A 9-5 job is a term that belonged to the past. Flexible work timings are the new norm in many organizations with millennials joining the workforce. This is not a trend just limited to startups, some of the big names in many industries have also adopted this new workplace policy. According to a research conducted by Fractl in the US, flexible work timings was the second most crucial benefit after health insurance that was considered by job seekers. Furthermore, working parents, who are a large segment of the workforce consider flexible work-timings critical factor. Though there are many advantages to it, there also few drawbacks to it that companies must consider before imbibing this policy.
Let’s look at few opportunities and challenges with flexible work timings and its suitability for organizations.
- Encouraging entrepreneurial spirit
Flexible work timings grant employees the autonomy to decide their schedule, giving them the ownership of their own time and schedule. This harbors the spirit of entrepreneurship as they can work independently without having to bear the brunt of micromanagers. Giving them autonomy to decide their own terms and conditions concerning their schedule and work hours, bestows a greater responsibility of getting the job done on the employee’s shoulders as they have prioritized their tasks and chart out the schedule all on their own. This autonomy gives employees a sense of empowerment.
- Impact on productivity
People are generally divided into categories depending on the time of the day when they are most productive. Genetics is responsible for pegging the chronotype which decides when our body feels most energetic and when it feels like shutting off. Some are night owls, i.e, they are more productive in the second half of the day and like to start their day late, mostly by noon. Whereas the other group is metaphorically called early birds, as they like to start their day early. They are most productive in the first half of the day.
Early birds also like to end their workday by evening and do not prefer working late in the evening or at night. Flexible work timings allow one to choose their work hours depending on the time of the day when they are most productive. Hence, employees don’t have to slog to work just to clock-in those hours according to stringent office policies as they can choose whenever they want to start their day.
- Better commute
Public transports are overflowing with crowds during peak hours. Travelling during these hours is a gruesome task and might leave one completely exhausted by the time they reach office. By choosing their own work hours employees can avoid traveling during peak hours. If organizations permit telecommuting, then the drill of traveling to work can be altogether eliminated, though that is very subjective to each organization.
- Access to remote talent
Organizations who are comfortable with flexible work timings can give the options of telecommuting and hire remote employees as well. This reduces the cost of relocation for both employees and the company. As there are no geographical barriers, there’s wider landscape to scan for potential talent.
- Client schedules and deliverables
Businesses that have to work with the clients continuously need to specify the timings for client-facing executives. Even if the clients are flexible, the team handling client deliverables also need to arrange their work schedule to suit both the clients and the client servicing executives. For example, in advertising agencies, the creative and client facing teams work unanimously on client deliverables making it highly necessary for both such teams to be present in the office at the same time. Though this might seem like a tedious arrangement at times, with precise planning, all the parties could meet a consensus for team meetings and submissions.
- In-person engagement or team meetings
Managing team meetings is difficult with people clocking-in at different hours. Projects that need brain-storming sessions and creative validation from everyone, become tough to maintain as everyone needs to meet-up at the same time and even ensure that work is done on time. Though this problem can be solved by online meet-ups or town halls, the infrastructural issues such as internet connection, audio-video settings might become a hindrance.
Pros and cons of flexible work timings must be considered on the basis of organization’s working culture. With globalization and a dire need to gain a competitive advantage by harnessing the talent potential from different parts of the world, new work policies such as flexible work timings and telecommuting are here to stay. Organizations need to take cognizance of the opportunities and challenges that come with implementing the flexible work-timing policy and take into account the above scenarios while considering the same.