Compressed Hours: Meaning, Benefits, And All You Need To Know

Compressed Hours
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán

Compressed hours are a sort of flexible working, and any request to work in this manner would be considered a statutory request under UK employment law, with a legal procedure to follow. There is a legal right to request flexible working, but there is no legal right to get flexible working.

A compressed working hour condenses your regular contracted hours into fewer days. If the prospect of flexible working arrangements appeals to you, compressed work hours may be a viable alternative to explore when looking for a job.

In this article, we present a complete guide to flexible working compressed hours jobs, describing their benefits, limitations, and important differences from other working arrangements.

What Exactly Are Compressed Work Hours?

Compressed work hours are a flexible working system where employees work the same number of hours per hour but fewer days. For example, instead of working five eight-hour days, employees might work four ten-hour days. Compressed work hours can be beneficial for both employees and employers, as they allow for a better work-life balance and increased productivity.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Compressed Hours Job?

Work-life balance and office operations are dramatically impacted by a compressed work hour. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Advantages of Compressed Work Hours Job

The following are the advantages of compressed work hours job

#1. More Leisure Time

A compressed work hours job, whether on a 4/10 or 9/80 plan, allows employees to take extra time off to rejuvenate.

#2. Fewer Absences

With more free time, employees are less inclined to miss work to perform errands or attend to personal affairs.

#3. Increased Service Hours

If your company has a customer service department, providing extra assistance hours via a compressed work schedule can help clients who want to contact you after 5 p.m.

#4. Reduced Commuting Time

Some employees can save time and money by coming to work less regularly, depending on how far they reside from the office. It is commonly recognised that commuting harms workers. Employees may perform better if they are not burdened by commuting stress.

The Disadvantages Of Compressed Work Hours Job

The following are the disadvantages of compressed work hours job

#1. Worker Exhaustion 

Doing the same amount of work in fewer days may tire employees out, depending on the industry and job.

#2. Schedule Incompatibility

Other business partners, clients, or contractors who work a regular 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday schedule may be incompatible with someone working a compressed schedule. Unusual scheduling might also pose problems with a company’s payroll.

#3. Unauthorised Overtime

Even if they work the same number of hours, your employees may be eligible for a separate remuneration schedule if they are not closely supervised. Check your state’s overtime pay legislation to guarantee you are not breaking any laws.

#4. Employee Inconvenience 

A compressed work schedule may be beneficial to you and some of your staff, but it may not be feasible for everyone. Some child care centres, for example, operate on a regular 9-to-5 schedule, which may make it difficult or expensive for your staff to locate child care.

What Distinguishes Compressed Working from Other Flexible Hours?

When compared to other flexible hours, compressed working has some distinct characteristics that can determine how manageable and useful it can be to a firm. Here are the fundamental differences between compressed working and other flexible working hours:

#1. Keep Contracted Hours

Many flexible agreements provide flexibility, but you must lower your hours to accommodate an alternate schedule. The fundamental advantage of compressed working is that it does not cut your hours, allowing you to keep your compensation and worth to the company.

#2. Advantages For The Company 

Depending on their needs, some businesses may actively encourage and benefit from compressed working. Employees who are willing to start earlier or stay longer can assist businesses that open early and close late.

#3. Allows Employees To Go Home Earlier

Many flexible schedules allow employees to go home earlier or take an extended break during the day to take care of personal commitments before returning to work. Compressed working, on the other hand, allows for one or more additional days during the hour to accomplish other tasks or take a break.

How Do You Implement a Compressed Work Hour?

The first step is to determine the ideal schedule for your company and its personnel. You can use a 4/10 or 9/80 timetable, or you can create a schedule that incorporates aspects from both phases.

You might also choose another option, such as a three-day, 12-hour schedule, which is common for firefighters, healthcare workers, and other businesses that require 24-hour personnel.

Consider requesting that employees choose the optimal schedule for themselves and their families. However, not all departments can adhere to a compressed work hour; this timetable may differ depending on division or region.

To implement a compressed work hour, follow these steps:

#1. Coordination With All Departments Is Required

Employees and management must work closely together to transition to the new timetable. Managers must ensure adequate coverage and a seamless workflow, as well as that everyone fulfils their deadlines. Before establishing compressed work schedules, managers should consult with other departments.

#2. Make a Policy

Write a policy (possibly as part of your time-off policy) outlining who is qualified for a compressed hours job, when it can be used, who is responsible for or arranging schedules, and how this schedule can be formally requested before adopting it.

#3. Maintain Your Flexibility

Each department may adopt compressed work hours differently, and your policy should account for that flexibility. Customer service departments, for example, may benefit from working longer hours on fewer days. The accounting department, on the other hand, may not have as strong a need to be in the office Monday through Friday during certain months.

#4. Keep Track Of Your Progress 

After experimenting with a compressed work schedule, you may realise it isn’t right for you, your company, or your staff. Check your business KPIs regularly to assess productivity and performance, and ask your employees how they feel about the new schedule. You can always make changes or return to a standard work hour.

Tips for implementing a compressed work hour

The following pointers can help you implement your compressed work hours more smoothly

#1. Consider The Following Law 

Your city or state may have labour rules that limit the number of hours an employee can work in a given period. Before implementing a new schedule, always check with your state labour office to ensure you comply.

#2. Establish Core Office Hours 

When establishing a compressed work hour, several organisations experience staffing issues. Employees should be scheduled carefully to ensure adequate coverage in the office.

#3. Inquire With Staff About Their Preferences

A new arrangement might have a significant influence on your personnel. What is effective for one employee may not be effective for another. Inquire with staff about what works best for them.

#4. Change As Needed

Your policy on a compressed-hours job should not be set in stone. As your employees and management get into a pattern, you’ll likely see gaps that need to be filled. Encourage employee feedback and, whenever possible, put their suggestions into action.

Is a Compressed Hours Job Appropriate For Your Company?

To see if a compressed-hours job is good for you and your staff, suggest the notion in a meeting and measure your team’s interest. Some employees’ schedules may not be suitable for this arrangement, particularly if they have children or other obligations that necessitate shorter days, while others may welcome the compressed schedule. Finally, if you intend to change the entire company’s timetable, everyone must be on the same page.

Consider how a compressed timetable may affect your customers and deliverables. For example, if you run a copywriting firm with deadlines throughout the hour, you must make sure you satisfy end-of-hour deadlines. You may also require your team to be available for client emergencies.  

Calculating Holiday Pay For Employees With Compressed Hours Job

The first thing to keep in mind is that a full-time employee working a compressed-hours job has the same hours as a full-time employee working a full hour. As a result, they are entitled to the same holiday entitlement as everyone else, not a pro rata of the standard hours equivalent.

The reasonable way is to calculate the holiday entitlement in hours rather than days. As an example, if one of the working days falls on a bank holiday, the employee’s customary number of hours for that day will be subtracted from their leave entitlement. This is because the hours worked on compressed days are longer to make up for the full-time hours.

For example, an employee working conventional hours and days will receive 8 hours of vacation, whereas an employee with a compressed-hours job will require, say, 10 hours of vacation.

Limitations of compressed working Hours Job

While compressed working has numerous advantages, there are some things to consider while creating your timetable. Consider the following potential issues of compressed working:

#1. Increase the Number Of Hours You Work On Your Working Days

While compressed working hours allow for more work-free days, it might make working days more physically and mentally exhausting. Some people may find it difficult to work longer hours if they suffer from long-term health concerns, such as exhaustion. It can be psychologically exhausting and lead to decreased productivity on days that are either too busy or too calm.

#2. It Cuts Into Your Free Time Before Work

For people who struggle with mornings, a compressed schedule that extends hours earlier in the day may be difficult. People who have long-term sleep, waking up, or eating problems in the mornings may find earlier schedules less acceptable. There may also be logistical issues, such as how early you can begin your trip due to public transportation or conflicts with other family members’ schedules.

#3. Reduces Your After-Work Free Time

Compressed working can limit the amount of time you have to perform daily chores as well as the amount of time you have to recover before your next shift, making the work hour feel busier and more taxing both emotionally and physically.

#4. It Is Dependent On The Availability Of Daycare 

A compressed schedule may be difficult for you as a parent because daycare providers may open later than you would start or close later than you would finish your extended shift. This includes nurseries, schools, and after-school activities. This may not be a problem if you have a spouse, family, or friends who can assist you during these times.

Is It Possible For A Firm To Deny A Compressed Hours Job?

Your employer has the legal right to deny your request for flexible, compressed working hours if it will cost too much money. They are unable to reorganize the work of other employees. They are unable to hire extra employees.

Is Compressed Hours Part-Time?

Part-time work is usually described as working between one and thirty-four hours per week. On the other hand, compressed hours are when the work week is compressed into a shorter time. For example, you might work forty hours over five days a week; this could be compressed down into four days of ten hours.

How Do You Go About Requesting Compressed Hours?

When making a formal request for flexible, compressed working hours, the first step is to make a formal written request to your boss. Your company may accept your proposal instantly, but they will usually schedule a meeting to explore it further.

What Are The Maximum Working Hours In The United Kingdom?

You should not be required to work more than 8 hours per 24-hour period, averaging over 17 hours. You can work more than 8 hours each day as long as your average over the next 17 hours is less than 8. Your employer may not request that you opt out of this limit.

Can I Leave the Premises During My Lunch Break In The United Kingdom?

The time you take your break is up to your employer, as long as the rest break is taken all at once, throughout the day—not at the beginning or finish. You are free to leave your workstation or desk, and you are free to leave the premises totally if you so desire.


In conclusion, compressed hours are an excellent strategy to reduce the overall number of days worked or to improve your vacation time with time off in lieu. You continue to work full-time hours, so there is no salary cut, but you must work additional hours on the days you work to make up the time.

Some people find the extra hours exhausting, but for many, the flexibility to take extra days off work regularly outweighs the extra time spent.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *