Flextime is a work arrangement that lets employees manage their work and personal lives, giving them the liberty to make their own work schedule.
Companies adopt flextime systems due to their convenience, low maintenance, and ease of management. They’ve become quite popular during the pandemic-induced lockdowns — when companies had to shift to more flexible remote work.
In this article, we’ll talk about flex time and its five types. We’ll also cover the benefits of adopting a flextime schedule and highlight the seven key steps to implementing a successful flextime schedule.
This article includes:
(Click on the link to go to a particular section)
- What is Flextime?
- 5 Types of Flextime Arrangements
- 4 Prominent Benefits of Flextime for Businesses
- 3 Top Benefits of Flextime for Employees
- 6 Key Measures to Introduce Flex Time into Your Team
Let’s get started.
What is flextime?
Flextime (or flexitime) is a schedule with flexible hours in which employees can alter the start and end times of a workday to accommodate work and personal lives effectively. It can be a short-term or long-term arrangement depending on the employees’ situation and work requirements.
Although flexitime doesn’t have a fixed start or end time, it has a fixed number of daily working hours and core hours.
What are core working hours?
Core hours refer to the number of hours in a workday during which all employees have to be available, no matter how different their schedules are. Employees can discuss issues and make decisions in real-time during core hours.
Typically, a company decides core time depending on the employees’ role and locations, projects, and operational needs.
For example, you can ask staff members to be available without fail from 10 am to 11 am to discuss their task progress.
Let’s take a look at the different types of flextime arrangements.
5 types of flextime arrangements
Here are a few popular flextime arrangements to facilitate workplace flexibility and accommodate the company’s requirements:
1. Remote work
Remote work involves employees working from home or any other location outside the company’s physical office, like a cafe or a co-working space. In addition to letting employees choose where to work from, this setup often gives them the liberty to work at their own pace.
For example, a remote employee can travel on a working day and work after settling in.
Learn more about fully remote work from our comprehensive article.
2. Job sharing
In this flextime arrangement, two part-time employees work on a job in shifts to substitute a full-time employee. However, these employees need to coordinate and communicate with each other to ensure maximum productivity.
For example, an information technology customer service agent can work from 8 am to 12 pm while another can take over the work at 1 pm and continue till 5 pm.
3. Customized work hours
With this system, employees have the flexibility to choose their work hours. This means that two employees may not start or end work at the same time.
For example, an employee can come into the office at 8 am and another employee can do the same at 10 am.
However, employees need to consider the core time and cover the minimum flexible working hours.
4. Flexible work week
The flexible workweek lets employees choose how they want to complete their weekly work hours. According to this flextime system, an employee can take a long weekend off after completing the minimum weekly work hours.
For example, if an employee completes all their work in four days, they can take a day off and have a three-day weekend.
5. Comp time
In this arrangement, employees can work extra hours on busy days without receiving any overtime pay. Instead, they can take time off on days when there is little work.
For example, an accountant who puts in extra hours during an audit can take a comp time and work less later.
Now let’s see how flextime can help businesses.
4 prominent benefits of flextime for businesses
Although flex time gives companies less control over employee work schedules, it has several benefits. Here are some of them:
1. Decreases employee absences
In a fixed work time system, employees may apply for time off to carry out any personal task during a working day. Even if the task takes only an hour, the employee may spend at least half a day off.
For example, an employee who couldn’t reach the office on time due to rush hour won’t be tagged as tardy.
2. Attracts top talent
Employees usually seek employers that offer flexible working hours and telecommuting.
As a result, you can attract more talent by offering a flexible working schedule.
For example, a skilled employee may prefer a job that permits remote work over one that necessitates office work to avoid a tiring commute and save travel expenses.
Similarly, an employee with a sick spouse may require flexible work timings to attend to emergencies. They’re more likely to choose a job with flexible schedules than one with fixed work timings.
3. Improves employee productivity
According to the Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of surveyed employees felt more productive with flexitime work.
Flexible work reduces burnout by letting employees manage their tasks and breaks effectively. Employees can take breaks if they feel distracted and work for longer stretches when they feel productive.
For example, an employee excited for a football match can watch the match in between work hours and complete unfinished tasks at a later time.
Similarly, a flextime employee can take an hour-long break when they feel stressed and resume working once they feel refreshed.
4. Saves money
Flexible work doesn’t require your employee to come down to the office daily.
This means that you can get a smaller office space and buy refreshments, tables, computers, etc., only for employees that need to work from the office.
As a result, you can save a lot of money by adopting a flexible schedule.
Additionally, flextime increases employee retention by boosting job satisfaction. You can save the money you would otherwise spend on hiring and coaching new employees.
This is especially true for senior employees who have acquired knowledge exclusive to your field and clients. When a senior employee resigns, you may lose the money you invested on their promotions, paid leaves, and other incentives.
3 top benefits of flextime for employees
Now, let’s look at the benefits an employee experiences with a flexitime schedule:
1. Improves work life balance
In a traditional office system, employees have fixed start and end timings, and they may not attend to any personal work during the time period.
But employees don’t have to work for eight hours straight in a flextime schedule. They can carry out their personal responsibilities in between work hours, helping increase employee satisfaction by improving work life balance.
For example, an employee can simply schedule a personal task any time before or after the core time. Similarly, working parents can start their workday early to accommodate childcare in their schedule.
Likewise, employees can plan an hour-long doctor’s appointment and work an extra hour to make up for the missed time.
This flexibility helps increase employee morale and loyalty. Such employees are more likely to be engaged with the company and put in extra work when required.
2. Ensures better health
Flexitime lets you cultivate a safer work environment and ensures that your workforce remains healthy.
Flexible work arrangement limits the number of employees in the workplace by enabling remote or hybrid work. This means fewer employees come to the office or interact in person, reducing the chances of spreading diseases like Covid, viral flu, etc.
Additionally, since employees won’t be commuting often in flexible remote work, they may not interact with the outside world frequently. This further reduces the probability of getting sick during a pandemic and ensures employee well-being.
3. Provides more opportunities for development
Flextime gives employees more time to upskill themselves. They can attend online or offline classes to advance their careers without worrying about missing work.
With flex time, a remote employee in New York can attend an online class streamed from France, even if it’s scheduled during working hours.
In addition to professional development, employees can work on their health, personal lives, and other interests.
For example, an employee can attend a yoga class after working for an hour in the morning without jeopardizing their work hours.
Now that we know the benefits of flextime, let’s look at the steps to implement flex time into your team.
6 key measures to introduce flex time into your team
Although flextime has several benefits, implementing it in a workplace can be difficult due to lack of familiarity, poor flexible scheduling, and other reasons. To ensure smooth implementation, you need to follow some tested and proven steps.
Here are a few helpful measures to smoothly introduce flextime into your team:
1. Clarify employee roles
You need to ensure that employees know their roles and responsibilities and that of their coworkers.
They should know who is in charge of a particular project, whom they need to report to, or where they should apply for leaves. Without such clarity, employees might end up blaming each other over issues.
2. Set clear goals
It might be difficult for a flextime manager and staff members to keep track of work progress as flextime doesn’t entail regular working hours.
To overcome this, team members need to set project goals, discuss tasks, deadlines, work progress, etc., with each other regularly.
For example, when an IT (Information Technology) employee has clear deadlines, they can structure their work hours better. Other team members can fast track or sideline a related task accordingly.
3. Set communication guidelines
Due to a lack of in-person communication, a flextime employee can have weaker bonds with other team members. This could result in frequent misunderstandings and low employee engagement.
You need to set guidelines for employees regarding the frequency of meetings, emails, online video calls, and other communication. Based on the work situation, you can bring all employees together once every month or conduct a weekly video conference.
4. Establish core employee hours
Collect information regarding employee flextime, including the time they remain unavailable. Based on this data, you can establish core hours and plan necessary activities.
For instance, let’s say all your employees sign in at different times but are available every day from 1 pm to 4 pm. You can set your core hours within this time frame.
Likewise, if you plan to adapt to a comp flextime policy, you need to limit the clock in and clock out time. If not, employees could start working at odd hours, disrupting the team’s work.
Even after setting regular employee hours, you may face difficulties scheduling employees with a flextime approach.
Thankfully, you can use employee scheduling tools, like Time Doctor, to help with that.
Time Doctor lets you set a fixed or flexible schedule for each employee. It then automatically marks flextime employees as ‘Present’, ‘Partially Absent’, and ‘Absent’ depending on when they start their shift.
Most importantly, the tool lets you record the time they spend working during a shift. This way, you can see whether employees meet their minimum work hour limit and log overtime hours.
Here are some of its other key features:
- Offers a dedicated interactive and silent time tracking feature.
- Generates in-depth productivity reports.
- Offers a payroll management feature by integrating with Wise, PayPal, and Gusto.
- Lets a manager assign projects and tasks to each employee.
- Has a Chrome extension that integrates with popular tools like Asana, ClickUp, and Bitrix24.
5. Develop a flextime policy
Once you establish a working schedule, plan and design a flextime policy. A formal policy will lay out flextime rules and guidelines to avoid misunderstandings.
For example, an employee can refer to the flextime policy about how frequently they can change their flexible schedule before consulting the employer or manager.
Check out our article to create a successful flextime policy for your employees.
6. Start on a trial basis
After carefully discussing and planning a flexible work schedule, you can implement it on a trial basis. This way, you can ensure your team is comfortable with the flexible schedule before approving it.
You can also suspend the flexible work arrangement if it isn’t suitable for the company’s operation needs or affects employee productivity.
Flextime offers various benefits such as employee satisfaction, better productivity, and reduced absenteeism.
However, you need to ensure that your organization’s flexible work schedule is well-planned and implemented smoothly to prevent any issues.
Refer to the steps suggested in this article to navigate through the flextime implementing process with ease.
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.