Today, employers are increasingly moving away from the standard 9-to-5 work schedule and opting for flexible hours for their staff.
Flextime is a flexible work schedule where employees can choose their workday start and end time – as long as they achieve set goals and don’t miss events that require their personal presence. Also, remote work and four-day workweek are usually a part of the flextime scheme. This practice has proved to be a valuable perk, to the extent that some employees prefer it over higher salary.
Where is it viable?
Of course, flextime doesn’t suit any work environment. Customer-facing positions, shift work, medical and social services, education are the areas where fixed schedules are the only option. Flextime works in office environments where physical presence is not critical for performing work tasks, mostly in the knowledge-based areas.
However, even in these fields, not all managers welcome the idea of giving their employees this degree of freedom. It’s not uncommon that flextime is seen as an opportunity for loafing and timesheet fraud. It also does imply some downsides, like slower work progress and lack of communication. But, while having its cons, flexibility at work brings tangible benefits to both employees and employers.
Benefits for employers
As an employer, you might not want to eliminate the ability to monitor employees’ work. However, close attention to the staff’s activities is usually a demoralizing factor: no one enjoys being looked at over the shoulder. And that’s one of the main reasons why flextime improves morale and work results. Let’s look at its positive effects for employers:
- Improved morale.Treating employees like adults is a proven good strategy for improving workplace rapport. Allowing employees to define their working hours (or days, sometimes) creates autonomy and helps build trust.
- Better focus on work tasks.The regular 9-to-5 workday doesn’t always coincide with the most productive hours of each employee. Some gain better focus in later hours. That’s why, the ability to adapt the schedule to individual productivity cycles helps achieve maximum focus and performance.
- Attracting and retaining talents.Free time is not less valuable than the salary for a hard-working employee, so flexible schedule is seen as a major perk at the workplace. It is essential for retaining talented employers and workforce in demand.
- Reducing costs. First, flextime is inexpensive to implement, while bringing virtually instant benefits to workplace environment and employees’ performance. Second, allowing employees to go remote helps save on operational costs to a certain extent.
Benefits for employees
Employees welcome the idea of work schedule flexibility, and not only because of having more time for activities outside of work. The positive effects of flextime cover work-related areas, too – and this means more professional growth and better career opportunities. Let’s see what benefits flexible schedule brings and how it affects various aspects of work life.
- Healthier work-life balance. Flexible work hours and the ability to work remotely allow workers to find more time for not work-related to-dos, whether they are household responsibilities, child or elder care, creative projects, or personal development.
- Better productivity. Some of us just cannot concentrate on work in the morning but are productivity champions in the late afternoon. The ability to choose when to start and end the workday allows employees to get the most value of their productive hours – and perform work better and faster.
- Less commute time and costs. The ability to work from home not only reduces commute costs – it also saves valuable time and effort, otherwise spent on exhausting commutes. This frees up creative powers for work and helps people be more productive.
How to make it work?
Implementing flextime practice in a company requires a well-defined strategy. It’s not that there are any severe risks related to it, but you want to achieve the goals you’ve set for introducing more flexibility. Here’s a checklist for implementing flextime on your team:
- Define your goals. Ask the questions: What results are you expecting after introducing flextime? How soon you’d like to achieve them? How will you track and measure them?
- Establish a clear process. Determine how flextime should work in your company and what steps should be taken to establish it. Clarify to your team on how the process works: how they should inform coworkers about their schedule changes, and what limits (if any) apply – for example, obligatory availability hours for the telecommuting staff.
- Encourage active communication. When everyone’s availability hours differ, communication on the team can suffer. Point out what tools should be used for communication, and inform employees on timelines for reporting about important issues and decisions.
- Collect feedback. Do a pilot run of the new process and see if any problems pop up. Ask your team about what they would like to improve or do differently, collect their feedback, and make reasonable changes.
- Keep track of the time spent on work. More freedom doesn’t mean less accountability, so make sure your team members’ work hours don’t leak. Use special time-tracking apps that ensure clear performance analysis, payroll processing, and billing.
If you haven’t introduced flextime on your team yet, it’s time to consider it. Flexibility at the workplace brings long-term benefits for both employees and employers. The key point is to have a strategy and tactics to make it work: define your goals, explain to your team how it’s going to work, and track results to see the productivity and the profitability grow.