What is “Flexi Work”?
Having a flexible work schedule means you have the time to go fetch the kids between meetings, you could work at your local coffee shop, start work after 9 or work in the middle of the night if you’d really like to. Flexi work gives you the freedom to work when it suits you, even if that means working on the weekend.
A defined definition tells us that flexible work, or flexitime, is when traditional working hours become variable. For example, when a worker is not required to work a standard 9am to 5pm day, but can choose hours before or after this time frame to complete a day’s work. Usually, at least 50% of the work time must be in core hours – for example, between 11am and 3pm – while the worker can make up the other hours as they choose.
Over the past two years flexi work has become more and more “normal” as we have seen COVID force staff to work from home and change the structure of work in the business world. Has the new normal been more beneficial for your business? If you’ve seen a higher level of productivity with your staff members through flexi work, then you may want to keep your employees on a flexible work schedule once COVID and lockdowns become less frequent. It is all dependent on your employees and business, what works for one employee may not work for another and what works for your business may not be the case for someone else’s. You could even provide your employees with the option where some staff members, those that prefer office time, work from the office full time, some work from home full time and some have set days where they come into the office. By taking the time to understand each of your staff members and what works best for them and your business, it will help you reach maximum productivity in the long run.
Say Goodbye to the 9 Hour Work Day
The question that most of us ask is whether shorter hours of work will get the most out of our staff over a 9 hour day of work. Staff who work 8 hours a day often become unproductive or inefficient. This is mainly due to a human’s concentration level dropping after 45 minutes, as well as employees having a lot of time in which to complete a smaller amount of work. Research suggests that in an eight-hour day, the average worker is only productive for a total of two hours and 53 minutes throughout the day. Therefore shorter working days may be your answer, as it may increase concentration levels and productivity. Enabling staff to complete their work in a shorter time frame will potentially support them to get work done faster.
This is an important concept to keep in mind when making decisions because it can be impacted by your processes (How valuable or s%$t they are), and more specifically the management of your resources in order to reach business goals and objectives, which obviously you want to do.
Advantages For Your Business
Flexi work offers many advantages to both you and your staff. There is an increase in staff morale as well as commitment to your business when staff start using flexi work schedules. Flexible work schedules also help to:
- Reduce absenteeism
- Stop staff from arriving late
- There is an increased ability to recruit hard working staff
- Reduce staff turnover
- Allows for staff to work when they accomplish the most, feel freshest, and enjoy working (as mentioned earlier)
- Develop an image that your business has family-friendly flexible work schedules which will potentially portray your business in a positive way.
Disadvantages For Your Business
Flexi work involves having to trust your staff. Staff may not actually be working at home, which may cause trust issues to arise as it may not always be physically possible to review productivity. If meetings need to occur, not all staff may be on the premises.
When we look at the advantages and disadvantages together, the advantages of flexi work for an employer far outweigh the disadvantages. A quality leader or employer will be able to manage the disadvantages accordingly.
Advantages For Staff
Flexi work is a win-win situation as it has positives for both you as the employer and your staff. Your staff often feel like they are gaining the most from the flexi work schedule which supports them to work harder and appreciate you as an employer more. Which as we said, is a win-win situation, especially for your businesses productivity.
Advantages for your staff may come in many forms, such as:
- Flexibility to meet personal obligations
- Reduction in fuel costs and time spent traveling
- The avoidance of peak hour traffic
- Staff having an increased feeling of personal control over their work schedule
- A reduction in staff burnout
- Staff work when they will enjoy it the most and when they can accomplish the most, i.e. some staff may work better early in the morning whereas others may work better in the afternoon or late at night
- Flexi work may decrease childcare costs
Disadvantages For Staff
The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of flexi work for your staff, but like anything in life, there are always cons, whether there be a few or many.
The disadvantages your staff may experience include:
- A lack of motivation when they are not surrounded by their colleagues
- Working at home may affect relationships, i.e. family members may expect chores to be done if you are at home, when actually you are working
- There is no clear definition between work and home, i.e, if staff are allowed to work any hour they would like, their boss may find it reasonable to phone them at 9pm, as there are no clear working hours in place
The Benefit vs Salary Choice
Flexible schedules, which are considered benefits, have become part of what staff look for when applying for jobs. Especially since COVID has struck, the search for online or work from home jobs has become a crucial factor. One of our founders, Krystle Clear Solutions, commented from experience in this regard as they had a student who completed an internship online and still works online due to being stuck in South Africa from when COVID first started.
However, as wonderful as flexible work schedules are and as much as any employee wants to find a job doing this, a. for efficiency and being more productive, and b. for more freedom, due to the need for finances to survive and live, staff will choose to look at more determining factors. These determining factors include a higher salary and / or wage, rather than the benefit of having a flexiwork schedule, when applying for a job.
One can see that both the staff and the employer will benefit from flexi work, as the staff will work harder due to overall positive morale, and employers will benefit from this as it is linked to increased productivity.