Professional Education and Career Blog

How Flextime Can Benefit Employers and Improve the Bottom Line

balanceAccording to a recent Discover study, a whopping 95% of employees listed ‘flexibility’ as a key attribute of their ideal job. The idea of Flextime is a growing trend among employers looking for ways to increase employee satisfaction and worker retention. The reasons for employees vary, but many are looking for better life and work balance.

In the past, the standard 9am to 5pm schedule worked very well for the typical American worker. However, in recent decades with the rise of two-worker families, many employees were finding the traditional workweek to the fit with their life needs, leading to more stress and unhappiness.

Flextime is defined as a variable work schedule, where employers and employees agree on a certain number of hours to be worked, the employee is given the flexibility to choose when they’ll work. Often there would be some parameters to the schedule, based on the employer’s needs:

  • Typically there would be a based number of hours, corresponding to the number of hours that would be worked in a traditional schedule.
  • Some employers might desire to have a “core period” where the employee is required to be at the office, so that it’s regularly possible for managers to touch base with the employee. The employee would control the rest of their day, such as when to get to the office and when they would leave.
  • Also possible is the idea of a compressed work week, where the employee would work longer hours on some days, so to have an additional day off.
  • Some employers set a “goal oriented” schedule where the requirement is only to complete projects or meet goals within a specific timeframe, and the employee would have no set schedule.
  • Telecommuting is another way companies can provide flextime, allowing the employee to work from home on their own hours. The time benefit to this is significant, since it eliminates travel and commuting times.

Significant Benefits to All

The benefits to both the employee and employer in these arrangements are numerous:

  • homeofficeEmployees have a much better sense of life balance. A recent IBM survey found that work-life balance was a primary reason to leave the company, even more than salary and benefits. When IBM instituted flextime policies, they found that the retention rate significantly improved.
  • There may be less absenteeism. Oftentimes when a life crisis comes up, or even when a “mental health day” is needed, employees are forced to lie and call in sick, or otherwise find ways to take time off. With a flextime schedule, it allows them to take “guilt-free” time off, and then make up the time later.
  • Flexibility is an economical benefit to supply. If employees are working the same number of hours and accomplishing the same goals, flextime doesn’t cost the company any money. But the employees are getting a major benefit.
  • Telecommuting can save money. Fewer employees in the office means office space can be smaller and used more efficiently.
  • Healthcare costs may be reduced. A study by Bristol-Myers-Squibb found that flextime employees scored an average of 30% lower in stress and burnout.
  • Employees are better able to seek education opportunities. Many employees report that they are interested into pursuing new education, but the time is a limiting factor. With a flexible schedule, they are more able to pursue new education opportunities, leading to higher skills and better productivity.

The trend among companies is clear. In the 2006 Benefits Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 57 percent of organizations reported that they offered flextime options to their employees. A more recent 2012 study by the Families and Work Institute showed that in that 6 year period, the percentage of companies increased 20% to 77%.