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Is Flex-Time Beneficial or Overrated?

11 December 2022

In today's fast-paced world, employees are looking for more than just a paycheck. They want to know that their employer values them as a person, and is willing to work with them to create a schedule that fits their needs. In fact, according to a recent survey, flexible scheduling (flextime) is a benefit that almost 96% of US professionals want in a job.

So what is flextime?

Flextime is an increasingly popular employee benefit that allows employees to choose what time of day they work, providing them with a sense of control over their daily activities. Employers are no longer expecting employees to work the typical nine-to-five, five days a week. They understand that employees have personal lives and may need some flexibility when it comes to it.

Unfortunately, only about half of the employers offer flexible scheduling options to their employees. This is a missed opportunity, as companies that allow for flexible scheduling often see a number of benefits, including increased productivity, engagement, decreased absenteeism, and loyalty from employees. Additionally, flexible work arrangements can help to attract and retain top talent.

So if the benefits of flexible work have been well-established in the modern world why aren't more companies offering this option? Is flex-time actually beneficial or is it just another trend that doesn't hold up in the real world? In this blog post, we'll explore both sides of the argument and let you decide for yourself. Let's get started.

What is Flextime?

Flextime is a work schedule that allows employees to adjust their working hours within specific parameters and guidelines. It usually includes core hours (when employees are required to be at work) and optional hours (the employee chooses the most suitable hours to work).

How Does Flextime Work?

The basic idea is that workers can have some say over when they work. They may vary their start and finish work hours to a time that is more convenient for them, take breaks at different times, or take time off during the day or week as long as they complete the required number of hours each week.

Not forgetting, there are still some core hours for which employees must be in the office. This ensures that there is still some structure to the working day and that employees are able to collaborate on projects.

For example, an employer might allow employees to arrive between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., take their lunch between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., and leave between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. However, there would still be a core period during the day (e.g., from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.) when all employees would be required to be in the office.

Flextime often allows for a better work-life balance, as it can help employees fit their work around their schedules.

What are the Benefits of Flextime?

Flexible working arrangements have many potential benefits for employers and employees alike.

For the Employee

From the employee's perspective, flextime can provide several benefits, including:

Increased Productivity

When employees are able to design their schedules, they are often more motivated and productive. This is because they can work during the times when they are most active and take breaks when they need them. For example, an employee who is a morning person may start their day earlier and take a break in the afternoon, while an employee who is a night person may choose to start their day later and work into the evening.

Increased Job Satisfaction and Improved Work-Life Balance

Most people can attest that a good work-life balance is essential to happiness. After all, who wants to spend their entire life working? However, the demands of modern life can sometimes make it difficult to achieve this balance.

A recent study found that employees who have access to flextime are happier with their jobs and have a better work-life balance than those who do not.

By having a flexible schedule, employees can better manage their time to devote sufficient attention to both their job and personal life. This can lead to lower stress levels and greater overall satisfaction with work and home life.

More Time for Personal errands

Most of us have experienced the frustration of getting personal errands done during traditional work hours. The kids need to be picked up, you need to step in for a doctor's appointment, and there are always a million little things that seem to pop up at the worst possible time.

With flextime, you can schedule your personal errands around your work. When you have the flexibility to take care of personal business during non-peak hours, you can avoid the stress and wasted time that comes with trying to do it all before and after traditional work hours.

Reduced Stress Levels

There's no denying that today's workplace can be stressful. From demanding deadlines to massive workloads, plenty of things can make us feel tense and anxious.

Employees with a flexible schedule have more control over their time. They can distribute their work more evenly throughout the day and take breaks when needed instead of being tethered to a desk all day. As a result, they're less likely to experience burnout.

There are also physiological benefits to flextime. When stressed, our bodies release cortisol, which can lead to health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease. By reducing stress levels, flextime can help improve our physical health as well as our mental well-being.

Professional development

Anyone who has tried to balance work and school knows how difficult it can be to find time for everything. Classes, homework, and exams take up a lot of time, and often the only way to fit everything in is by skipping out on work. However, for employees who have flextime, pursuing a degree or other professional development opportunities is much easier as you can schedule your classes around work hours.

To the Employer

While many think of flextime as a way to help the employee, it also benefits the employer.

Reduced Absenteeism

Absenteeism costs businesses billions of dollars each year in lost productivity.

When employees have the flexibility to choose their hours, they are less likely to miss work due to personal appointments or obligations. As a result, they are more likely to be productive and present during work hours.

Additionally, employees with a good work-life balance and job satisfaction are unlikely to call in sick or take unscheduled days off. This is because they are less at risk of experiencing burnout or other -related health problems.

Reduced Turnover

When workers are given the flexibility to control their schedules, they are often more satisfied with their jobs and less likely to leave for another company. This can save employers a great deal of money in the long run, as it costs much more to hire and train new employees than it does to retain existing ones.

Access to a Wider Pool of Talent and Inclusivity

When employers offer flextime arrangements, they open up their companies to a wider talent pool. This is because many highly qualified workers may not be able or willing to work traditional hours.

A recent survey found that most workers place a high value on having a flexible schedule. 80% of respondents said they would choose a job that offers a flexible schedule over one that does not.

As a result, by offering flextime, employers can tap into a larger pool of potential employees and find the best candidate for the job, regardless of their circumstances.

Cost Savings

This includes both monetary savings and indirect savings. Companies can save on salary costs by offering flextime instead of raises or bonuses. From an indirect standpoint, flextime can lead to fewer stress-related health problems among employees. This, in turn, can lead to lower medical costs for the company.

And since happy, healthy employees are productive employees, flextime can also help to boost a company's bottom line.

The Challenges of Flextime

While flextime offers some advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks.

Difficulty Scheduling Meetings

Traditional work hours tend to be more predictable, making it easier to find a time that works for everyone. However, when employees have different hours, finding a time that everyone can agree on can be challenging. This can lead to frustration and wasted time as people try to coordinate schedules. It could also lead to a feeling of disconnectedness among team members, which could impact morale and productivity.

Less Supervision

Flexitime also presents some challenges for employers, such as less supervision during certain periods and understaffing at times. For example, if several employees telecommute or take advantage of early leave, this can leave the office short-handed at crucial times.

Isolation from Co-Workers

Employees who are not in the same physical space at a given time may have less opportunity to interact. Those who start early or stay late may feel like they are not part of the "core" group, which can lead to feelings of exclusion. This isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and could make it difficult to collaborate on projects and build relationships, rapport, and trust.

Requires Trustworthy Employees

For flextime to be successful, employers need to trust that their employees will work the hours they say they will. This can be difficult to achieve, as some employees may take advantage of the flexible schedule and not actually work the number of hours they claim to have worked.

May Create Divisions

If certain employees are allowed to work a flexible schedule while others are not, this can lead to feelings of resentment and exclusion. Additionally, those who are left out of the flextime arrangement may feel their work is less valued by their employer. As a result, this can create divisions within the workforce.

As a result, carefully planning and implementing a flextime policy is essential to avoid these negative consequences.

Conclusion

It's no secret that the traditional 9–5 workday is becoming a thing of the past. In recent years, more and more companies have been offering their employees the ability to work flexible hours, and it's easy to see why. Flexible working arrangements provide several benefits, including improved work/life balance, increased productivity, and lowered stress levels. Well, it's not all rainbows and butterflies. Flexible working arrangements can also lead to communication difficulties, and feelings of isolation, and some employees may abuse the system.

In a nutshell, companies need to put forth a concerted effort to make flextime work. This includes ensuring everyone is on the same page, offering regular check-ins to ensure that everyone is on track, establishing clear guidelines and expectations, and providing employees with the resources they need to succeed. This may consist of ergonomic furniture and a well-designed office layout that promotes productivity and creativity.

When done right, flexible working arrangements can be a game-changer for employees and employers. But when done wrong, they can cause more harm than good.