26 Jul 2023

Embracing the 9 day fortnight: a guide to compressed hours

woman enjoying her extra day off hiking

The post covid era of flexible work is officially trending, with work patterns involving 9 day fortnights, flexitime and compressed hours becoming increasingly common. No longer does the classic 9-5, 5 day work week hold the scheduling monopoly, from tech corporations to universities, organisations everywhere are increasingly adopting amore flexible way of working.

How to calculate compressed hours?

Use the calculator below to calculate your own compressed-hours-based work schedule.

9 day fortnight calculator

What are compressed hours?

Compressed hours involve working the standard contracted numbers of weekly hours, but in fewer days, to gain an extra day or so off work. This allows employees to enjoy a lengthier continuous period where they are not working, without sacrificing pay or full time status.

Compressed hours versus flexitime

Both compressed hours and flexitime are deemed types of flexible working by the government. Employees are within their legal right to make a request for flexible working, if they have worked continuously at the same company for no less than 26 weeks.

However, these flexible working arrangements are not identical!

Compressed hours condense full time working hours into fewer days. On the other hand, flexitime allows employees autonomy over when they start and finish their working days, with the provision that they must complete their daily required hours.

The 9 day fortnight: compressed hours in action

One especially popular iteration of compressed hours is the 9 day fortnight, utilised by global leaders such as Grant Thornton.

Perhaps less daunting for organisations than the 4 day working week, the 9 day fortnight allows employees to work their contracted, total fortnightly hours across nine days instead of the usual ten.

The result is employees receive an additional day off every two weeks, typically providing employees with a three-day weekend.

The 9 day fortnight can also be implemented as a reduction in working hours outright. Employees will work regular contracted hours and receive every other Friday off, without a drop in salary. This way of employing the 9 day fortnight is less usual, but can offer many of the same productivity benefits.

9 day fortnight pros and cons

Like any other pattern of work, the 9 day fortnight comes with its own benefits and challenges.

Benefits of the 9 day fortnight

Enhanced work-life balance

Your employees enjoy an extra day off, giving them all the perks of a 3 day weekend. They can take that weekend city break or spend more time with family and friends. The employer will also benefit from substantially more well rested employees on Monday, ready to crack on with work.

Less time spent commuting

Londoners have an average commute of 84 minutes a day, with other areas of the UK not far behind. With every other Friday off, employees spend one less day on the often dreaded commute. This allows for a substantial amount of time and money to be saved, with two days fewer days of commuting per month.

Increased productivity

CEOs have noted a massive boost in productivity from employees that enjoy an improved work-life balance, provided by a 9 day fortnight. This founding resonates with the 9 day fortnight deployed both via compressed hours, and without.

Difficulties of the 9 day fortnight

Longer work days

If your organisation’s iteration of the 9 day fortnight works via the compressed hour method, your employees will be working approximately one hour more per day in order to earn a day off. Longer hours may cause burnout and fatigue to become widespread. You are also potentially coming into conflict with overtime laws in the UK, that cap the working week at 48 hours unless explicitly provisioned for in an employee’s contract.

Scheduling difficulties

Your organisation will have to take care not to leave the office unmanned every other Friday. This may cause scheduling conflicts, and adjustments will have to be made to accommodate clients on days when employees are out of office.

Case studies of the 9 day fortnight

If this blog has piqued your interest, take a look at a few case studies of companies that have successfully implemented the 9-day fortnight. Read our follow up deep dive on the 9 day fortnight for further insight.

  • Grant Thornton
  • Otta
  • CharlieHR


What are compressed hours?

Compressed hours involve working the standard contracted numbers of weekly hours, but in fewer days.

What is a 9 day fortnight?

The 9 day fortnight is a flexible working method that allows employees work only nine days out of a 10 day fortnight, either through compressed hours, or with a reduction in fortnightly hours.

What are the pros and cons of a 9 day fortnight?

A 9-day fortnight promises improved work-life balance and employee morale, but can lead to longer workdays and potential scheduling gaps.

How many days are in a fortnight?

There are 14 days in a fortnight, 10 of which are conventionally ‘working’ days.

What is flexitime?

Flexitime is a flexible working arrangement that allows employees to choose their own start and finish times, within certain limits, to suit their personal needs and commitments.