Life in the 21st century is busy. Juggling the demands of this modern life is increasingly difficult. In a society that is ‘on’ 24/7, partly thanks to technology and social media, the nature of much of our work challenges the traditional 9 – 5 working day. Businesses around the world are giving their employees the freedom to work flexible hours and it’s not just employees who benefit.
What is flex time?
Flex time or flexible working hours allow workers to modify their working hours according to a schedule that suits them. In most cases, employers will set a number of working hours which can be completed by the employee within agreed time frames. In short, employees have the freedom to work chosen days and hours according to their needs.
For some people, this may mean beginning the workday at 10 am. For some, the flexibility to start early and beat the traffic is appealing and still for others, working longer days and decreasing the number of days they work is the best option.
Flexible working policies are nothing new, and many companies have operated under these systems for some years now, however, the degree of flexibility varies. With advances in technology the ability to work flexible hours is now a possibility for even more workers.
Parents were the first group to take advantage of flexible working hours, but in recent times workers at all stages and ages have benefited from flex time. Elderly workers, looking after aging parents and grandchildren, employees with health issues, and any worker with commitments outside of work whether they be sporting commitments, family or religious.
Why Flex time?
Happier and healthier employees
Employees who are afforded autonomy over their time are happier and healthier. Flexible work campaigners Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson in their TedX talk on the same topic, liken employees with flex time to free range chickens, while those employees locked into a 9-5 hour day can be likened to caged chickens. When you consider the rise of mental health issues and work-related stress, the need for flexible working hours has never been more necessary.
It’s good for business
Numerous studies and reports have found that flexible working hours can increase business productivity and profits. Flex time is seen as an attractive benefit by many employees and as a result flex time can help businesses to attract and retain talent, allowing them to save on recruitment costs.
The ability to work flexible hours reduces sick leave too. Statistics in the US from Global Workplace Analytics show that 78% of employees call in sick because of family issues, personal needs or stress and these unscheduled absences cost employers $1,800/employee each year.
Build the workforce
Flex time allows more people to enter and remain in the workforce. This is particularly true for parents of young children who must juggle the responsibilities of a family with the obligations of a job.
Is flex time a good idea for you?
Flex time can offer huge benefits to both individuals and businesses. As an employer, you should clearly outline your expectations and ensure you have means to measure employee outcomes. With good employees, offering flex time can only lead to happier, healthier employees in control of their modern life.