Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Making Flex Hours Work

Flex scheduling is a popular alternative scheduling option among those caring for young children with various after school commitments and those caring for aging adults with multiple doctors appointments each week. Any schedule with hours that diverge from the standard 8:00 am to 5:00 pm can be considered flex hours, with most arrangements falling into one of two categories, standard flex time and daily flex time.

Flexible Scheduling Options

Standard flex time is an alternative scheduling option consisting of rigid hours that are none-the-less nontraditional. While a condensed work week would certainly fall into this category, standard flex time allows an employee to work for example, 6:00 am to 3:00 pm every day, or work 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday, but 6:00 am to 3:00 pm on Fridays. This schedule, once established is constant from week to week.

Conversely, daily flex time allows an employee much latitude in scheduling each workday. Work hours are set according to the scheduling needs of that day, whether they be personal obligations or work requirements. Daily flex time will allow for a morning doctor’s appointment on Monday, soccer practice after school on Wednesday, and a long lunch with friends on Friday, while also accommodating for a conference call through lunch on Tuesday and a dinner meeting on Thursday.

The problem with flex time is that the nontraditional and variable hours can leave coworkers searching for you in an empty office and picking up extra responsibilities in your absence.

Making it Work

The keys to making flex time work are planning and organization, communicating your needs and plans well, and always respecting your coworkers.

  1. Planning and organization: When possible, plan your schedule well in advance. Stay organized by scheduling all work and personal events and deadlines on one calendar so that you can constantly reassess if this week’s schedule will accommodate your obligations. Even if you work standard flex hours, keep track of any modifications you make to your schedule to determine if the hours you scheduled continue to address your time needs.
  2. Communication: Communicate your needs and plans to your boss and coworkers allowing them to plan for your presence or absence. Consider posting your schedule somewhere in your office or sending a weekly email with your schedule to those who will be affected.
  3. Respect: Respect the needs of those you work with. Consider working core hours at the office in order to tell customers and coworkers, I will be most available at work between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Pay attention to whether or not your schedule is leaving extra work to others in the office and possibly rework the division of responsibilities so that everyone can get their own work done while in the office.
Flex time is a brilliant strategy for juggling work and personal obligations. With a little respect for coworkers, careful planning, and great communication, flex time can be easy for everyone involved.

1 comment:

Sai Pranad said...

Flexible schedules are much better for employees. But, I don’t understand why employers do not let their employees work during the times when they are most alert and productive.

I think people want something more flexible and efficient tool when it comes to schedule management. Recently, I have come across one such tool from Replicon - http://www.replicon.com/olp/rostering-software.aspx

You are free to share, copy, and distribute the content of this page.
Please, always attribute this work to its original author at Flexible Workforce. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.
You may not use this information for commercial gain or alter, transform, or add to this work in any way.

Flexible Workforce Solutions
State College, PA