Monday, February 21, 2011

Why the 9-80 Schedule Does Not Work for Entrepreneurs

What is the 9-80 Schedule?
There has been a trend over the last couple of years to reduce the number of days employees have to be in the office. The 9/80 workweek reduces the number of days in the office by one per every two weeks. In most companies this means you get to take every other Friday off, and most employees love this idea. You still put in the same amount of time, but you work a little longer each of the nine days you are in the office during each two week period. It reduces travel to work, fuel, and stress and can bring some other benefits as well. But it doesn't work well in a lot of entrepreneurial companies. I'll outline the main reasons it fails and give some suggestions for making it successful, if you are willing to give it a try.

Key People Missing
Half the employees are missing each Friday. This can cause all sorts of complications from having no one to answer the phone to no sales person available to jump on a hot lead from a satisified client. Entrepreneurs and their companies usually pride themselves on being nimble and quick to serve their customers.

Key Processes Fall Off Track
With half the office missing each week, some critical weekly and monthly processes can fall apart. For example, if you have an important operations meeting every Monday morning, half the employees will have to finish their preparations for that meeting on Thursday. And perhaps some of the information they need will not be avalailable until Friday, when they are off. To make the 9/80 work, you have to build your meetings and other processes around the inconvenience of half your staff missing each Friday.

Entrepeneurs and Executives Don't Adhere to It
The salaried, or exempt, employees and the founders, owners, and entrepreneurs never stick to the schedule for themeselves. These folks will usually make appointments and do work on their every-other-Friday off if it is convenient for the customers or other employees. They end up working longer on the first nine days and then working the entire tenth day as well.

If you want to implement the 9/80 schedule, you need to thinkn through these and other issues and make sure it will really benefit you and your business.