Remember 9 to 5? Forget it. The trend today is flexi hours. This means flexible scheduling of work to adjust to responsibilities at work and home. It can mean starting and ending workdays at different times or doing some of your work at home. Parents may choose to arrive at work later so they can take their children to school. There may be other reasons like avoiding rush hour commutes for starting work early or late. Whatever the flexible schedule an employee follows, there is usually a window of time during the day when everyone is expected to be present in the office for reviews, consultation or collaborative work. There are exceptions, of course. For instance, when people work in locations a distance away, which makes it difficult for them to come in to work during those ‘common’ hours every day. Conference calls or video conferencing can help compensate for these absences.
Many organisations find that offering the option of flexi hours enables them to retain employees who may otherwise have to give up working because of the demands of the family. This usually refers to women who feel they might have to leave work after having children. However, both sexes may have responsibilities such as caring for elders and managing disabilities and need flexi hours to continue working and fulfill those responsibilities. No organisation wants to lose a good worker. It is in the organisation’s best interest to make adjustments for flexible schedules.
Flexi hours boost productivity. When employees manage their own schedules, their stress levels decline and they focus better on the task in hand. There is a direct correlation between worrying about the family when at work and decreased productivity as well as absenteeism.
It has been found that people are most successful when they have the flexibility they need to meet the demands of their professional lives and accomplish the things they consider priorities in their personal lives. That’s why many forward-thinking companies are accepting flexi hours as a way of life.
Changes need to be made within the organisation to ensure that while flexi hours benefit the employee, clients’ interests are safeguarded. There are several ways this can be done. Strengthening teamwork ensures that multiple employees share the responsibility for a given project so flexible schedules do not affect deliverables. Sometimes a ‘buddy’ system is put in place with colleagues doubling for one another so there’s always someone responding to a client’s needs. To help employees balance their personal and work commitments, some organisations offer resources such as quality childcare facilities. It helps the final output. For employees to be fully involved in their jobs, they need to feel that they don’t have to worry about their personal responsibilities.
Greater emphasis is being placed within many organisation on stress management. There’s an increasing pressure to perform. Organisations offer their employees programs on how to cope with stress. These programs are carefully designed to be accessible, convenient and engaging.
With flexi hours, reduced stress and increased concern for the employee’s well-being, a desirable work-life balance can be achieved. It results in a better quality of life for the employee which shows in better performance in the workplace. There are 24 hours in the day for everyone. How to get the most from them is the challenge. The flexi-hour culture is a welcome step in this direction.