), but the time I spend with my kid on these Fridays off is much higher quality than that of a usual weekend.

When we plan to go somewhere, like the aquarium or a museum, it is much easier to get tickets. There are also generally a lot less people around (:heart: introverts). It’s enabled us to comfortably enjoy experiences like bowling, mini golfing, and wizarding2 during a pandemic.

Conclusion

A 9/80-style work schedule is personally, very compelling. It unlocks a level of work/life balance I haven’t experienced in a work setting since I started working from home.

It may not be for everyone, though. Work schedule changes require a base level of individual and team-level maturity. But, if that’s present, most software development teams should be able to adopt a work schedule change like this and not miss a beat.

In 2022, hiring for software-focused roles is tough and differentiators are hard to come by. An alternative work schedule that improves work/life balance and doesn’t compromise the business can go a long way on the recruiting front.