How the 9/80 Work Schedule Changed My Perspective on Work-Life Balance

May 2020

Many people stress the importance of work-life balance, but how many realistically achieve this, or feel like they have the level of balance they really need? Recently, KWSM President Katie Wagner spoke with Small Business Trends about a KWSM company perk, one that has dramatically changed my outlook on balance. 


Earlier this year, KWSM rolled out a new 9/80 work schedule. “Agency work is strenuous,” Katie tells Small Business Trends. “To make sure our team had time to attend to ‘life’ outside of work, we switched to a 9/80 work week — we work nine hours (instead of eight) Monday to Thursday, and take every other Friday off. This gives the team a longer break to decompress, and take care of life tasks. We also keep track of getaways staff take on their long weekends — without having to take vacation time!” 


Since starting the 9/80 work schedule, my perspective on work-life balance has entirely changed. While I was happy with the balance I had, switching to the 9/80 schedule opened my eyes to the importance of prioritizing “life.”


The Best of Both Worlds


Our new work schedule gives me more time to enjoy the things I love outside of work, without having to compromise the time spent on work. By working 9 hours each day, we are still working the same number of hours each week, but reallocating the time to give us a break at the end of every other week. As a morning person, getting to work an hour earlier in the morning was a seamless change for me. Even for those who are less inclined to rise with the sun, team members shared that after a few weeks they hardly noticed the added hour each morning. Since every other week is a 4-day week, it motivates us to work hard to get our work done. On our longer 5-day weeks, we have an “extra” day to get ahead on the next week’s work. We’ve split up into two teams and alternate our Fridays off so our work is always covered and nothing falls through the cracks.


Have Time Will Travel


With 26 extra days off a year, many of our team members have made new travel plans! Over the past few months, before the stay-at-home order was issued, our team has traveled to Big Bear, Santa Barbara, Athens, Austin, and even Miami. Our new schedule gives us the opportunity to take more time away with family and visit the places we’ve always wished we had time to see, without burning through all of our vacation days by March. We’ve just scratched the surface on many of our travel plans, but the opportunity to take advantage of three day weekends never passes us by.


Refreshed and Recharged


The biggest takeaway I’ve seen since the start of our new schedule is the productivity boost. After a three day weekend, I’m always charged and ready to take on the week ahead. By shifting my own personal work timeline to fit within a four day week, I now have an additional day to get ahead on the Fridays I am in the office. Our industry can be fast paced and sometimes demanding, and by having two extra days a month to recharge, we have the extra tool in our belt to avoid the burnout many other hard workers face. 


9/80 has improved all of our lives by giving us the freedom to spend time on ourselves, without taking time away from our work. Besides the positives we’ve all experienced, nothing else has changed. We’ve seamlessly integrated into a new workstyle that works for the company, our clients, and is more than beneficial for us as employees. A definite “perk” we’re so pleased KWSM has to offer. 


88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.

Our new 9/80 schedule is just one of the many reasons KWSM has been such a great place to work. 

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