It requires keen management and an open mind, however, in today’s world, even the smallest of steps towards a more flexible workplace is considered a step in the right direction. If your current working environment is already one that is flexible, then you are in luck. More and more job seekers are looking for flexible work, as traditional working environments become a thing of the past. Although, as with all things, there are both advantages and disadvantages of taking up a flexible work schedule yourself, or if you are a business owner, implementing flexible work strategies into your business. Flexible work can encompass a variety of factors, and they are different for each person. Generally however it pertains to – compressing work days, flexible working hours, telecommuting etc.
Some employees thrive in team environments, some on the other hand work best when left alone. Each individual is different and that can come with as many challenges as it can advantages. Keep reading to find out whether you as an employee or employer would benefit from flexible working arrangements.
The advantages of a flexible work schedule for employees are listed below
- Flexibility to stay up to date with family, personal obligations and general life responsibilities
If employees are partial to a flexible work schedule, they are able to maintain a better work/life balance. Whether it means attending their child’s parent-teacher conferences, picking them up from school, or taking up yoga on Thursday afternoons, it’s no secret that having a little extra time in your work week for yourself and your family makes a mountain of difference.
- Less time spent on the road
For many of us, the hour-long commute in peak hour traffic each way is far from uncommon. However, it can be argued that these lengthy commutes are absolute time-suckers, especially as they eat away at what could be potentially your most productive hours. If employees are given the ability to work from home, that saves them those two hours out of each day, as well as the costs associated with their commute such as petrol, public transport fare, insurance, etc.
- Increases the feeling of personal control
One of the most important factors involved in maintaining a healthy mind is the ability to have control over one’s life and one’s choices. A popular reason many people chose to work for themselves circles back to their relationship with control. By allowing your employees to determine their own work schedule, environment and even going so far as to allow them to be more creative – you appeal to their entrepreneurial spirit, which is a great morale booster as well as showing them that you value them for more than simply the results they produce.
Similarly, it allows those people to choose the hours in which they work, meaning they are able to choose to work in the hours when they know they will be their most productive selves. There is no evidence that those who work later in the day do poorer work than those who work earlier in the day, these are simply antiquated cultural norms. Don’t succumb to them – and you will be surprised how much more work gets done, and how much faster your employees will do it.
- Reduces the likelihood of burnout
Flexibility allows employees to take breaks as needed, without incurring unnecessary guilt, or risking their health due to their inability to take substantial leave. By allowing your employees flexibility before it is 100% required, it can even act as a preventative measure. No longer are the week-long absences due to stress induced flu’s, and the huge blows to productivity that coincide with the seasonal occurrence. Allowing your employees due time within their workweeks to step back and relax does a world of good for all parties involved.
The advantages of a flexible work schedule for employers are listed below
- Increase in employee morale
- Employees are less likely to miss work
- Easy way to separate high-performing employees from the pack
- More staff retention and greater number of valued staff
- By allowing people to work when they accomplish most, your business in turn accomplishes the most
- Builds trust and better relationships between you and your employees
- Can adapt flexible work to suit the needs of your business, not just the needs of your staff
The disadvantages of a flexible work schedule for employees are listed below
- Certain employees require a structured environment to thrive
Some individuals thrive in traditional office environments, and when left somewhat to their own devices may find it difficult to work. The fact that members of their team and fellow colleagues do not share the same schedule, can be unnerving to some and actually hinder goal achievement. Hence, many employers demand that there are at the very least, core hours and or days in which everyone must be in office.
- There is no clear distinction between work and home
When taking on a flexible schedule, it can be hard to draw the line between when you are working and when you are being a mother, father, care taker, relaxing etc. It may also mean that your employer takes advantage of your schedule, and may demand more hours from you, and those hours may be more obscure i.e. 9:30pm work calls.
The disadvantages of a flexible work schedule for employers are listed below
- In team-oriented departments, it may be nearly impossible to implement flexible working schedules as teams must meet almost daily
- Although unlikely, there is a chance that your employees will take advantage of their new-found freedom and slack off on their work. However, such an instance would be hard to come by, even so, it would make it self-apparent quite quickly
- If you are a serial micro-manager, you may struggle to adjust your management style and find yourself at a loss at how to direct your team
- Juggling clients can become hard, especially when those you are dealing with do not operate in a similar manner, and expect continual 5 day a week service