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Would you like to have a three-day weekend every week or every other week? An Alternative Work Schedule (also called a Compressed Work Week) can make it possible with longer hours worked over fewer days. Some employees choose to work four 10-hour days each week, with one day off. Others prefer to work 80-hours over nine regular work days, with an extra day off every other week.

An Alternative Work Schedule is a good trip reduction option because it eliminates one trip to work each week or every other week. Some other benefits include:

  • Allows “off peak” (non-rush hour) commute times.
  • Enables more control over work schedules.
  • Extends hours of customer service and production during the days an employee is on the job.
  • Helps retain valuable employees

Making it Work

An Alternative Work Schedule only works when the employee and manager agree on the arrangement. Of course, not all jobs are suitable for alternative schedules. Positions that require employees to provide service at a particular time and place may demand a rigid schedule. And not all workers want to use an Alternative Work Schedule due to personal preference or family or other constraints.

Employers work with managers, employees, and labor organizations to develop suitable policies and practices. Informal Alternative Work Scheduling is common at many worksites, so an official policy may simply formalize and support existing practices. The policy should specify:

  • Which job categories are suitable.
  • What is required of employees to qualify.
  • What criteria are to be used to evaluate the performance of employees on alternative schedules.
  • How employee schedules are determined and what is required to change schedules.
  • Periodic review of the arrangement.
  • Model contracts and forms for establishing and tracking Alternative Work Schedules.

An Alternative Work Schedule may require changes in management practices that reduce the need to have employees physically together at one time, including more outcome-oriented management practices (evaluating employees based on their performance rather than simply the amount of time they spend at their desk), and increased use of electronic communication to compensate for reduced face-to-face interaction. An organization may start with an Alternative Work Schedule pilot project before expanding to all employees.

(Source: TDM Encyclopedia, Victoria Transport Policy Institute)