What Is a Flexible Schedule? (With Types and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employees may consider adopting flexible work schedules to increase their job satisfaction and productivity. Based on your preference and company policies, there are numerous variations of flexible work structures from which you can choose. Learning about flexible work schedules and the different types can help you decide if they suit your needs. In this article, we define a flexible schedule, discuss its benefits, and explain 11 flexible work schedules you may consider.

What is a flexible schedule?

A flexible schedule is a work structure where employees create their schedules without location and time constraints, which is typical of traditional work schedules. Employees can find a work-life balance with a flexible work structure, as this schedule considers their personal life. Regardless of the flexibility in this work structure, employers require their employees to work a specific number of hours and meet deadlines.

Benefits of a flexible work schedule

Here are benefits you can enjoy with a flexible work schedule:

Increased productivity

A flexible work structure allows you to set convenient work hours. This may be a helpful strategy, as you may decide to work during your most productive time. For instance, if you have other commitments during the day, you can choose a flexible work structure that allows you to work at night. You may also select a work schedule that allows you to schedule your work to start at noon or later.

Reduced commute

If your job is remote and doesn't require you to be physically present at the office, you can save the time and money it takes to commute to work. This flexible work structure may be convenient, as you can avoid traffic. You can start your day feeling energetic and mentally prepared. This also helps you achieve better results and increases your productivity.

Related: What Is a Flexible Worker? (Plus Flexible Careers)

Improved work-life balance

Work-life balance involves adjusting your time and mental capacity to complete personal tasks and responsibilities while still fulfilling your job requirements. It may be easier to complete your personal obligations and meet family needs with a flexible work schedule. For instance, you can go to the gym in the morning and start working at noon. This may increase your job satisfaction and help you perform better in your role.

Customized workspace

You can design your workspace to suit your needs and personality if you work remotely. For instance, if you prefer listening to music while working, you may consider having a music player in your workspace. Creating this workspace may help you find the motivation necessary for completing your tasks efficiently.

Related: 13 Jobs with Flexible Hours (With Salaries and Definitions)

11 Types of flexible work schedules

11 popular variations in flexible work structures include:

1. Compressed workweeks

You can also call this arrangement a condensed workweek schedule. This is a work arrangement where the company compresses work days into fewer days than usual. This results in a reduction in the number of work days per week or month.

For example, if an employer expects employees to work 40 hours a week, they can use a compressed workweek schedule. Instead of working eight hours a day for the five workdays in a week, employees can work ten hours a day. This reduces their workdays to four days a week. Employees typically prefer this work schedule because it provides an extended three-day weekend. Some employees may choose to have a day off in the middle of the week instead.

2. Flextime

With a flextime work structure, employees choose the start and end of their working day as long as they complete the contracted hours. This structure allows them to adjust the timing of their daily working hours. You can also call this structure a customized work hour, and it allows employees to work when they're productive. For instance, an employee may choose to work from 9 am to 5 pm on Monday, then work from 11 am to 7 pm on Tuesday. This structure is beneficial for employees who have other commitments, such as studying.

Related:

  • Why Are Flex Hours Beneficial and How Do They Work?

  • Pros and Cons of Flex Days (With Definition and Examples)

3. Flexplace

A flexplace structure allows employees to work from their houses or any remote location other than the office. Organizations can adopt a flexplace work structure in three ways:

  • Remote work or telecommuting: This is the use of computers to maintain communication with other colleagues. The employees use these devices to overcome the limitation and constraints of location.

  • Hoteling: This work structure involves booking or reserving a working space for a certain period. By doing this, organizations can reduce conventional office space dependence.

  • Snowbird programs: In this work structure, employers make provisions for employees to move to a warmer region during winter. Snowbird programs are beneficial for employees in communication and telemarketing roles.

4. Part-time

A part-time job offers fewer work hours than a regular full-time job. The constituents of a full-time job may vary for different locations. Part-time work can be desirable as it allows employees to earn money while accomplishing other responsibilities, such as studying or freelancing. There can be an off-season period within the year in some industries, but employers may still require personnel to manage the business operations. Here, they may employ part-time employees to work during the period.

Related: 10 Types of Work Schedules (With Definition and Examples)

5. Job sharing

Job sharing is a flexible work schedule where an employer recruits two or more employees to work part-time and complete the duties that one full-time employee can complete. The amount of work these employees perform theoretically is the same amount of work a full-time employee may also perform. This work structure also has the appeal of a part-time job, as it allows flexibility to work on other projects and responsibilities.

It's also beneficial for employers because when one employee takes a leave of absence, the other can still fulfil the role's responsibilities in a specific capacity. The success of this work structure is the even distribution of the job responsibilities and effective communication between employees sharing the position.

Related: What Is Job Sharing? (Plus How It Works, Benefits, and Tips)

6. Shift work

Employers divide working days into various shifts and allocate them to different employees using the shift flexible work structure. This means several groups of employees may work at different times of the day. This work structure is common for organizations that operate every day and 24 hours a day.

During shift work, employees may work hours different from the conventional 9 am to 5 pm work structure, as some may work overnight from one day to the next. For instance, an employee may work the night shift and resume work by 10 pm on Monday and end their shift by 6 am the following day.

Related: What Is a Shift Scheduler? (Skills and Responsibilities)

7. Hybrid work

An organization that uses a hybrid work structure has some employees working remotely, some working physically at the office, while others can work remotely or on-site. Employers make these distinctions and adjustments based on several objectives, circumstances, and personal preferences. These employees work together while communicating using several telecommunication tools. This work structure allows the organization to focus on how the employees work and not where they work. A hybrid work structure helps organizations account for employees who work better outside a conventional workplace and time.

8. Alternative schedule

An alternative schedule is a work structure suitable for employees who can't work within the conventional Monday to Friday or five-day work week. These employees work an alternate schedule and may opt for working on weekends, night shifts, or second shifts. They use regular work days or hours to complete personal matters or responsibilities, as the flexible alternative schedule creates time for them.

Related: What Are the Different Types of Work Shifts? (With Duties)

9. Phased retirement

With a phased retirement work schedule, employers and employees agree to reduce the employee's full-time work commitment gradually. This is common for employees who are reaching their retirement. An employer may reduce their responsibilities over a series of months or years as they approach retirement. During this phase-out period, an employee can train their replacement or help colleagues readjust to the work structure in their absence.

10. Annualized hours

You can also call this work schedule banking hours, as it involves employees and employers agreeing on maximum work hours and days for a certain period. This work structure combines flex time and compressed workweek schedules. This structure is standard for organizations or industries with variations in demands, such as seasonal peaks or peak hours.

11. Work sharing

Organizations use this work structure to prevent laying off their employees. With a work-sharing structure, employers can reduce employees' salaries and the number of hours they work. This helps them maintain the number of employees. For instance, a company may reduce their employees' work days from five to three days at a wage lower than the previous five-day week.

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