Some workplaces allow workers to choose their hours, but the vast majority of companies still stick to a rigid nine to five schedule. Flexible work schedules are excellent for employees who want a better work-life balance, especially working mothers. However, 95% of companies don’t offer flexible working hours, according to the US Bureau Labor of Statistics. Here are some benefits and disadvantages of flexible working hours:
1. It gives employees a better work-life balance. Americans are by far the most overworked people in any developing country. Many employees have trouble spending enough time at home or with their family. It also allows workers to choose which time of day that they work best at, which brings us to our next point:
2. Employees can work at times that match their internal clock. Morning people perform poorly when working night shifts and night people perform poorly when working in the morning. In fact, the time of day has a huge impact on employee ethics and productivity. Research shows that employees who work during hours that don’t match their chronotype, or internal clock, are more likely to lie, cheat, and steal.
3. Employees will be happier. Employee happiness improves productivity and reduces retention. They will be less stressed and work harder. Many employees say that having a better work-life balance makes them happier and more committed to their job.
4. Employees will be less likely to quit. Happier employees and flexible work schedules lead to less turnover. Many workers might need flexible schedules, especially if they want to achieve a better work-life balance. Working mothers are especially in need of more flexible hours.
1. Your employees won’t be as close. Employees who work different hours have fewer opportunities to work together or get to know each other. This makes it harder to hold meetings, create teams, gather consensus, and develop friendships.
2. Schedules will be less predictable. Need George to handle your emails on Thursday morning? Perhaps he can’t do that because he’s taking the night shift. According to one top executive coach, managers have a much harder time planning around flexible employee schedules.
3. Disapproval can create drama. So, what happens when you tell a worker that he does need to be in on the morning rather than attending his daughter’s baseball game? He might become bitter or even resentful. It might get even worse if he observes that other employees who are not him are getting to work during their chosen hours.
It can sometimes be helpful to have workers choose their own hours instead of sticking to a rigid schedule. Even when given freedom, most people will likely choose to come in during the mornings and leave during the afternoon. Of course, it does vary based on several factors such as telecommuting. Employees with jobs that allow them to work independently often have the most freedom and flexibility.
Are flexible working hours the right choice for your workplace? It certainly depends on how often your office is open, when people need to be physically present, and what kind of work they are performing. You may find that it gives workers the flexibility they’ve always wanted.