Photo of someone working compressed hours

Staff working compressed hours work their total contracted hours over fewer working days.

What are compressed hours?

Staff working compressed hours work their total contracted hours over fewer working days. For example, a full-time staff member could work 36.5 hours over 4.5 days or a 9 day fortnight rather than 5 days.

It is expected that applications to work compressed hours will come from staff in the Professional Services or Research Only job families. However, all requests should be duly considered by managers or academic leads in the way that all flexible working requests are.

Compressed hours can be beneficial for many reasons including to:

  • improve work-life balance leading to improved wellbeing and engagement. Happy staff = productive staff
  • help manage longer office/service opening hours
  • help manage effective use of space particularly if introduced to a team of people and combined with other flexible working options such as regular homeworking

The parameters of agreed compressed hours arrangements are set out below and should be considered by all staff before requesting or agreeing a compressed hours arrangement:

  • Well-being is important – breaks must be taken by staff and hours worked per day should not be detrimental to the employee’s wellbeing.
  • Full-time staff should normally work at least a 4-day week or a 9-day fortnight.
  • Cover arrangements for time away must not increase workload for other staff.
  • The usual day or part-day off may be decided by the manager to ensure adequate cover and efficient use of resources throughout the working week.
  • Staff working compressed hours should retain flexibility to attend important meetings/events on their non-working day/half day with appropriate notice.
  • Staff working compressed hours cannot also participate in the flexitime scheme although there may be flexibility in their start and finish times.

If you are a manager considering introducing compressed hours in your team to meet a business need, please discuss this with your line manager or Head of Discipline and following this, your HR Business Partner or Advisor. There is also further guidance for managers available in the Flexible Working Toolkit on introducing flexible working to your team.

Members of staff considering requesting compressed hours should follow the making a flexible working request guidance and complete a flexible working request form.

Full-time employees working compressed hours are entitled to the same amount of combined annual leave, Bank Holidays and closure days as other full-time employees of the same grade. Part-time employees remain entitled to the relevant pro-rated amount of leave.

When one of the usual working days of an employee working compressed hours falls on a Bank Holiday or closure day, their usual number of hours for that day will be deducted from their leave entitlement. Trent always calculates holiday in hours and, as long as the employee’s working pattern is correct on Trent, the correct deduction of hours is calculated automatically.

As with all flexible working arrangements, responsibility for making them work must be shared by employees and managers. Together you need to assess opportunities and challenges in any proposed or existing arrangement openly and honestly.

As the business environment and individual circumstances are continually changing, flexible working arrangements should be reviewed regularly and any issues that arise should be dealt with as soon as possible. When a flexible working arrangement is agreed, a formal review date must be set. The University or employee may wish to vary previously agreed arrangements to suit changing business demands. 

Please speak to your line manager in the first instance to discuss your individual or team circumstances. Your HR Business Partner/Advisor is available should any further support and guidance be needed.