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Creative work schedules and understanding flex time

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Just about everyone complains about the 9-5 grind. A 9-5 or 8-4 work schedule usually means you are traveling in the peak of rush hour and probably spend an extra 15-60 minutes daily just sitting waiting patiently for traffic to unclog. After an extended period in traffic you arrive at work already frustrated and not exactly in the best mindset. The 9-5 also means you get hungry around the same time as everyone else so you are bombarded with long lunch lines. To alleviate this gridlock, companies are offering flextime as an option to some employees.{{more}}

Flextime is basically designing a work schedule that allows for different hours and/or an alternative work location, namely a home office. Let’s look at a few flextime categories.

Telecommuting

Someone who telecommutes works remotely. That means they utilize email, fax and telephone to get work done. Telecommuting is perfect for a job that requires limited face-to-face contact with colleagues or for days when you can be more productive away from the office possibly in your own home office. Many people are choosing to telecommute one or a few days per week.

Job sharing

This scenario is perfect for two people who work well together and can actually split a salary, the work load, the work days, the victories and the challenges. One person may work 2.5 days and the other 2.5 days. This can be tricky as the two people must operate as one individual.

Compressed workweek

Do you think you can survive working 35-40 hours in 3-4 days, producing the same amount of work in excellent quality? Sounds great doesn’t it? A compressed workweek basically means you find a way to squeeze your weekly-required time into fewer days giving you the flexibility to have a day or two off for whatever you choose to do.

Part-time

This one should be self-explanatory. A part time worker is an employee who does not work a full workweek. The hours vary and can run from as little as a few hours to 15- 20 hours.

Staggered start time

The workweek does not have to be 9-5. Why not consider a staggered work schedule 7-3, 9-5, 10- 6 or even 12-9. This way work is always being done and employees can rotate or pick a time frame that works best for them.

Benefits

1. Flex time allows employees to spend more time at home with family or allow employees with children and elderly parents to take care of appointments, or attend school functions.

2. It is a great stress reducer, as employees do not have to battle their way through traffic to get to the office and arrive feeling frazzled and unproductive.

3. Studies show companies can reduce overhead expenses, in some cases 50% to 60% per employee as not much office space is required, which means a reduction in utilities being used.

4. Employees on flex time tend to be more productive as they are often working from the comfort of their home or on a different schedule which makes them happy, relaxed and more willing to give more than 100%.

5. Flex time can be used as benefit for the best and brightest employees, who have proven themselves and are known producers.

6. Flex time reduces traffic congestion as fewer people are traveling at the same time.



Drawbacks

1. Employees who are not high performers may see flex time as a way to get away from work and may not be disciplined enough to be successful with this option.

2. Although flex time is a great benefit, taking work home can sometimes means you are constantly thinking about work unless you establish work hours and ask colleagues to respect the time when you are not working.

3. Disadvantages can arise if employees do not have a good computer at home or access to high speed Internet so it’s important to have all the equipment in order to consider this option.

4. If job sharing, participants must be on the same page as rivalry can develop if they see each other as competitors instead of a team.

5. Management may sometimes feel disconnected and less in control as they may not see flex time employees on a regular basis so it’s important to have regular check in times.

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