Flexible working hours; Yes, No, Maybe?

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Flexible hours, is it still a myth or does it really exist where only those of exceptional quality get to experience?

Sarcasm aside, flexible working hours are meant to be beneficial to both the employee and the employer and in most cases are. For some industries flexible working hours are more easily enforced than others, such as IT. I doubt flexi hours would work well in the medical industry though many would argue that with the state of the NHS flexi hours are already unofficially in place.

Realistically is there still such a thing as working 9-5 and is this the only time frame an employee can be considered productive? Many employees want a healthy work life balance which flexible hours offer but only if the employer allows it. Working parents, those with elderly parents or perhaps those who just know that starting earlier/later and working earlier/later enables them to be more productive.

Applying for flexible hours can be straight forward depending on your employer, bear in mind your employer does have the right to refuse your flexible hours application if they have justifiable reasons. If in doubt have a look at the ACAS website.

What would flexible hours involve? The obvious being working non-traditional hours, but does it apply to the individual having to physically be in the office during the agreed hours or can they log in from home? If the employee did want to work from home, telecommuting in itself has its own advantage and disadvantages. Marissa Mayer did away with telecommuting as she felt it was negatively affecting the business and enforced that all employees be present in the office, in her mind this approach promoted the idea of being a team which had become disjointed.  There is some truth in this as you can discuss things with colleagues whilst sitting next to each other, in the kitchen making a cup of tea, whereas in your own kitchen it’s a case of me myself and I.

Flexi hours is the ‘in thing’ for the current and future of employment but for how long? As with any trend there comes a point where it is ‘over –done’ and flaws are highlighted resulting in a u-turn. How to prevent this from happening with the introduction of flexi hours, if it has not already happened? Each company will need to assess if allowing flexible hours is conducive to the company. This may sound selfish but if there is no company then there will be no job. A company cannot offer flexible hours if it negatively affects the day to day running of the business.

I personally believe that flexible hours can and does work. Companies are able to retain top employees and tap in to other employment groups such as working mums;  just because a woman had a child doesn’t mean her brains cells got fried. Both parties need to work together and be respectful of each other to make the situation work.

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7 thoughts on “Flexible working hours; Yes, No, Maybe?

  1. Ironically I am in the field of IT and also Healthcare – and I take advantage of flexible working as well as mobile working. This ability to accommodate you profession and personal life has been in operation for many years now – especially in IT. Like everything else, it does have its pros and cons.

    The nature of my profession means travelling to various locations, and thus allows me to work from either home or wherever I can be reachable. This does sound amazing but believe me, once you have been in this for years, you look forward in coming into office to meet the rest of the work crew – something which over time you begin to miss.

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  2. Understandable, I do enjoy the banter that goes on in the office even when to an outsider the topic of conversation is a bit silly :-). If anything that would be the key thing I would miss about working with others, it helps when the people you work with are on a similar wavelength to yourself.

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  3. I am lucky in that almost all that I do at work involves the use of a computer and that I am one of a small number of people who have been given a company laptop to enable me to work from home if I should need to

    I agree with the banter amongst colleagues in the work place being enjoyable but I do love working from home on occasion. I actually get a lot more work done from home than if I was in the office because I’m not distracted by office banter or people interrupting me to ask for my help with some issue or other

    Because only managers and a few other key personnel have been given the means to work from home, I regard it as a privilege and try not to abuse it by working from home too often, which might cause resentment amongst the other people I share an office with – though it is handy to be able to do so when waiting in for a parcel to be delivered or an engineer calling to repair my central heating or something similar !

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    • There are a few people at work who have been allowed to work from home but usually only expected to take advantage of it if they have been unable to make it into the office, especially when it has snowed quite heavily.

      I do like the idea of flexible hours but my job doesn’t require it. Possibly in the future when kids make an appearance then I would consider a more flexible approach to work. For now I like the environment I am in. If I don’t want to join in the banter or generally want to be left alone I put my headphones on. 🙂

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  4. I have had the good fortune of working a flex schedule (worked T/TH mornings at home) when my children were young and I can share a few insights. First, communication and trust are paramount. At first I communicated weekly with my supervisor about the hours and projects I worked on when I was not in the office. In addition, I had a good reputation with my boss prior to my asking for the flex time, thus there was a level of trust that I would not abuse the schedule. Unfortunately, other attempts at flex schedules with co-workers were not as successful.

    The other piece is I probably put in more hours than if I left the office at 5:00. Because I felt I needed to prove that I was working, I tended to work longer hours in the evening and weekends in addition to the hours I worked when I was not in the office. It can be a benefit to the employer AND employee is the setting is right and players are willing to make it work.

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