We live in an age of technology and with it comes greater connectivity. This is something that has undoubtedly fueled the idea of flexible working hours more than ever – gone are the days of people having to stick rigidly to the constraints of a nine-to-five job. Flexi-hours are fast becoming a more viable reality for businesses around the world, one which is allowing employees to have more freedom and control of their working hours than ever before. As with many concepts though, there are both advantages and disadvantages that come with the flexi-hour system for employers and employees alike – read on to discover just what some of these are.
Let’s start with the pros:
- More motivated: Because employees are no longer “schedule-bound”, they tend to be more enthusiastic about their jobs.
- Higher levels of productivity: As a result of being more motivated, employees are seen to be more efficient and productive, with absenteeism as well as turnover rate falling significantly.
- Loyal workforce: Happy, productive employees invariably mean loyal employees – it’s a win-win situation for both sides.
- Attract and retain top talent: In today’s working world, there is a high value placed on flexibility, so it’s not unheard for prospective employees to seek out specific companies that are known for being more flexible than others. Offering flexi-hours can give a business the power to both attract and retain the top talent in the industry.
- Garner a reputation: This is one for the employer – offering flexi-hours can position you in an attractive spot to be considered as a friendly and flexible company that people want to work for. It also shows that you are progressive (to a degree) and you’re willing to take your employees’ needs seriously.
- Maintain a better work/life balance: Flexi-hours can be particularly appealing to working parents who need to be more available for their children. The same can also apply to those who maybe care for a spouse or an elderly parent. Yet even if these don’t apply, flexi-hours can still give you the freedom to meet both family and personal commitments more easily, helping you to master that seemingly elusive work/life balance.
- Higher quality of work: Because employees are able to work during the hours they find they are the most productive, the chances of producing higher quality work become increased.
- Goodbye to commuting and peak-hour traffic: With the freedom to choose their working hours, employees may be able to avoid peak-hour traffic and in some cases, a long commute all together. This eliminates the negative effects that sitting in traffic and early wake-up calls can invariably have on mood, attention span and exhaustion levels – all things that can (and do) affect productivity levels on a daily basis.
The other side of the coin: the cons:
- Lack of control: With people operating on different schedules, there’s always the possibility that managers/business owners will start to lose control and lack awareness when it comes to the work being carried out.
- Communication break-downs: Without there being set hours in place for all employees, it can become increasingly difficult to get in touch with the right people when you need to, and therefore harder to co-ordinate meetings and presentations.
- Taking advantage: The flexi-hour system is a trust-based one with employers choosing to believe that delivering flexibility to their employees will not result in a drop in work quality or people taking advantage of a concept that can very often come across as being deceptively laid-back.
- Lack of supervision: Because employees are not being watched every minute of the day, some can veer off the path and start to show signs of non-compliance with company policies and even tardiness.
- Hard to build an office culture: With employees not being all together day in and day out, creating an office culture can become difficult, if not impossible. The lack of cohesiveness can lead to people feeling alienated and as if they are not part of a team. For this reason, flexi-hours may not be the best idea to implement within team-based businesses.
Flexi-hours can do wonders for some business, but within others, it can wreak absolute havoc. As a small business owner, it’s vital that you weigh up all the pros and cons before choosing to apply this system to your business. Be sure to consider whether or not it would be beneficial to everyone involved, both now and in the long run.
Just as technology has brought us the ability to introduce more flexible working hours, so too has it brought us reliable and impressive online accounting and payroll productssuch as those available from Sage One.
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