As you may have noticed, the way we work has been changing over the last few years. The pandemic has made new working concepts more prevalent. To be fair, some of them already existed, like the hybrid work model for example. However, they never really got the chance to expand and show their potential. Since then, employers and employees have had time to observe the benefits of flexible working hours arrangements. Studies have also shown the positive outcomes of flexible and hybrid work . For this reason, we, at deskbird, would like to explore this topic by sharing additional information about flexitime. In this article, you will discover what it is and how it works through different examples. Like everything in life, this model has pros and cons, which we will discuss in further detail. Are you ready to take your company a step further into the future of work?
Definition of flexi time
What does flexitime mean? Also called flex time, this concept is an adaptable working model where team members can organise their work hours according to their personal requirements. It is a people-centric approach that responds to employees’ needs and provides many positive outcomes to businesses that implement it.
To be clear, workers are still performing for the same amount of working hours as they would in a traditional working schedule. The main difference is employees can choose when they work!
Examples of flexible working hours arrangements
Are you wondering how this can work in practice? We understand that this might not be easy to imagine, but it actually is. Here are a few examples of how flexible working hours arrangements can take place. The only condition is that employees operate the same number of working hours as if they have a fixed timetable.
Many companies choose to adopt a flexi time policy based on flexible hours and core hours within the same day. For instance, workers can begin to operate between 7 am and 9:30 am, this is a flexible timing. From 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, they are required to be working. Then, the lunch break time becomes flexible again, it can be taken from 12:30 pm to 3 pm. Back to core hours from 3 pm to 6 pm, and then flexible timings from 6 pm to 8 pm.
For more clarity, here is what it can look like:
7 am - 9:30 am: flexible arrival time;
9:30 am - 12:30 am: core hours;
12:30 am - 3 pm: flex lunch break hours;
3 pm - 6 pm: core hours;
6 pm - 8 pm: adjustable departure hours.
This flexi time system is also becoming very trendy among companies that want to provide more adaptability to their workforce. Its principle is basically to condense your weekly working hours within fewer days. For instance, doing 40 hours per week in 4 days instead of 5. It provides a better work-life balance as your employees have their free time over more days.
This is another type of flexible time arrangement. Instead of having to work a certain amount of time per week, your working hours are annualised and can be performed according to the needs of the company or of your collaborators. An annualised hours plan is ideal for industries with seasonal business peaks.
Advantages of a flexi time policy
Lower stress and fatigue
By allowing your employees to adapt their work schedules, you help decrease their stress and fatigue levels. They feel less pressured to arrive at work on time if they are stuck in traffic, for example. If their child gets sick and they need to take a day off, knowing they will be able to make up those hours on another day of the week removes a source of stress and mental fatigue.
Improve work-life balance
Flexible working hours arrangement also gives more opportunity for people to balance their work and personal life. They can control their schedule better in order to have time for their family, their hobbies and most importantly, for themselves. By offering them a better work-life balance, you contribute to their well-being which then leads to greater productivity and engagement.
➡️ Family, private life, work and, if it is possible, a hobby - to balance everything is sometimes quite difficult, Gabriel Rath has told us in an interview how work life balance works.
Having a flexible work environment means your employees can show up to the office at different times without being stressed by commuting. What a relief not to drive to the office during peak hours and to be able to avoid traffic jams or packed public transport! Also a survey revealed that 71% of people prefer to work from home in order to reduce the stress of commuting to the office.
With this type of working model, team members can arrive late in the morning and leave later at night, or start their day early and finish at the beginning of the afternoon.
Increase employee engagement
Giving greater flexibility to your employees highlights different aspects of your company’s workplace culture. This people-centric approach shows them that they are trusted, valued and that their well-being matters. Flexi time is sometimes even mentioned as part of the company’s benefits and can play a bigger role in the decision-making process for potential new employees than the salary that is offered.
Take advantage of the energy cycles
While some of us are early birds, others may perform better at night. Taking energy cycles into account is very important as it can totally shift the productivity level of your collaborators. By letting them work at the time of the day that suits them the best, you also ensure that their tasks are done in a shorter period of time.
Not only do energy cycles and a better work-life balance play a big part in your employees’ productivity, but so does their work environment. Those who work flexi time can adapt their working time to their day and therefore, their working environment. For example, for people who are working from home, waiting to start their day when everybody is gone to work or school is a smart move in terms of productivity.
HSBC explains that 61% of companies that implemented flexible working schedules, saw an improvement in productivity.
Reduce employee turnover and absenteeism
Allowing people to adjust their schedules according to their personal needs reduces absenteeism. Indeed, if team members are unfit to work, they can adapt their agenda and focus on their work when they feel better for instance. Also, considering the Great Resignation movement that is currently happening, workforce retention is becoming an important goal for many businesses.
An article by Forbes highlights that 97% of employees do not want to return to in-office work full-time!
Offering workplace flexibility is one of the best solutions to overcome this issue (among others). It is a powerful benefit a company can provide, encouraging collaborators to stay.
As much as hybrid working options have become a key element to draw in new candidates, flexi time is also a big factor in terms of effective recruitment. As employees pay more attention to their well-being, improving their work-life balance with more flexible working conditions is a plus for any business that wants to attract talent.
One of the few disadvantages of more flexibility in your working environment is a decrease in communication. Besides, with people not working at the same time and on the same days, some communication issues may appear. To avoid that, it is important to implement clear guidelines and encourage collaborative work when at the office together.
Your team members need to have access to great communication channels and to shared workspaces where they can easily meet when on-site. You can determine with them what is needed to improve employee interaction and communication. To stay on point, check with them regularly if those requirements evolve and ought to be reviewed.
Require great organization
This may be the tricky part when starting to implement more flexibility into your workplace. How do you monitor your employees' working time? While some may be working less than they should, some others may be working more. Indeed, especially with a total flexibility pattern, it is easy to lose track of time.
To solve this issue, some modern technology tools can support you. For example, workspace management software, like deskbird’s, can help you, especially through week planning, desk booking options and detailed data analytics reports. Thanks to this tool, you have an overview of how your office space is used, when and by whom.
To summarise, flexible working hours arrangements provides your workforce with the advantages of freelance life, while also having the benefits of being an employee. How do you do that? Implementing flexi time, which is one of the most positive aspects of being self-employed. Then, employees have the freedom to decide about their own timetable according to their personal life, their energy cycles, any unplanned events, etc.
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