What Is Flextime? How to Request It at Your Workplace

Updated December 1, 2022

Numerous businesses may provide flexible work schedules to assist employees in striking their ideal work-life balance. Flexible work hours can help maximize productivity and may enhance an employee's job experience. Understanding what flextime includes might assist you in determining if this type of arrangement is a good fit for your personal and professional life. In this article, we define what flextime is, share common flexible work hour options, explain how to request it, discuss the differences in flextime hours between various industries, and explore some pros and cons of working with flextime.

What is flextime?

Flextime is a work arrangement that allows you to start and end your workday with other hours than the conventional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workload. It means you can report to work earlier or later than the initially scheduled time, though flextime employees usually work the same number of hours as individuals on a standard nine-to-five schedule.

The flexible hours typically vary according to the demands of the position, how the company functions within its industry, and the employee's inclinations or priorities. Firms offering this type of schedule still expect you to complete all of your mandatory daily hours. For instance, someone may choose to work from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or any other period that is convenient for them.

Related: How to Decide if Permanently Working From Home is Right For You

Flextime options

There are several flextime options your employer may offer. Some include:

  • Job sharing. Job sharing is where two part-time employees work half-hour shifts to perform the workload of a single full-time employee. Job sharing typically requires good coordination of shared duties and tasks.

  • Flexible schedule. This option enables employees to work varied hours, typically reporting to work earlier or later than their coworkers. For instance, rather than working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., flextime employees may work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Flexible workweek. This arrangement enables employees to operate a four-day workweek alternately with a five-day week. Employees may even work ten consecutive days and then take four straight days off, depending on the company's flextime policy.

  • Remote work. Employees may work remotely if the nature of their work doesn't require them to always be physically available at the office. Working remotely entails working from the convenience of your home, favourite tea shop, or any other preferred location.

How do you request flextime at your workplace?

You may consider the following tips when requesting flextime at your workplace:

1. Do your research

Your employer may already have a policy in place regarding flexible work hours. You can consult the human resources unit to confirm this. If your company already has a flexible work policy, learn about it and weigh the pros and cons. It can be beneficial to talk with coworkers and managers to gather information related to their opinions about and experiences with flextime.

Related: How Many Hours is Part-Time Employment?

2. Create a strategy

Consider what your employer might want to know about your request for flextime. Ensure you're able to justify the benefits that flexible work hours present for both you and the business. Consider the issue from their standpoint and give them useful responses that demonstrate the perks that this type of flexible schedule can offer.

3. Book an appointment or a meeting with your manager

You can schedule an appointment with your manager or request a team meeting to express your desire for flextime. This allows you to prepare in advance and lets your manager know that you've given the matter a lot of thought and serious consideration.

4. Request a trial period

If the organization you work for doesn't provide a policy allowing for flexible work schedules, consider requesting a trial period before making it official. For instance, you may propose a 60-day trial term. After this trial period, you and your manager can evaluate how effectively the arrangement performed and decide whether to continue on a more long-term basis.

5. Focus on high productivity

Ensure that your new schedule allows you to maintain, if not improve, your productivity. Complete all assignments on time, adhere to all deadlines, and accomplish your goals exactly as you would have with your normal schedule.

Related: Nine Skills That Support Adaptability In The Workplace

6. Keep your manager informed

As you adjust to flexible hours, seek opportunities to improve the overall experience and let your manager know about it. It can be beneficial to inform your manager of what has and hasn't worked, as this demonstrates your accountability and commitment to make the flextime work or change your schedule when necessary.

What are the differences in flextime hours amongst industries?

Certain companies may operate on a flexible schedule based on the company and its unique requirements. Some companies may offer very flexible hours exceeding normal business hours. Others may be more conservative and limit flexible hours to within a normal business schedule. The following industries and job types may offer flextime:

  • Medical jobs. Telepharmacist, fitness instructor, and telecommuting nurse

  • Technical jobs. Web designer, project manager, and graphics designer

  • Trade jobs. Electrician, mechanic, and truck driver

  • Online education jobs. Tutor, online teacher, and substitute teacher

  • Media and communication jobs. Copywriter, marketing consultant, and public affairs representative

What are the pros of flextime?

Flexible work can be beneficial to the company's productivity rates. Understanding the pros of flextime may help you assess if this type of work schedule complements your preferences and performance. Some of these benefits include:

Better work-life balance

People who work flexible hours may have better control over their workweek and may begin and end it whenever it's convenient. This flexibility enables employees to create a schedule that is compatible with their private lives or family obligations. Employees can then better balance work with other obligations, such as medical checkups or picking up their children from school.

Productivity gains

When you choose your work hours, you may avoid those periods of the day when the demands, especially of traffic and business, are at a peak. Doing this can help you be more productive and focused as you complete your objectives. With remote work, you may even choose to work at a preferred location that you find more comfortable.

Additional development opportunities

Flexible work arrangements can make it significantly easier for employees to reach their career potential and grow professionally. Schedule flexibility may enable employees to take classes for a new certification while still performing job-related tasks. Using flextime effectively and achieving improved performance results at work may also improve your chances of acknowledgment and promotion.

What are the cons of flextime?

A flexible work schedule can be an issue in performing teamwork effectively. Understanding the pros and cons of flextime may help you better assess whether this work style is appropriate for you. Consider some cons of flextime below:

Limitations to scheduling meetings

If many employees have flexible work hours, they may have entirely different work schedules. When scheduling a meeting, it may be more challenging to align everyone's availability. For instance, organizing team meetings requires ensuring everyone is working during the proposed time. If you have team members in different areas of the world, for example, it may require more planning and communication to schedule a meeting that suits several time zones.

Unforeseen interference

While a flexible work schedule may allow for a better work-life balance, you may encounter situations where your personal life interferes with your work. For instance, your children may disrupt your meetings, or a friend may invite you to lunch. While you may manage time for such situations, deferring work for an extended period may reduce your productivity and overall performance.

Related: A Parent's Guide to Working From Home With Kids

Less structure

You may discover that working remotely with a flexible schedule takes a higher level of discipline than working in an office. For instance, if chores accumulate around your home, you may encounter additional distractions that divert your attention from your work. While you may counter this by setting up a home office, establishing a work schedule that minimizes distractions can be equally important.

Difficulty in building relations with other employees

Working on the same schedule as your colleagues typically makes collaboration easier. When team members have varying schedules, it may become more challenging to interact and cooperate with their coworkers. Unless everyone has the same work schedule, flextime may affect teamwork and general company cohesiveness.


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