Flextime, often considered a benefit or at least a perk of the job, is starting to become more popular in response to this resentment. Thanks to the rise of the “anywhere” worker, startup culture that favours flexibility and more casual office culture, and the technology that makes remote work possible, business owners can give their workers more flexibility in scheduling and working. Though no strict definition of flextime exists, it usually refers to a system where office workers must complete a specified number of hours of work every week - but with more flexible start and end times. Sometimes, that means a required “core” time when all workers must be present, but other times, it may be completely within the employees’ control.
So what are the benefits to having such a system?
Advantages of flextime
These are some of the most important advantages to note:
- More creativity. According to a Dialpad interview with Qubit IT expert Kyle Eve, giving employees flextime encourages more creativity. The variation in hours allows people to find work more stimulating and memorable, giving them different experiences and allowing them to see and address problems in new ways. That outside-the-box thinking leads to new, better ideas, and more creative solutions to existing issues.
- Higher productivity. You’ve probably noticed that some of your coworkers are more productive early in the morning, while others start slow and become more alert in the afternoon. This isn’t a coincidence or a personality quirk; according to a report in Nature Communications, some people are hard-wired to be naturally “morning people,” while others are genetically predisposed to be “night owls.” Giving people more freedom in choosing their hours worked means they’ll gravitate toward their most productive schedule, resulting in more work done.
- Better employee communication. You might think that the overlapping schedules would actually cause a disruption in employee communication—and under some circumstances, that may be the case. However, if implemented carefully, flextime can improve employee communication by establishing firmer, set “communication hours,” while remaining hours of the day are used for heads-down, focused work.
- Less employee stress. Employees have a life outside work, which often involves doctor’s appointments for sick kids, planning major home repairs, or just running some casual errands. Giving workers more flexibility with their hours means they’ll be less stressed when confronting these issues, and more focused on work when they’re there. That will lead to higher levels of productivity, as well as job satisfaction.
- Higher attractiveness to prospective candidates. Many modern workers prefer flextime arrangements to the typical 9-5 workday. Offering flextime as one of your company’s benefits, or just an element of your culture, is a good way to attract more talented candidates. In industries that rely on top talent to be effective, such as in tech, this is almost a necessity; you’ll need to offer flextime just to keep up with the offers your competitors are making to the most talented individuals in the industry.
- Wider talent pool. Thanks to the internet, we can remain in communication with people all around the world—which means your business can work with people in South Africa, Russia, France, the United States, or anywhere else you choose. Offering flextime increases your talent pool because some international workers won’t be willing or able to accommodate time zone differences that separate your countries. It also opens the door to individuals who may have other obligations in their lives, such as part-time jobs or school schedules. Because you’ll have more candidates to choose from, you’ll have a higher likelihood of finding the perfect candidate for your open positions.
- Higher retention rates. The cost of losing an employee can be devastating; you’ll experience a shortage in productivity, at least temporarily, you may have to pay a severance package, and you’ll need to spend weeks to months finding a new candidate and training them for their new position. Giving workers flextime keeps them more satisfied with their existing jobs, making them less liable to leave in times of high stress, and less likely to seek work elsewhere.
Disadvantages to note
Flextime is a fantastic system with many benefits for business owners and employees alike, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. To be successful, flextime requires that your employees use it effectively—to their advantage, and without gaming the system. Some employees won’t understand how to best use flextime, and some will abuse it. If not coordinated carefully, it could also cause gaps in communication.
The solution is to create a unique flextime system for your company and inform your employees of best practices they should follow to make the most of the system. With proper oversight and implementation, flextime can offer your business far more advantages than disadvantages.