Flex Time: Definition and Examples
A growing number of employers are implementing flex time work schedules at their companies. This type of schedule has the potential to be greatly beneficial for both employees and employers.
In this article, we will define flex time, its advantages and disadvantages and the types of jobs where this type of schedule is most common.
Related: Shift Work: Definition, Jobs, Pros and Cons
What is flex time?
Flex time refers to a working schedule with a flexible set of starting and ending hours. Whereas a traditional schedule is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. per day, a flex-time schedule allows employees to arrive, for example, at 8:30 a.m. one day and 10 a.m. the next.
Employees with flex time schedules work the same amount of hours as those with a traditional work schedule. Also, companies with this type of schedule are typically flexible on the particular hours you begin and end work so long as you work all of your required hours for the day.
Related: 11 Online Jobs for Work Flexibility
What type of jobs can use flex time?
Flex time can be beneficial for several different companies and industries. Here are some jobs that use flex-time schedules:
Related: 20 Part-Time Jobs That Pay Well
Implementing or adhering to a flex-time schedule can be beneficial for both employees and employers. Here are some of flex time's advantages:
1. Promotes work-life balance
The main advantage of a flex-time schedule is the flexibility it allows. With employer approval, employees can choose what times they'd like to start and end their workday. This allows them to have more control over a healthy work-life balance.
2. Eases public transportation coordination
When you have a flex-time schedule, you're able to coordinate the time you head into the office with public transportation schedules.
3. Helpful for working parents
For parents whose children start school early in the morning or end their school day earlier than the average workday, flex time schedules can be highly beneficial.
4. Avoids traffic
With a flex-time schedule, you can coordinate the hours you head into the office based on rush hour traffic. Avoiding a lengthy commute helps prevent stress, headaches and wasted time spent behind the wheel.
5. Attracts prospective employees
Allowing flex time can be beneficial for employers because many working professionals are enticed by the option to choose their working hours.
6. Increases productivity
If you're more productive at night, in the early morning or the middle of the afternoon, flex time schedules allow you to work during the hours where you'd be most efficient. This is beneficial not only for you, but also for your company.
Along with its advantages, flex time can also be disadvantageous for employees and employers. The following are some reasons why:
1. Complicates daily operations
If you're an employee who doesn't work until the latter half of the day but there's a company meeting in the morning, you'll likely going to have to come in for work. This is not only a hassle for you but also a hassle for any manager who tries to schedule their own meetings and needs you to be in attendance.
2. It can be isolating
Because of the varied schedules, it's possible you won't see your co-workers as often. If you're friends with your co-workers but you suddenly work different schedules, a sense of unity can be lost.
3. It can be hard to coordinate
With so many employees working flex-time schedules, it can be difficult and time-consuming for the human resources staff or your supervisor to determine when you'll be working.
4. Overtime confusion
With employees clocking in at different hours, it can make it difficult for managers to monitor any overtime hours and therefore, the payment for these hours.
How to use flex time at your company
If you're looking to implement flex-time schedules at your company, here are the steps to consider:
1. Consider your employees
The first step in deciding whether or not to allow flex time schedules is determining whether or not it will have a positive effect on your company's employees and productivity. Be sure to address everyone's concerns when deciding whether or not this type of schedule would work for your business.
As you decide how to implement flex-time scheduling, make sure to take into consideration employee opinions. The more they're involved, the more they'll embrace the idea of switching to a new type of work schedule.
2. Develop guidelines and clarify goals
As you determine the varied schedules you'd like to allow, put some rules and policies in place. For example, if you work best in the early morning, it's unreasonable to assume that everyone else should, too.
Make sure the schedules you're creating are conducive to a productive work environment while keeping your employees in mind. It's also important to outline what you want these flex-time schedules to achieve for your company whether it be increased productivity or increased employee morale.
After flex-time schedules have been put in place, it's important to observe their effects on your company. If the schedules you currently have in place aren't working, consider how you can improve them or whether a flex-time schedule isn't right for your company. Make sure to check in with employees to see if this type of schedule is truly working in their favor.
Examples of flex time schedules
Here are some examples of flex time schedules:
1. Variable day schedule
A variable day schedule consists of flex-time schedules that vary by the day. For example, Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2. Staggered hours
This refers to a flex-time schedule with a consistent start and end time no matter the day of the week. For example, it could consist of working Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
3. Split shift
In a split shift, you work a certain number of hours, take a lengthy break mid-shift and continue your shift hours later. For example, you could work Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a break from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
4. Short-term flex time
In this case, an employee's flex-time schedule is set for a certain time period and then it changes. For example, from January 1 to April 30, you could work Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. When May 1 rolls around, your schedule would then change.
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