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The Benefits of Allowing Employees a Flexible Schedule: Work Flexibility at Its Best

Maria Petit

It’s no secret that people are working longer hours than ever before. In fact, according to a study by Gallup, American employees now work an average of 47 hours per week, that’s a lot of time! Therefore, for many people, it’s challenging to balance work with other obligations, such as taking care of children or elderly parents. 

That’s why flexible work schedules are becoming increasingly popular. A flexible work schedule allows employees to tailor their work hours to meet their specific needs. This can be extremely beneficial for both employees and employers alike! Are you ready to shake off some of the rigidity of the old-school workplace? Join us in this article!

We call all agree that an organization’s ability to adapt to change will determine its success or failure in the marketplace. This is especially important in the current ever-changing workplace. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses need to be flexible and responsive to the needs of their employees. You wouldn’t want your competition to take away your staff!

The Beginnings of Flexible Work

Just because flexible work is considered a modern concept, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been around for a while. In fact, it has been around for centuries! The first recorded instance of flexible work was in 18th century England when factory workers were allowed to choose their own work hours. This allowed them to better balance their work with their home life. 

In the early 20th century, the concept of flexible work began to gain traction in the United States. In 1918, Henry Ford introduced the eight-hour workday and five-day workweek for his employees. This was a major shift from the traditional six-day workweek that was common at the time. 

By allowing his employees to work fewer hours, Ford was able to increase productivity and efficiency in his factories. This flexible work schedule quickly caught on, and soon other businesses began adopting similar practices!

Nowadays, flexible work has a lot of shades, it’s not only about working from home. Let’s review the types of flexible work!

Types of Flexible Work

There are many different types of flexible work, some of which are often confused with one another. The most common types of flexible work are: 

Remote Work

This type of flexible work it’s often confused with telecommuting, and while they can be very similar, they are not the same! Remote work is when an employee works outside of a traditional office setting, such as from home, a co-working space, or even a coffee shop! 

According to Marinho et al, 2021 during remote working employees complete at home using information and communication technologies to aid flexible working practices. 

One important feature of remote work is that employees are not exactly part of the company and may have more flexibility with their schedules. 

Telecommuting

On the other hand, telecommuting is when employees have the opportunity to telework or work from home, a couple of days a week. This arrangement can be beneficial for both employees and employers. Employees can avoid the commute and save on gas, while employers can save on office space and overhead costs.

Flexible Hours

Flexible hours are a work arrangement that allows employees to vary their arrival and departure times, as well as their daily work schedule. This can be helpful for employees who have childcare or other obligations outside of work. 

Compressed Workweeks

A compressed workweek is when an employee works fewer days but the same number of hours each week. For example, an employee may work four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days. This can be beneficial for employees who want to have a long weekend.

Job Sharing

Job sharing is when two employees share the same job. They both work part-time hours and split the responsibilities of the position between them. This can be beneficial for employees who want to reduce their hours but don’t want to give up their job entirely.

Sabbaticals

A sabbatical is a period of time, usually, several months, when an employee takes time off from work. This can be used for travel, personal development, or other pursuits. Sabbaticals are typically taken every few years and are a great way for employees to recharge and come back to work refreshed!

These are just a few of the many different types of flexible work arrangements. As you can see, there is a lot of room for creativity when it comes to flexible work!

Below, Upwork offers us an image of the most common flexible work arrangements!

The Benefits of Flexible Work

At first, you already have the approval of your staff to offer flexible work! According to Ivanti Research, a whopping 71% of employees would rather have the ability to remote work than be given a promotion at work. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Of course, there are many benefits of flexible work for both employees and employers. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones: 

Increased Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is the term used to describe the effort to split one’s time and energy between work and the other important aspects of life. The main goal of achieving work-life balance is to reduce stress and promote a healthy lifestyle. 

Yet, most of the time is challenging to accomplish this balance. Frequently, employees feel rushed and that they do not have enough time for the people and activities they enjoy outside of work. Is it because of bad self-management or your current workplace arrangement is not working?

Employees who have good work-life balance can better manage their time, set priorities, and meet deadlines and are less likely to experience burnout or absenteeism

When work feels like just one piece of a larger puzzle, it can be easier for employees to find meaning in what they do and maintain a healthy perspective. Flexible work arrangements are one way to help achieve work-life balance, by giving employees more control over their time and schedule.

Don’t forget, 68% of U.S. employees reported a lack of work-life balance directly impacts their job morale and motivation!

Improved Productivity and Creativity

Improved productivity and creativity are often seen as the domain of the corporate world – something that is best achieved in a traditional office setting. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that flexible work arrangements can also lead to improved productivity and creativity in the workplace. 

For example, telecommuting can allow employees to create a work-life balance that suits their individual needs, resulting in fewer distractions and a greater focus on task completion. Similarly, flexible scheduling can give employees the ability to plan their work around personal commitments, leading to increased efficiency and decreased stress levels. 

The ability to design a work schedule that works best for each individual can also improve collaboration and communication among team members 

In addition, research has shown that employees who are allowed to take regular breaks during the day are more likely to report higher levels of creativity and productivity. 

Reduced Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Absenteeism is when an employee does not come to work when they are scheduled to do so. While presenteeism is when an employee comes to work but is not able to be productive because they are ill or have a personal issue that is affecting them.

Both of these can negatively impact the workplace, as well as individual work, and this is when flexible work arrangements come to play as they can help to reduce both absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace. 

For example, flexible scheduling can allow employees to take care of personal commitments during times when they would otherwise be at work. This can lead to fewer missed days and a more productive workforce. 

Successful Recruitment

Flexible work arrangements can also help to improve recruitment. In today’s job market, flexible work is increasingly seen as a key employee benefit. A survey by Glassdoor found that 4 in 5 employees want benefits or perks more than a pay raise.

Flexible work is a great perk!

In addition, offering flexible work arrangements can help to attract and retain top talent in the workplace. Top performers are often looking for workplaces that offer flexible work options so that they can better manage their time and commitments outside of work. 

Better Employee Engagement

According to the Gallup State of the American Workplace study, disengaged employees cost businesses $483 to $605 billion each year. And, recently Gallup found that 85% of employees are actively disengaged at work. Yes, imagine the economic losses this is causing!

However, can be the game-changer move! Flexible work arrangements can lead to improved employee engagement in the workplace. Employees who are allowed to design their own work schedules are often more engaged and invested in their work. 

Flexible work arrangements can help to improve communication and collaboration among team members

When employees have flexible schedules, they are often able to better coordinate with each other and share information more effectively.

Staff Retention

Staff retention is a critical issue for any organization. The costs of recruiting and training new staff can be significant, and turnover can disrupt the operations of a business. 

Flexible work arrangements show employees that their employer is willing to work with them on their schedules

Allowing employees to have more control over their work schedules can help to improve job satisfaction and loyalty. In turn, this can lead to increased productivity and profitability. 

Ease of Management

Ease of management in the workplace is often brought up in discussions of flexible work arrangements. The concern is that if employees have more freedom with their time, they will take advantage of the system and not be as productive. 

While this may be true in some cases, there are also many benefits to ease of management that should be considered. When employees feel trusted and empowered, they are often more motivated to do their best work.

Reduced Office Space and Commute Costs

One of the most important benefits of these arrangements is that they can help to reduce office space and commute costs. By allowing employees to work from home or other remote locations, businesses can reduce their need for office space. 

And by eliminating the need for employees to commute to and from work, businesses can also save on transportation costs. In addition, you will save up money by retaining your staff!

There are many benefits of flexible work arrangements for both employees and employers, and when implemented successfully, flexible work arrangements can be a great way to improve productivity and profitability.

Nonetheless, there is still some hesitation about implementing these arrangements, why?

What is Holding Back Going Full Flexible?

There are many benefits of flexible work arrangements, but there are also some challenges that need to be considered. Let’s address them!

  • Equipment: One of the challenges is ensuring that employees have the proper equipment and resources to work remotely.
  • Communication: Another challenge is maintaining communication and collaboration among employees when they are not physically present in the same location. 
  • Lack of Trust: Managers must be able to trust their employees to complete their work in a timely and efficient manner without direct supervision. 
  • Loneliness: Finally, flexible work arrangements can often lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness for employees who are not used to working outside of a traditional office setting. 

But, it’s not such a big deal! These challenges can be overcome with thoughtful planning and execution. With the proper support in place, flexible work arrangements can be a successful way to promote employee productivity and satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

If your workplace is flexible, it shows that you’re willing to meet the needs of your employees. In today’s fast-paced world, this is an extremely important quality to have!

When implemented successfully, these arrangements can improve productivity, communication, collaboration, job satisfaction, staff retention, and more. With the proper support in place, your business can overcome any challenges that it may face. 

And the good news is that we are here to help! We hope you are considering setting up a flexible work arrangement. If you don’t know where to start, here at Monitask, we have the best software to track your remote employee’s work hours!

-The Monitask Team

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