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If you’re applying for jobs, you’ve probably heard the word ‘flexitime’ – but what is flexitime?
The past year has seen successful trials of a four day working week in Scandinavia (as well as pressure in the UK for adoption of such a scheme) and an overhaul of working patterns in the UAE.
There’s no doubt that views on working hours have evolved significantly and irreversibly over the past decade with a major focus on work-life balance. Flexitime is part of this shift.
In this blog, we look at flexitime: how does it work and what are the advantages?
Unlike working part-time, employees using flexitime will complete their contracted weekly hours in full.
However, instead of adhering to fixed hours (typically nine to five), employees work the hours that best suit them.
This might simply mean working eight till four. In other cases, staff may have time away from the office or their desk in the middle of the day, opting to work later into the evening or, equally, having started earlier.
Flexitime may also apply to the number or choice of working days in the week. In some firms, employees may have the option to work four longer days as opposed to five.
Other organisations show flexibility by allowing their staff to move between different length weeks throughout the year, depending on project requirements and the needs of both parties.
Some of us are early birds, some are night owls. Almost all of us will find there is a time of day when we work most, or least, effectively.
Flexitime allows for optimisation of working hours to maximise efficiency. For example, if you work best bright and early, but find you struggle to complete tasks in the middle of the day, you may seek a role that allows you to take some time out to exercise and have a break around lunch in exchange for beginning the day more promptly.
On the other hand, if evenings are your peak time for productivity, you may opt for a work schedule that allows for a lie-in.
Another often-cited advantage of flexitime is the opportunity to avoid the busiest commuting times.
A busy commute can be highly stressful and is hardly likely to improve workplace productivity. Those queuing for buses and tubes may also consider the time to be “lost” – not contributing to either work or life in their delicate work-life balance.
In general, staff work best in places they feel happy and valued.
By offering flexitime, an employer immediately demonstrates trust in their staff and clear recognition of the importance of their wellbeing and morale.
Employees who are able to benefit from flexitime may use their flexible schedules to spend more time with their children or with family.
Many will use an adaptable schedule to take more exercise or engage in hobbies. Others simply find it useful to keep on top of domestic admin – or just enjoy avoiding the aforementioned commute!
Happy workers are more productive – and if used effectively, it’s clear to see how flexitime might support staff wellbeing.
A further potential benefit for employers is they may see fewer “sick days” taken and less absenteeism. A more consistent work-life balance should reduce staff burnout and reduce the need for employees to take a day for personal reasons or simply to catch up on their “life admin”.
Flexitime is increasingly seen as a must-have to attract top candidates to an organisation.
We’ve talked about the desirable impact on productivity and wellbeing, but potential hires who have family commitments, or have longer commutes who may not have considered the role on first viewing, may see it as feasible thanks to flexitime.
Given the increase in effective remote working solutions such as Zoom (and other tools that gained traction during the pandemic), it’s hard to imagine a high-performing organisation in 2022 attracting top-tier talent without scope for flexible working.
You want to catch up with your boss at nine before a day of back-to-back meetings – but they don’t begin work till half ten…
This is an obvious issue with flexitime. Team members working out of sync can reduce collaboration and slow the development of workplace relationships.
However, this issue is often solved by the application of core hours e.g when all staff should be online or more simply through good use of workflow and communication tools. HR teams should be proactive in training and encouraging staff to use such systems.
Naturally, flexitime tends to only work fairly when employees are not working significant hours of unpaid overtime, which in some sectors and firms is still considered the norm.
In this article we have discussed how flexitime works and some of its key advantages.
And if you’re eyeing up an application for a flexitime-offering role for the new year, why not tip the balance in your favour with our tailored CV writing service?