Compressed Work Schedule – Giving Employees More Flexibility

Implementing a Compressed Work Schedule Program

Implementing a compressed work schedule program requires careful planning.  The following steps represent the process involved in conceptualizing, designing and implementing a program:

  • Evaluate your organization.  Select schedules that can work best within your organization.
  • Identify your objectives.  What do you want to get out of a compressed work schedule program?  It is to reduce congestion around your worksite, reduce pollution, provide an employee benefit, extend customer service hours, reduce SOV/VMT to meet CTR requirements or to achieve other goals?
  • Get management support.  Solicit management support for the schedules of choice.
  • Introduce the program.  Introduce the proposed schedules to the key decision makers.  Some managers may be concerned about the ability to supervise their employees.  Be prepared to overcome this and other concerns.
  • Organize a steering committee.  Develop a steering committee with representatives from each department to enhance development and encourage ownership of the program.
  • Promotion.  Promote the program through flyers, electronic mail, or your company newsletters.  Initiate orientation sessions.
  • Form a committee to address concerns and hardships.  An appointed panel (which may include a union representative) can hear hardship cases and appeals when an agreement between a supervisor and an employee cannot be reached.  Examples of hardships include child or family member care, medical problems, school committees and other circumstances which may require special scheduling arrangements. 
  • Ridesharing privileges.  Employees with established or potential ridesharing arrangements should be given preference in selecting a starting and ending time and selecting a day off.
  • Post schedules.  Post a schedule of available days off for employees working compressed work weeks.  Depending upon the size of your organization and need for coverage, employees may be able to choose their days off.  For larger companies and situations of unresolved conflict, a lottery system may be used to determine when each employee will take which day off.  Experience has shown that the order of preference for days off is Fridays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Tuesdays.
  • Monitor the program.  Monitor the program(s) and make the necessary adjustments.  Measure the results. 
  • Conduct surveys.  This is especially important for large organizations conducting pilot studies.  Surveys generally gauge employee attitudes about the program and identify areas of potential conflict so that adjustments can be made.  Another form of program monitoring is the use of memos written by the supervisor (or an appointed person), which contain statistics on productivity, absenteeism, overtime and include supervisor perceptions on employee satisfaction with the program.