What is Flextime? - Benefits and Downsides

Business never stops, and the way it’s done is constantly evolving. This business (re)evolution doesn’t only include the constant improvement of work processes, equipment, and other types of resources but also work schedules and their implementation across various industries.

The traditional 9-to-5 office hours aren’t going anywhere, but there has been a rise in more adaptable approaches to work schedules that have the potential to become complete game-changers. One of those potential paradigm shifters is flextime

What is Flextime? - Benefits and Downsides
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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What Is Flextime?

Flextime or flexible time is a type of work arrangement that allows employees a greater deal of control over their work schedules

In a more traditional work schedule, employees have their work hours set, typically between 9 and 5. With a flextime schedule, employees have more freedom to choose their work hours. Instead of 9 a.m., they can, for example, start their day at 10 a.m. and work until 6 p.m. Or, they could start it at 11 a.m. and end another hour later. 

Flextime schedules shift the emphasis from the traditional view of punctuality and its importance to work performance, which is the notion that you have to be at a certain place at a certain time to do your job correctly, to actual job performance. This new understanding is that as long as an employee is doing a good job, they should have the freedom to choose their work hours. The actual flexibility of the work schedules typically varies between industries and businesses and will be impacted by the individual company’s policies. 

The hours are usually the same, meaning that employees with flextime schedules still work the full 8-hour day (or whatever the employment contract mandates). 

Jobs That Benefit From Flextime?

Flextime schedules can be used across various industries and many different types of jobs. Some of them are:

  • Various office jobs (including administrative roles);
  • Customer service jobs;
  • Different types of consultants and consulting agencies;
  • Part-time jobs;
  • Remote jobs;
  • Freelance and contractor jobs;
  • Graphic design, content writing and other types of creative jobs;
  • Sales and marketing jobs;
  • Retail and hospitality jobs;
  • Healthcare jobs.

Flextime – Benefits and Downsides

Advantages and disadvantages of flextime

Advantages of Flextime

Flextime schedules can benefit employees and employers alike. Their main advantages include:

1. Better Work-Life Balance

Flextime schedules, as the name suggests, offer employees additional flexibility in their work schedules. This can, in turn, give employees more control over their daily schedules and a better shot at improving their work-life balance. It also allows them to easily shift priorities when necessary. 

Additionally, there are studies that show flexible schedules can positively impact employee well-being and reduce their stress levels.

2. Reduced Commuting Time 

Flextime work hours allow employees to avoid rush-hour traffic, reducing the overall duration of their commutes. Employees working on a flexible schedule will waste less time in transit, will produce a lower carbon footprint, and will ultimately feel less stressed about the entire commuting experience. According to some studies, lower commuting times have also been associated with better mental health and overall well-being.

3. Great for Working Parents

Working parents can greatly benefit from flextime schedules. Instead of focusing on their own preparations for work and their morning routine, they can spend more time with their kids and get them ready for school or kindergarten. 

4. Reduction in Absenteeism 

Greater flexibility in work hours allows employees to attend to their personal affairs (e.g., in the case of an emergency) without having to take a day off. This has a direct correlation with a reduction in absenteeism

5. Attracts Diverse Talent

Flextime can help employers attract better talent, as a lot of people/potential employees view flexible schedules as a work benefit. 

6. Increased Employee Autonomy 

By entrusting employees with the responsibility of managing their work hours and workload, flexible schedules promote employee autonomy

7. Increased Employee Productivity 

Instead of performing their job obligations during regular working hours (9-5), employees on flextime schedules have the ability to pinpoint exactly what their most productive working hours are and then do the majority of their tasks during those hours. 

And, to discover when in the day they are most productive, they can use time-tracking apps to help them record and analyze their work patterns. With that data, they’ll be able to identify exactly when they are most effective. If they focus their efforts during those “peak hours”, their productivity will increase.

Disadvantages of Flextime

1. Complicates Various Work Processes

Flextime can, in some cases, end up complicating various types of work processes and operations. For example, if a company organizes a morning meeting and requires everybody to be in attendance, this could pose a problem to all employees that have planned to start their work day later, (e.g. in the afternoon). 

This situation can also prove tricky for the managers tasked with organizing such a meeting, as they will have to take into account many different work schedules. 

2. Can Make Employees Feel Isolated

Because of the variety in work schedules (or, their start and end times), co-workers could end up seeing each other rarely or not at all. This could influence collaboration and make it more difficult for managers to keep the team cohesive. It can also make employees feel isolated, prevent them from making work friends, and weaken their work relationships.  

3. Communication Issues 

Flextime can lead to gaps in communication and delayed responses to emails and work messages. It can also make it more difficult to get a hold of colleagues or team members when dealing with urgent situations that require their immediate input.

4. Difficulty in Tracking Work Hours 

Managing attendance, tracking and recording work hours can be more complex with flexible work schedules. This can ultimately lead to administrative and payroll issues. One way to avoid this pitfall is to use time-tracking apps that allow employees to track their work hours in a convenient way.

How to Implement Flextime Into Your Business?

4 steps to implement flex time into your business

1. Take Employees Into Account

Before you implement flextime into your company, make sure to take your employees’ wishes and needs into account. Hear them out before you make a decision — this can help you ascertain if flexible schedules can actually benefit your company.  

2. Set Guidelines and Clear Goals

After you’ve determined that a flexible schedule can help your business, it’s time to figure out what exact type of flextime you wish to implement (we’ll cover the most common in a bit).

Additionally, you should set rules and guidelines and work on implementing policies to regulate flexible schedules in your company. The first step is to outline what sort of goals you wish to achieve with flextime (e.g., increase productivity, morale, etc.)

3. Observe and Analyze the Effects of Flextime 

After the flextime schedules are in effect, it’s vital to observe and analyze how they affect your business, employees, and your company as a whole. If they're not working as intended, consider how to improve them. If that doesn’t work, maybe think about removing flextime and going back to your original work schedule plan. 

4. Use Time Tracking Software (Optional, but Helpful)

One of the major downsides of flextime schedules is that most of your employees won’t be working the exact same hours. Some employees will show up at 9 a.m., and some may show up at 11 a.m. Others might choose not to show up at all and instead work from their homes. This can create problems, especially when it comes to accurately tracking work hours.  

The best way to mitigate this is to use time-tracking software that allows your employees to easily track their work hours, no matter where or when they choose to start working. By implementing a time-tracking solution you can ensure that payroll information is accurate while also lowering the administrative burden on your employees.  

7 Most Common Types of Flextime Schedules

7 Types of Flextime Schedules

1. Compressed Workweek 

In a compressed work schedule, employees work longer hours on certain days but get an additional day off. For example, an employee could have a 4-day week by working 10 hours per day for 4 days (in order to reach the regular 40 work hours per week requirement).  

2. Variable Day Schedule

A variable day schedule is essentially a flextime schedule that can vary depending on the day of the week. For example, an employee might work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the first part of the week and then switch to working from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the rest of it.

3. Staggered Hours

With a staggered hours work schedule, the workday is divided into a number of shifts. Employees might end up working in overlapping or rotating shifts to ensure they meet all their work obligations.

4. Split Shift

In a split-shift flextime schedule, employees will work a specific number of hours in the morning, after which they will go on a prolonged break (usually a couple of hours). When the break time is over, they will return to their shifts and continue working. For example, employees on this type of schedule could work from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a big break between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

5. Flexible Start and End Times

In this type of flextime schedule, employees have the freedom to choose the start and end of their workdays, usually within a specified time frame. For example, they could be able to choose when they want to put in their 8 hours in a time range of between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. 

6. Summer or Winter Hours 

Some companies might have seasonal flexible schedules where employees work more hours during a specific season and less during another. 

7. Results-Oriented

This type of flextime schedule fully focuses on employee input and results. Employees are allowed total flexibility when it comes to their work schedules as long as they meet the required performance, productivity, and other types of obligations.