Standard work schedules are too restrictive for some. Offering staggered hours can be a manageable solution.
9 to 5 does not a one-size-fits-all make. Some staff f'ing hate rush hours. Others are morning mavens, peaking early. Night owls need cranes to rip them from the bed but don't mind staying later.
Flex-time is a cheap and cheerful solution. It gives people some freedom to choose their work hours and improves work-life balance. The employer gains in attracting and retaining solid talent.
It works pretty simply. Say a typical day for salaried staff runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Flex-timer early birds might swoop in at 7:00 in the morning, flying off that afternoon at 3:30. Nocturnals could catch daybreak Zzzz and show up 10:30 a.m., then close up shop evenings around 7:00.
How Employers Win
The huge benefit for companies is an edge in recruiting and retaining a good crew. Forcing standardized hours punishes the flexibility-frantic. Unwanted turnover's a typical result.
With flex-time, staffers can still get all their work done. Productivity gains are standard because staggered hours create periods without interruptions. It also helps contain costs since there's no need to hire fill-ins. Keeping premises open longer is a cinch between sun-risers and evening stayers.
Some small businesses might need all hands on deck all day. Flexible scheduling gets in the way. Parts of every workday there'll be one or more staffers away. They may miss out on important meetings and communications. Hiccups in workflow follow.
Careful too how this highly visible perk's doled out. Trying to hide favouritism in who gets to use it will boomerang. Don't be stunned if the whole joint starts baying for this privilege. Good luck managing the schedules!
A smaller risk is an abuse of the program. It's feasible a shady worker claims to be showing up (or staying) as promised when they aren't. They'd be shaving time yet paid for full days.
Who It Appeals To Most
Arguably any employee could benefit from flex-time. In practice, some people value it highly. Staff who can't avoid personal duties during work hours are prime contenders.
Childcare may compel mommies to come in later. Dads could depart before quitting time to pick up and tend to junior. Eldercare duties might require similar arrangements.
A worker with special needs might have to attend daily therapy. Flex-hours can also attract talent despite a long commute. Regrettably, moonlighters love this perk as well.
Making It Work Well
Like any substantial change in procedure, it doesn't hurt, to begin with, a trial. Agree to specific work schedules. Set clear performance expectations. Test things for a month or two. Tweak as required, or scrub if results disappoint.
With brand new hires, it helps to start them on regular hours. There's more chance to learn routines, meet all the players, and bond with colleagues. For retailers, mobile apps allow self-adjustments. Associates can check schedules and revise availability. Shift swapping is simple with instant peer access.
Flexible work systems inspire loyalty but should include a tracking tool to record hours worked. Trust is awesome. Verification makes the whole program awesome-er.