Flexible Working Arrangements

February 6, 2015 | Jennifer Goodwyn

Flexible working arrangements can benefit everyone – employees may feel more rested and valued, employers may notice a boost in productivity and morale, and families will be able to spend more time with their employed loved ones. Although most employers realize it makes good business sense to provide a flexible working environment for their staff, the term is still subject to much confusion among business owners and employees alike. Essentially, flexible working refers to any working schedule that's outside of the normal working pattern – whether its hours of work, patterns of work, or location. If you're considering providing a flexible working arrangement for your employees, here are some tips.

Flexi Time

Flexi time can be divided into two core categories: flexi hours and flexi weeks. Flexi hours allow employees to vary their work hours; in these cases, an employee chooses when their working day begins and ends. In most cases, this type of schedule includes “core hours”, typically between 10am and 4pm, which all employees must be present for. This type of schedule allows for commuting outside of peak rush hours, improves efficiency since employees can match their schedule to their most productive hours, and gives employees more control over scheduling personal appointments. A flexi week schedule allows employees to work weekly full-time hours over a shorter time period or swap working on a weekday for working on a weekend day, which allows for more days off and less time spent commuting.

Flexi Place

Traditionally, flexi place refers to the option an employee has to work from locations other than their designated workplace, such as a home or virtual office. Also referred to as telecommuting or remote working, allowing employees to work from home or a different office reduces the need for permanent office space, geographically expands the labor pool, and gives employees the freedom to work during their personal “best time”. Additionally, a flexi location work model accommodates employees with disabilities, since getting to and from work in a timely fashion can be difficult, and provides an environment with fewer workplace distractions. Some studies show that companies with a flexi place work model notice an increase in overall productivity and job satisfaction. 

Is It Mandatory?

Although there are laws surrounding flexible working in other countries, there is no legislation surrounding flexible working hours in the United States. Typically, flexible working arrangements are provided to employees as an additional benefit or workplace perk. If you'd like to incorporate flexible working in your company but are nervous about the long-term results, consider implementing a trial period where employees can choose their working hours (within reason), or work from home a few times a month. If you notice a boost in productivity and an increase in employee satisfaction, perhaps a flexible working arrangement is right for you, your company, and your employees.