Everything you need to implement and manage flexitime

13 July 2020

No longer the millennial-attracting innovation of fresh new start-ups that it once was, flexi-time has transformed into a feasible working policy that has the potential to improve business practices across a range of industries. Put in place to improve work/life balance, reduce commute times and allow more time for leisure, study and childcare commitments, the practice has all manner of benefits to offer, so it's easy to see why such an approach has been gaining traction.

And in the current climate of working from home during the pandemic, flexible working arrangements are now more prevalent than ever. In fact, managers may have already had informal policies in place with their team, such as working one day a week from home or allowing early finishes for personal reasons.

But what do you need to do if you're looking to implement a formal company-wide policy of flexitime and properly manage it? In this article, we'll go into the topic in more detail, looking at the advantages of such an approach as well as how to introduce it into your workplace.

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What is flexitime?

As the name suggests, flexitime is a way of working which allows employees to fit their working hours around their individual needs, accommodating other commitments they might have outside of work. This allows them the flexibility to start and finish work at times that suit them.

The business will agree standard or core working hours that each employee must work, as well as flexible hours that allow employees to arrive and leave when they want, subject to organisational demands.

working flexibly

What are the advantages of flexitime?

There are many advantages to flexitime which can benefit both employee and employer. Such a policy aims to:

  • Re-establish the importance of a work/life balance
  • Reduce the commuting time for staff, which in turn can minimise the company's carbon footprint
  • Encourage more time for self-improvement in the form of hobbies, independent learning or higher education commitments
  • Allow employees more time to care for their families
  • Increase staff retention and recruitment opportunities
  • Boost employee morale and increase productivity
  • Ease managing any fluctuations in demand
  • Reduce potential problems with punctuality and absenteeism

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Are there any challenges to flexitime?

Despite its numerous benefits, there are still certain barriers that stand in the way of implementing a flexitime policy, including:

  • Operational pressures
  • Customer/service requirements of face-to-face businesses
  • Line managers' ability to manage flexible workers
  • Line management attitudes
  • Existing organisational culture
  • Lack of senior-level support

implementing flexitime

How to introduce and manage flexitime 

If you encounter some of these issues, then it's still possible to implement flexitime to overcome them. The following steps can help to introduce a policy in the right way:

  1. Create a clear process for how the flexible working policy will work across every facet of the organisation. This should be informative, easy to follow and provided to all employees. It's important that open lines of communication are established to address any queries or concerns. Document the flexible working terms agreed with individual employees so they have it in writing.
  2. Establish the responsibilities and roles of each member of staff, management and HR that will make the working policy a success in your company.
  3. Make sure that all business operations, including performance management, can be maintained within this flexible working policy. To do this, you'll need to transition from measuring the traditional time clocked per employee to measuring your staff's value based on work and outputs.
  4. Try out a trial period across different departments to see how the flexitime policy works within your company, taking note of what works and what doesn't. You should also be able to see the impact it's had on company culture too.
  5. Review goals and create processes that can track and evaluate progress following flexitime's introduction.
  6. Lead by example when taking charge. Integrating flexitime in everyday business practice can be a challenge in itself. You'll receive all sorts of individual requests from staff that might go beyond the limits of the flexibility that's already in place. That means it's essential to hold regular leadership training on how to manage a flexible workforce is needed to keep the success of the policy going.
  7. Promote flexitime as a company benefit on job vacancies so that it can also be used to attract new candidates rather than just retaining existing employees.

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