Compressed Workweek Schedules


  • Lori L. Wadsworth

Document type: Encyclopedia Entry

Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia

Year: 2009


  • Business Case
  • Flexible Work Arrangements/Flexibility
  • Work and Family


  • Business and Management


In recent years, workers have voiced general dissatisfaction with the traditional 40-hour workweek. Olmsted (1983) observed that a general drive toward new work arrangements was triggered by a number of different factors, including “increased female workforce participation, new lifestyles, an increase of single-parent or two-paycheck households, new relationships between education and work . . . [and] the aging of the workforce” (p. 479). He also notes that employees today want to have input on how, when, and where they work. Furthermore, Best (1980) found that most workers would choose an increase in free time over a modest increase in pay. It is because of attitudes like these that organizations have sought to accommodate their employees’ desires by providing alternatives to the traditional 5/40 workweek. Compressed workweek schedules have been adopted by an increasing number of organizations, both public and private, over the past several decades (Pierce & Dunham, 1992). One recent report found that 37% of organizations have compressed work schedules (Society for Human Resource Management, 2008). According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), industries with the highest prevalence of compressed workweeks were health (57%), government (45%), and nonprofit services (45%). Recent research in the public sector found that 46% of cities offer compressed work schedules to their employees (Facer et al., 2009). A status report on workplace flexibility (Galinsky, Bond, & Hill, 2004) found no significant difference in accessibility to a compressed workweek schedule by gender, parenthood status, earning level, or industry (manufacturing versus service). There were two areas of demographic difference: managers/professionals and younger employees were more likely to be given an option to work a compressed schedule (Galinsky et al., 2004). Further information on the impact of compressed workweeks is provided from the employee perspective, and then from the perspective of the organization.

Link:Compressed_Workweek_Schedules encyclopedia