Pros and Cons of Offering Flex Time

Image courtesy of John Morgan's photostream

Image courtesy of John Morgan’s photostream

Standard companies have their employees work from nine to five, Monday through Friday, 52 weeks a year. We have gotten so accustom to this pattern that it is now the norm. We can wake up without an alarm clock, we have traffic timed out so we know when to leave our houses by to make it to work on time and we know this will be like this the rest of our life. But what if companies offered flex time? Do the masses know what flex time is and understand how it works? According to Wikipedia, Flex time is defined as “a variable work schedule, in contrast to traditional work arrangements requiring employees to work a standard 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. day.” But like every good idea there are pros and cons to it.

Possible Pros of Flex Time:

Improved productivity – A recent study by the Boston College Center  reported that 70% of managers and 87% of employees reported that working a flex time schedule at their job had a positive impact on productivity. 65% of manager and 87% of employees reported that this type of schedule had a positive impact on the quality of their work as well. Most companies that engage in flex time scheduling will say that it improves employee productivity and quality because workers can manage their personal lives on their own off hours so that they do not interfere with the workday.

For example, an employee who chooses to work from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. due to arranging child care might spend the afternoon in a normal nine-to-five job arranging for someone to pick up the child or they may try and leave early to reduce the amount of money spent on extra care. Under a flex time schedule, that same employee is less stressed because they can finish work under the chosen schedule and still have time to pick up their child while also saving them money. Another example is an employee who isn’t a morning person. Perhaps they struggle to get in at 8:00 a.m. and aren’t productive until midmorning. If this same employee had a 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. work schedule, they may accomplish a lot more during the work day while avoiding the guilt about arriving late each morning.

Possible Cons of Flex Time:

Coverage – A negative aspect of flex time is that it can sometimes cause problems for supervisors. Companies who offer flex time need to consider their staffing needs in order to build a schedule that gives employees the flexibility without leaving the organization under-staffed. This can also be more challenging to organize meetings and group events when employees are on different work schedules. However, both of these issues can be resolved through planning schedules, making core working hours (such as 11:00 a.m.-3:00p.m.) and the use of technology to help employees communicate more effectively with each other. For example, if a flex time employee is not in the office during a scheduled meeting, they can call in or attend a web conference. Flex time requires the employees to be flexible and understand that they might occasionally have to be on call even when they are not physically in the office.

It’s important to note that flex time is a new trend and is gaining positive feedback which in turn is making more and more companies turn to this type of scheduling. Some employees may take advantage of flex time, but if you have a responsible team and are willing to put some consideration into arranging schedules, flex time might be right for your organization.

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