What Are Flexible Work Arrangements? 8 Types to Try
Flexible working no longer applies to just freelancers or gig workers. Many managers and employers are offering these work arrangements to their employees as well. If you’re an employer, implementing these working schedules for your workers may make you hesitate a bit, especially if you don’t know how they can benefit your company.
Introducing flexible work practices properly into your business can be challenging, but many advantages come from it for both employees and employers. Give your company an edge and stay ahead of the competition by trying one of these eight flexible work arrangements listed in this article.
What Is Flexible Working?
Flexible working, also known as flexible work schedules, is a work arrangement in which the employers allow their employees to adjust their work times or change their workplace. It lets them create a work schedule to meet their personal or family necessities or any other life circumstance. However, the staff generally needs to work the same number of hours each week and complete all of their assigned tasks.
Flexible working models are only getting more popular as time passes and technology improves. Employees can work from anywhere they want and still maintain contact and proper communication with their managers and supervisors.
It’s important to note that flexible working and hybrid working are often used interchangeably. For the most part, these models do offer similar benefits and arrangements. Companies with a hybrid workforce manage flexible working by having teams on rotation. Some employees employ a hybrid work from home arrangement while others come into the office every day.
Nonetheless, the most common flexible work program is flextime. It gives workers a significant amount of leeway regarding when they start and finish working as long as they put in the number of hours their employee demands. Other typical flexible work practices are telecommuting, compressed workweeks, and job sharing.
Companies that employ flexible working not only have more content employees. When workers have some freedom to adjust their work times or workspaces, the company also benefits by having a more profitable and desirable company that people may wish to work for.
Benefits of Flexible Working Arrangements
Having a flexible work arrangement doesn’t only benefit the employees, it also helps the company as a whole. Still, the workers’ benefits are more easily identifiable than those for the employers and the company. Here are some of the advantages that flexible work requests can provide for the company:
Improves Employee Retention
Giving your current employees the option to have a flexible work schedule helps you retain valuable staff and is such a good employee retention strategy. It is without a doubt one of the most important perks workers desire from their employers, and the more satisfied they are, the less likely it is for them to seek another job.
Many research articles and surveys indicate that workers often choose a job offering flexible scheduling over those that do not. In fact, some people value having flexible work practices over additional vacation time, and others even consider the perk more vital than having a more senior position.
Generally, if you offer flexible work options, employees become more loyal to the company and reduce employee turnover. It also lets you avoid the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training new staff members. If you prevent your workers from leaving by implementing flexible work arrangements, you may benefit from significant savings in the long run.
Job seekers nowadays are more interested in flexible work guidelines and practices than other perks. Considering the benefits of flexible working arrangements for the company as much as its employees, offering a flexible schedule can help you recruit more talented workers. For that reason, most businesses are planning to provide scheduling flexibility for their employees if they haven’t already done so.
When you limit your talent pool to a local area, you have fewer groups of candidates. If you’re in a primarily homogenous locality, your workforce may become less diverse. Offering to pay for relocation isn’t particularly efficient as you’re still asking people to be a part of a less diverse community, which may be discouraging.
Companies with a diverse workforce usually have better-performing teams than more homogenous ones. With flexible work practices, you cast a wide net that enables your company to end up with a talented and diverse workforce.
Many employers and managers often have concerns about flexible working practices because they feel they can’t supervise their workers appropriately. However, this work arrangement can increase employee productivity.
It’s a side effect of improved job satisfaction and overall contentment stemming from flexible scheduling. If your employees’ work arrangement lets them work during the hours and at the place they prefer, they can minimize distractions and concentrate more on their job.
Improves Employee Engagement
Engaged employees understand their role and how what they do can contribute to the success of your company. Flexible work arrangements significantly foster employee engagement. One way businesses can create an engaging culture is by fostering a workplace that respects and empowers its employees. The best way to do that is by implementing flexible work requests.
Letting your employees work flexibly shows them that you trust them enough to get their work done regardless of where and when they choose to do it. It’s an investment that proves valuable in the long run.
Engaged employees perform their jobs better than those who aren’t. Engaged employees also miss fewer workdays, as there are some days in which they may feel too sick to come into the office, but not enough that they can’t do their job. Implementing good flexible work guidelines may let your employee work from home comfortably in those circumstances.
Disadvantages of Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible working is an attractive package, but it’s vital to be aware that some hardships may come from implementing it. There isn’t a single perfect work arrangement out there without any disadvantages.
If you employ flexible work requests that separate a part of your team, communications may become complicated. People who work different hours may not be available when you need them. It creates a time zone differences problem. It’s important to plan and prepare for the transition into a flexible working model to ensure workflow and communication continue as close to normal as it was. Fortunately, collaboration tools let you circumvent a large part of this obstacle.
Another concern for managers is the lack of supervision. This work arrangement may require them to place more trust in their employees as they can’t watch people working on a flexible schedule all the time. It can prove detrimental if there are unmotivated employees. They generally aren’t too engaged, and they may not perform their responsibilities as they should.
With flexible work practices, scheduling can also be somewhat troublesome if the company didn’t prepare enough for the transition. Flexible environments need organization and appropriate technologies to ensure workflow doesn’t suffer after the switch. Fortunately, many management tools like time trackers and other software can considerably help you manage your workforce’s time.
Types of Flexible Work Arrangements
There are several different types of flexible work arrangements, and choosing the right one for your company may make a significant difference. Whether you’re an employer or a job seeker, knowing the differences between various flexible work requests can prove essential. Here are some flexible work arrangements you can try:
This flexible system lets employees choose their starting and ending times from a range of available hours. Periods are usually at either end of the core time in which most companies conduct their business. For example, instead of working from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, employees may choose to work from 6:00 am through 3:00 pm.
At first, people considered it a rare, pioneering work arrangement, but now it’s one of the most common flexible work requests in many industries.
With telecommuting, also known as flexplace, employees can perform a job remotely for only part of the time. However, it can be a full-time position as telecommuting means that the workers come into the office semi-regularly. People employed with this flexible work practice usually live near their offices.
Employees that come to the flexible workspace at least three days per week usually perform their duties more efficiently than other workers. Managers can implement this arrangement in any position that doesn’t require the employee to be continually in-site. Still, a person who lives near and can quickly get to the office is preferred.
3. Remote Working
Remote work is a flexible work arrangement that’s performed entirely away from the workplace. It can be a permanent or temporary position, and since the employee doesn’t need to commute to the office at all, they can live and work anywhere they prefer.
It’s an excellent choice for companies looking to expand their talent pool and other jobs that don’t require work on-site. Video conferencing, collaboration tools, virtual meeting platforms, and frequent communication are crucial to succeeding with this flexible work practice.
4. Compressed Workweeks
Employers usually require their employees to maintain a 40-hour workweek, but they can be flexible regarding when and where workers spend these hours. With a condensed work week, people can work four 10-hour days and leave their Fridays free. It’s an excellent schedule for workers that can remain productive on long, grueling workdays.
A good idea is to test the schedule with friendly employees or introduce it to new hires before trying it as one of your flexible work arrangements. Other compressed workweek options are three 12-hour days or an arrangement in which employees work for 9 or 10 hours each day for two weeks to receive an extra day or two in the following one.
5. Part-time Positions
A full-time work position isn’t always necessary. Companies that manage flexible work requests by offering part-time jobs can increase productivity while letting their employees work fewer hours. Regardless, it may be essential to provide part-time workers with the same benefits as full-time ones to retain good and talented workers. In fact, perks and benefits are typical reasons why workers may leave or don’t pursue a job in certain companies.
6. Work Sharing
Work sharing is similar to part-time work. It isn’t precisely among the most common flexible work practices, but it can be an exceptional choice for some job descriptions and certain businesses. This work arrangement consists of two or more part-timers sharing one full-time job.
While it’s simply a part-time job for the employee, it’s a full-time work position without the necessity of offering perks and benefits for the employer. Managers need to plan a bit before implementing it as it requires them to supervise more than one worker for a single job position.
Companies typically use this work arrangement when they want to avoid layoffs. It lets them temporarily decrease the hours and salary of a part of their staff while maintaining the same number of workers.
7. Partial Retirement
Partial retirement resembles part-time positions, and it’s one of the most straightforward and flexible work practices a company can implement, but its target is mainly older employees. Instead of letting them go, managers can let them work on a part-time basis without establishing an end date.
8. Expanded Leave
This work arrangement offers employees more flexibility when requesting extended periods away from work without losing their employee rights. Managers can grant it either on a paid or unpaid basis. Workers may ask for it for several reasons like education, community service, family issues, medical care, or even sabbaticals.
Get Ahead of the Competition with Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible work guidelines and practices provide many advantages for both the employer and employee. Even if it represents a massive shift in how you’ve been doing this so far, implementing this work arrangement now can significantly help your company succeed in the future.
It isn’t easy to institute a flexible work program. Even so, as long as you do the proper research about the advantages and detriments of the work arrangement type you’re interested in and create some guidelines and systems, it should be more than satisfactory.
Some of the flexible work arrangements mentioned only continue to grow as time passes, mainly because almost every business that implements them prospers and improves their employees’ quality of life and foster a positive work culture. In the future, more companies are sure to implement these flexible schedules as the tools to make them viable keep improving and multiplying.
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