Pros and Cons of Flex Days (With Definition and Examples)
Updated December 1, 2022
Offering your employees the convenience and flexibility of flex days can encourage greater productivity and improve loyalty. As many aspects of professional and personal lifestyles can be challenging to coordinate, a flexible work schedule is valuable to many workers. If you're a manager and want to introduce flexible working day schedules for your employees, it's crucial to understand how beneficial they are and if it's really worth it. In this article, we look at what flex days are, share examples of flextime jobs, and explore how to implement flextime schedules at your company.
What are flex days?
Flex days refer to a type of employment schedule in which employees report to and leave work at flexible hours. Employees with either flexible days or a more traditional schedule will work a similar number of hours. For instance, flex day employees may report to work from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. one day and the next day, they may come in at 9 a.m. and end their day at 5 p.m.
Types of jobs that can use a flex days
Employers set the policies that govern working hours. If a flexible schedule is possible, it will be included in a work agreement with specified start and finish hours. Employers in the following fields may consider employing flex day schedules to benefit both the company and its employees:
Information technology (IT)
Examples of flex day schedules
Work schedules with flexible days can work in several different ways, such as:
Altered start and finish hours
In this type of flex day schedule, some employees arrive and leave earlier or later than the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For example, they can report at 7 a.m and finish the day at 3 p.m. Or, they may come in at 10 a.m and leave at 7 p.m.
Companies use this schedule to allow employees to work for longer hours on certain days and shorter on others. Settings where this is possible include airports, telecommunication industries, and sports events. Surgeons, too, may work for longer hours carrying out operations some days and spend fewer hours at work other days.
Midday flex days
Some employers offer longer midday breaks to accommodate personal time for their workers. Employees may use this time to exercise, go for walks, or participate in other activities not related to work. They create space for these midday breaks by either reporting for the day earlier or working late.
Advantages of offering flex days
For many businesses, having well-thought-out flex-time schedules can be beneficial both to the employer and employees. Some of the advantages are:
Provides a good work-life balance
Flex day schedules by nature encourage flexibility, which in turn allows for a good balance of work-life activities. Depending on the agreement made, flex day employees may choose when to start and end their working hours. This allows for a work schedule that fits the unique lifestyle of each employee.
Flex days allow employees to work during the hours they are most productive. If they're more effective when working at night, they can choose to complete the bulk of their tasks at that time. Flex-time plans cal also allow people to manage the personal aspects of their lives with greater ease, which in turn allows them to concentrate better at work and be more productive.
Eases the commute
Traffic jams occur most commonly in the morning when employees are commuting to work and in the evenings when they are returning home. Alternative opening and closing hours at workplaces can help reduce the stress of these incidents. Employees can speak with their company about the times they may prefer to commute to and from work to facilitate better coordination.
Benefits parents who work
With the responsibilities that come with being a parent, working with fixed hours can be challenging. Flex days give working parents the opportunity to plan how to balance their personal life and parenting responsibilities with their job duties to encourage a healthy work-life balance. For example, a flexible workday can allow parents of school-age children the opportunity to drop their kids off at school or pick them up at the end of the day so they don't need childcare services.
Reduces stress and fatigue
Working under schedules that can be adjusted gives employees time and space to review their work and life challenges. If an employee is feeling overwhelmed, for example, they can speak with their supervisor and try to coordinate extra hours of personal time. They can make up for that time at a later date by working additional hours. Employees who enjoy personal breaks during working hours can take part in personal activities such as yoga and exercise, therefore reducing stress caused by work.
Attracts new employees
Employees who want flexibility in their lives look for flexible jobs. If you grant flex time to employees, and the option to choose their working hours, many job seekers may be encouraged to apply to your company. Further, the employees you hire are likely to be dedicated as they appreciate their schedules and want to make the most of them.
Improves employee retention
Employees who work under flexible plans are likely to stay with a company longer because they become accustomed to adjustable routines. This is helpful to both the employees and employers. Besides the fact that companies benefit from having long-serving, experienced staff, employees can also benefit from long-term relationships and partnerships with their colleagues and supervisors.
Disadvantages of flex days
While there are many benefits to offering flexible schedules, there are also challenges that come up. Some examples of these are:
Complicates daily operations
Flexible schedules may complicate routine operations. For instance, there might be a company meeting for all staff in the morning that not all employees may be able to attend, due to their adjusted hours. To deal with this, employees with flexible schedules may need to arrive outside of their normal hours occasionally to avoid missing essential information.
Doesn't promote a cohesive working environment
Flex days may lead to less effective partnerships at work and a less unified team. This is because employees who work at different times may have limited direct communication. This may reduce the growth of a business. Supervisors can manage this, however with strategies, such as regular team activities.
Complicates supervision and coordination
With individuals working on overlapping schedules, it can be challenging for human resource staff to coordinate all employees. It might also become more challenging for heads of departments to supervise their staff. To avoid some of these issues it's important to have a preplanned system in place.
Managers might want to address a specific group of employees. Because some schedules work both day and night, it can become a little confusing to address them all. For example, it may take longer for a message from a night shift employee to reach their colleague who works in the afternoon.
How to implement flex days at your company
If you think flexible schedules might be a good fit for your team, consider the following tips to implement this practice:
1. Involve employees
Employees help bring success to the company. If you can prioritize their concerns, you can increase their productivity, and your business can grow in return. It's essential to consider the opinions of your employees when deciding which plan is best for them. If they can be part of the new schedule, they may feel more dedicated and focused on embracing something they were part of developing.
2. Make guidelines and clear plans
Solidify work-friendly rules and regulations to determine how things may be run in the workplace. Aim to make the work environment as productive as possible. For instance, outline how operations may be run in the morning, afternoon, or evening and advise who staff can report to when changing over. Also, it's imperative for an employer to specify the core office hours for each and every employee. Establish effective channels of communication and find out ways of following up on employees' working hours.
3. Train your employees
Before putting a new work schedule in place it's important to familiarize your employees with the policies under which they operate. Actively promote the program and educate all staff until they become comfortable with it and understand the expectations. You can also prepare a support team of volunteers or members of the HR department to answer employee questions after the policy's launch.
4. Observe results
After implementing any kind of new plan, including flex days, it's important to observe its effects on your business. If it isn't working functionally, try and determine why so you can find a solution. Seek the opinions of your employees and take them into consideration.
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