Did you know that nearly 31% of LinkedIn users have stated that they prefer a workplace with a flextime work schedule?
The current COVID19 scenario has changed the professional front completely. While there were times when organizations and managers were sticklers for schedule and punctuality, social distancing and lockdown have shifted the focus on engagement and productivity. Remote working has become the new normal, and this has given time to a new form of work culture, flextime work schedule.
As the name suggests, it simply refers to having more flexibility while setting your work schedule. So, how does this work in the organizations?
In this guide, we hope to help you get everything in place to create a successful and productive flexible work schedule at your organization.
Different types of work schedules
Before we get into and figure out the basics and other tenets of flex time management, let’s understand the types of work schedules that people and organizations across the world, follow.
A work schedule refers to the time when an employee is expected to log in to the workplace and start to work. It refers to the number of hours in a day and the number of days an employee is expected to work and is usually discussed at the start of the employment period.
Following are the types of work schedules that are prevalent nowadays:
1. Fixed work schedule
A fixed work schedule is one wherein the employer and employee come to a mutual consensus about working hours and days at the beginning of the employment contract and then follow it consistently throughout the tenure. It is also known as the ‘9 to 5 work schedule.’
2. Flexible work schedule
Flexible work schedules or a flextime work schedule is where employees are expected to work a set number of hours a week, but they can choose their own time of being active at work. While in the case of fixed work schedule employers have a major say, that right is in the employee’s court in the case of flextime work schedule. That does not completely free flexible work schedule from approvals and rules, but it does make it more lenient than the fixed work schedules.
3. Alternative work schedule
Alternative work schedules can be in the form of shift work schedules or rotational work schedules, depending upon the understanding between the employer and the employee. In most of cases, alternative work schedules are created outside of the fixed or flexible work schedule’s working hours so as to churn out maximum overall productivity, when the teams are combined. Schedule shifts are a type of alternative work schedule that can be looked into.
4. Part-time work schedule
Any schedule that is less than a full-time work agreement is known as the part-time work schedule. This may fall either under the purview of a fixed work schedule or that of a flextime work schedule, depending upon the discussion between the employer and the employee. It may refer to a number of fixed hours during the day, wherein it is closer to a fixed work schedule, or it may refer to a number of hours during the month regardless of when those hours are being served, thus putting it closer to a flextime work schedule.
5. Compressed workweek
This is a comparatively new work schedule which is being experimented with in some organizations and run with hiccups in the other. This refers to a 4-day workweek in which hours and work of a 5-day workweek have been compressed. This kind of work schedule is an extension of a fixed work schedule and may sometimes be difficult to pull off because of the added work pressure. Trying to do too much at a stretch may affect the overall quality of the work as well.
Often, most of the aforementioned work schedules just turn out to be variations of either a fixed work schedule or a flextime work schedule.
What is a flextime work schedule?
Every organization usually has a start time and a stop time. Various measuring tools such as attendance registers or even mechanisms such as biometric impressions exist to measure the number of active working hours spent by the employee in the workplace. However, a flextime work schedule refers to a type of working system where all these are rendered redundant.
A flextime work schedule is an alternative to the usual fixed or 9-to-5 work schedule. This is a work schedule where the major right of deciding the time of start and stop lays with the employees, who are driven more by productivity rather than time. Flextime work schedule works best in remote working scenarios.
It has to be noted that there may be an element of fixed work schedule in the flexible schedule as well, wherein the employer and employee may come to a consensus that the latter has to work a few fixed hours on a daily or per-week basis. However, deciding when those few hours begin and end, is upon the employee.
How can employers ace flex time management?
A flex schedule comes with a factor of unpredictability. Even if it comes with ample flexibility and freedom, which ultimately affects the productivity positively, a certain level of accountability and fixed work schedule elements are required to ensure there is a system in place.
The biggest challenge that the employees face is that of time. Here are a few flex time management tips that can help, in that case:
1. Incorporate a routine
Yes, the very basis of flextime work schedule lies in the freedom to choose your own work hours. However, a routine should still exist. Whether in the form of daily tasks or a daily set number of hours, a routine should exist and should be maintained for optimum flex time management. Maintaining a daily routine is healthy, even if you shuffle a few things to retain a certain level of novelty.
Fixed work schedule has given way to a culture of mistrust wherein an employer does not rely on an employee’s output unless the latter is physically present. However, that is not possible, especially in the current remote working scenario. Thus, what is the best way to deal with it and make sure you are at the top of your game in flex time management? Communicate.
Make sure all your communication lines are open, whether via chats, emails, calls, team chats or even internal means of communication. This will ensure that there is no conversation missed and will avoid any misunderstandings.
Still looking for a team chat software where you can easily communicate with everyone? These resources will help you pick the right one:
- Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Choosing the right team chat for collaboration
- How to use Google Hangouts for team chat
- 5 Zoom alternatives for work video conferencing
3. Update and monitor
We cannot stress more on the fact. As a manager, it is important for you to regularly monitor the progress and garner updates. It does not mean that you micromanage. Another thing that needs to be monitored is the flextime work schedule trends in the market. Keep looking out for better ways to manage the schedule for maximum productivity, and update your work systems accordingly.
To give you a headstart on this, here are some useful resources:
- 7 remote management tips project managers need to know
- Guide for productive meetings while working from home
- How to manage your remote team and build a positive working relationship
4. Be objective and fair
To drive maximum productivity from a flextime work schedule, you need to be objective while picking out where to put in your own active efforts and where to let your team take ownership. You need to be fair while making a choice and for that, you need to establish an understanding with your team so that all of you are on the same page.
A great way to do this is to set SMART goals for your teams. Read our guide on setting SMART goals here.
5. Lead the way
This is the oldest trick in the history of tricks. Before setting any work schedule for your employees, implement it for yourself and see how it works out for you.
If you’re struggling to find your style of leadership, don’t forget to read our guides on servant leadership and democratic leadership.
Flexibility in the workplace is a tempting and often productive option. However, how you manage and implement it has a huge bearing on how effective this work schedule turns out to be for your team, or for your organization.
Types of flextime work schedule that can be implemented
Like all the other work arrangements, there are numerous ways in which flextime work schedule too can be implemented at your workplace, figuratively. It is to be noted that the workplace here means the organization’s identity rather than the physical office.
As we list down the following ways in which flextime work schedule can be implemented, keep in mind it covers both in-office and out-of-office work scenarios.
This refers to a type of working system wherein the employee is required to report to the workplace at least two to three times a week. This is a flextime work schedule with some element of fixed work schedule added in. This work schedule ensures that the employee has flexibility, but at the same time is regular on a semi basis.
2. Customized work hours
This is a system wherein the employees are allowed to choose their own work hours, within the stipulated limit defined by the organization. For instance, if your organization works for 8 hours a day, the employee has the option to work from 8 am to 4 pm or 11 am to 7 pm.
3. Remote working
Flexibility in terms of where a person wishes to work is also a type of flextime work schedule. This can either be a temporary setup, like in the current times, or it can be a permanent setup as well. This saves up much of time and costs, both to the employee and employer. That energy is then invested in increasing organizational productivity.
If you’re new to remote working or are just setting it up for your team, remember to get our FREE ebook on The Complete Guide To Working From Home.
4. Job sharing
Not a very popular mode of flex time management, nevertheless, one that is often thought of. Job sharing, to put it simply, refers to a flextime work schedule system wherein two people are sharing one job. For the employer, it’s one full-time job. For the employees, it’s a part-time job for each of them. However, effective supervision and communication are needed here.
5. Flexible vacations
Imagine a work scenario where vacations and leaves are unlimited. Yes, this is a form of flextime work schedules. Giving the employee the right to exercise leaves any time increases employee loyalty towards the organization and employee productivity on the whole. Thus, the organization gets more quality hours.
It has to be noted that before implementing any flextime work schedule policy, one has to leave room for some trial and error. However, with some patience and practical measures, your organization can come up with a flextime work schedule that works well overall.
To help you out, we have created a list of must-have policies that your employee company handbook must include. Read it here.
Flextime work schedule examples to take a cue from
Many renowned organizations across the world have implemented flexible work schedule and are managing those quite well. Following are some examples to take note of:
Dell started implementing its flexible work structure as early as 2009. This was easier for the organization since it always followed an informal work policy. However, that often meant employees choosing to work out of office or outside of the work hours in certain circumstances.
However, Dell wanted every employee to work as per his or her own unique working style, and thus introduced a flexitime work schedule and culture. As a result, the productivity soared by nearly 20%, as per the Net Promoter Score as compared to other organizations. Not only this, but Dell also managed to save around $12 million in terms of having an office space as they provided employees with the option of working remotely.
Implementing a flextime work schedule requires patience and the scope of some trial and error. That is exactly what happened with Sodexo which initiated its flexible work schedule as early as 2008, yet had to update their policies for a better implementation. For instance, when they started with the work schedule, the employees, in order to avail the option, had to undergo a stringent procedure. With time, the company realized that the procedure is defeating the very purpose of a flexible work schedule that they are trying to implement.
Thus, they introduced FLOW, which stands for ‘Flexibility Optimizes Work,’ wherein individual employees can craft their own work schedules after having a discussion with their managers.
Overall, it can be said that flextime work schedule has a proven record in increasing employee productivity and loyalty.
What are the pros and cons of flextime work schedule?
Every practice has its benefits. At the same time, no practice is free from flaws as well. The same can be said of flextime work schedule too. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the system that will help you make an informed decision:
- With flexible work arrangements, employees can spend more time with their families
- Employees can pursue their passions and indulge in self-care
- Employees can contribute hours in the ratio of their productivity
- Rush traffic hours that take a toll on physical and mental health can be avoided
- Employees get a sense of autonomy as they control their own work schedule
- Being open to a flexible work schedule means attracting more and sometimes even better talent
- With flexible hours, it’s difficult to create a work structure at home or any other remote place
- Lines between work and life blur, often compromising both
- Network issues and a different work schedule for all may make it more difficult to conduct team meetings
- It can be a little tricky to create team bondings
The flextime work schedule is an effective way of increasing employee productivity. However, one has to figure out the exact way of implementing the work schedule.
Do you need a flextime work schedule?
According to a study by Stanford, fewer work hours lead to higher productivity. Given productivity and not hours take your business up the notches, yes, you should definitely consider flextime work schedule. However, keep room for trial and error and curate a system that works the best for you.
Does your organization have a flextime work schedule? Do tag @HarmonizeHQ and share your experience.