Flextime Description, Hours, and Benefits

Flextime can benefit both businesses and their workers

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Employees don’t have one-size-fits-all schedules. Many aspects of their personal lives can conflict with the standard 9-to-5, Monday through Friday hours. Whatever the reason, most employees appreciate being able to follow a flexible schedule, also known as flextime.

Flextime allows employees to customize their schedules within a certain range of hours and days. About 27 percent of U.S. employers and organizations offered flextime to their employees in 2014. Gallup put it at 33 percent by 2017, so the concept is gaining in popularity, particularly in the marketing and advertising sectors. It can benefit employees and employers alike.

What Hours Does Flextime Include?

There are no set timeframes that flex time must cover or include, nor are there any legal requirements that employers must offer their workers flextime. It’s at the discretion of each business to decide if it wants to offer this type of arrangement, to whom, and what days and hours it's willing to let employees work. Examples of flextime given to employees can include:

  • Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Can Anyone Have Flextime?

Flextime is possible for any job function, but it’s much more difficult to offer it to customer- and client-focused employees. This is especially the case when it’s expected that those employees be on premises during certain hours.

Other industries that aren’t customer- and client-driven can allow workers to come in a certain number of hours a week at their own discretion. Still other industries, such as information technology, might operate on a 24-hour cycle and need staff both day and night. A flextime schedule is in everyone’s best interest for these businesses.

Why Should You Give Your Employees Flextime?

A work-life balance is among the greatest benefits of flextime. Employees can have all sorts of conflicts in their personal lives that don’t allow for a typical 9-to-5 day, but they nonetheless need to work a full-time position for financial reasons.

Some employees have to coordinate a childcare schedule with their spouses. It would help them considerably if they came in earlier and left earlier to pick up their children. Others might be going back to school and need to leave early to attend classes. Still others have ongoing doctors' appointments that cause them to come in late and leave late on a regular basis.

Another benefit of flextime is allowing employees to avoid rush hour. Any opportunity to avoid sitting in traffic is welcome for employees with long commutes. This unpaid perk can keep a highly qualified employee on staff and prevent her from looking for a position closer to home.

What's in It for Businesses?

Depending on how flextime is broken out, you might find that you have lower overhead costs. If employees work drastically different hours, they can share office space and equipment, saving the company money.

But the bottom line is that happy employees who aren't stressed to the max trying to maintain a work-life balance are less likely to go job hunting. They want to stay put, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management. And happy employees are productive employees, so there's definitely something in it for your company.

Flextime can also reduce those disruptive, unplanned absences when an employee calls in at the last minute. You can let him take care of whatever he needs to take care of and schedule his shift at another time.

Watch for trends. Does he frequently call in on Wednesdays? Ask him if working Wednesday evening or Saturday morning would be more doable for him. If so, you can achieve a little more consistency and productivity in your workplace.

Implementing Flextime in Your Company

It’s important to set a policy for both employees and managers. Flextime can be offered to anyone, but it must not discriminate. Employers can limit flextime to certain situations. The best place to spell out a policy like this is in the employee handbook.

Be sure to include your expectations as to what each employee on flextime is expected to accomplish, as well as how and when. In other words, give her a flextime job description, just as you would give her a regular job description if you were planting her at a desk during all normal business hours.

Set up a specific means of communication between you if you're not both going to be on the premises at the same time.

Her hours don't have to be a free-for-all, nor should they be. You're not saying, "Work when you feel like it." You're accommodating her life by changing her schedule, not giving her carte blanche to work whenever she wants on an ever-changing schedule.

A Final Word

Giving employees flextime allows them to schedule their lives around work without sacrificing work productivity. When employees are free to get their personal objectives accomplished while still working full time, they're free to focus on doing the job at hand. They're not worrying about their personal lives or how they’ll get everywhere on time.