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Max Shepherd-Cross

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September 5, 2023

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Flex time policy: Benefits, step-by-step guide, and more

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Thinking about switching to a flexible work model at your company? You’ll need the right flex time policy. This will set the rules for flexible schedules, your employees will know what to expect, how to book desks (if you're using hot desking), when they need to be in the office, and what work arrangements they can ask for.

In this article, we'll talk about the benefits of a flex time policy and see how you can build a flextime schedule that works for everyone. Plus, we'll share some extra tips and tricks to make the transition as seamless as possible.

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What is a flex time policy?

A flex time policy (or flextime policy) is a flexible approach to work hours that lets employees choose when they start and finish their workday, within certain limits.

Instead of sticking to the traditional 9-to-5 schedule, your team can tweak their hours to fit their lives, like starting earlier or later, or taking a long mid-day break. This helps people manage their work-life balance better and handle things like school runs, doctor’s appointments, or personal commitments.

As long as employees get their work done and meet their hours, you can give them the freedom to set their schedules. This gives them more control over their work, which helps build trust and creates a happier, healthier work environment.

The evolution of flex time work from the 70s to today

Flex time policies have come a long way, evolving with changes in work culture, the available tech tools, and what workers want. Initially, they were introduced in the 1970s as a way to tackle traffic jams and energy shortages. In other words, flex time was simply a response to logistical issues rather than an actual perk as we now see it.

As technology got better, particularly with the rise of the internet and the introduction of mobile phones and laptops in the late 1990s and early 2000s, flexible scheduling became more feasible and attractive. Companies started seeing the benefits of flexible hours, especially to attract top talent. The push for better work-life balance made more businesses try out flexi time policies.

The real turning point for flex time, however, came with the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies had to adapt rapidly to lockdowns and social distancing and began to see that mass remote, hybrid, and flexible work arrangements are not only possible, but often better for everyone.

So, even after the pandemic, many companies have stuck with flextime schedules.

Today, for many organizations (maybe yours, too?), flexi time is often part of broader flexible arrangements that include hybrid work and compressed hours or workweeks. Essentially, we’re now seeing a shift towards focusing on results over the time employees spend working.

The logical conclusion? Productivity is not necessarily tied to hours worked but rather to the ability to work when we are at our best. So, it's not surprising that flex time policies are so popular now! 

What are the benefits of flexible working hours?

Flextime arrangements offer a number of benefits for teams and employers, which is why they're becoming more and more popular. Here are some of the key advantages:

Improved work-life balance

A flexible schedule allows employees to adjust their work hours to better accommodate personal commitments, such as childcare, hobbies, medical appointments, pet care, sports, and more.

Alt text: A man working on a desk and a dog next to him
A flexible work schedule enables your team members to tend to personal commitments – including taking better care of their pets

This helps reduce stress and boosts well-being, which is why 83% of workers love hybrid work models.

Increased employee satisfaction and better retention

When people have control over their work hours, they’re happier and more satisfied with their jobs. This means fewer people quit: If your employees can achieve a better work-life balance with the help of flexible hours, they’ll stick around longer. 

Happy and fulfilled employees are less likely to look for greener pastures, so you’ll keep your top talent. 

Enhanced productivity

Believe it or not, flexibility breeds productivity! Not everyone's at their best from 9 to 5.

A flextime policy lets your team work when they’re most productive. For some, bright and early mornings are their peak times, while others may find their creative flow late at night. By allowing employees to tap into their natural rhythms, you give them the space to do their best work.

Less stress related to commuting

Traffic jams are the worst – we can all agree on that. With flexible schedules, employees can start and finish work at off-peak times, avoiding rush hour. This saves time but also cuts down on the stress and fatigue from commuting.

A smoother commute means a better start and end to the day. Plus, studies show that traffic stress has a deeply negative impact on workers' wellbeing.

Wider talent pool

A flex time policy can also help you build a more inclusive and diverse workforce. By accommodating different lifestyles and personal situations, you can bring in a wider range of talent, including caregivers or those who prefer non-traditional working hours.

This can bring fresh perspectives, new ideas, and a greater sense of inclusivity within the workplace.

Reduced absenteeism and burnout

With flex time work schedules, employees have the freedom to prioritize their personal lives without neglecting work. This means fewer absences and lateness since they can schedule appointments, go to family events, or simply take a breather when they need it most.

Additionally, the improved work-life balance that comes with flex time policies reduces burnout and boosts overall job satisfaction. When employees have the flexibility to take care of personal stuff without stressing about work, they are less likely to feel overwhelmed. Otherwise said, with a minimal effort you’re getting tons of benefits for your team members.

How to implement a flextime policy at your organization: A step-by-step guide

So, if you're sold on the idea of a flex time policy and ready to make a change, you're probably wondering where to begin. In this section, we'll guide you through building a flexible work schedule that works well for you and your employees.

Step 1: Know what your team needs

First, get a feel for what your team wants and needs. 

Survey your team to find out:

  • What their preferences for work hours are
  • Whether they want to explore remote work possibilities
  • Whether they’re interested in flexible setups like compressed hours or job sharing

Check if your business can handle this kind of flexibility, keeping in mind your busy times, customer service needs, and team coordination.

Step 2: Set core hours and flexible working options

Decide on core hours during which employees should be available for meetings, collaborative work, or customer support. Outside of these core hours, let employees choose their start and end times.

To take this a step further, offer options for compressed work weeks, where employees work longer hours on fewer days, and hybrid work models that mix in-office and remote work.

Step 3: Create flextime guidelines

Draft clear guidelines that outline how flextime will work. Define who is eligible considering job roles and responsibilities, if relevant.

Make sure your policy follows relevant laws, like the Fair Labor Standards Act, and explain how time tracking and overtime will be managed.

Step 4: Build the right tech stack

Equipping your team with the right tech is key for the success of your flextime policy, especially when you add on remote or hybrid work elements. Build a tech stack that supports various flexible working arrangements. Here are some tools to check out:

  • Reliable communication tools like Slack, MS Teams, and Google Meet
  • Project management and collaboration tools like Trello, Asana, and ClickUp
  • Desk booking software like Officely

Step 5: Try it out first

Before you go all-in, consider a trial period to see how different flexible setups work in practice. This way, you can spot problems and fix them as you go.

During this period, keep talking to your team to get their feedback and see how the new policy is affecting everyone.

Step 6: Train managers and team leads

Make sure you train your team leads to:

  • Manage flexible schedules
  • Track productivity without micromanaging
  • Support everyone’s well-being

Remind them to treat all employees fairly, no matter what work arrangement they choose.

Step 7: Check the results and tweak as needed

Once the trial period is over, take a look at how things went. Check metrics like employee satisfaction, job performance, and how well the flexible arrangements are aligning with your needs.

Be ready to tweak the policy to better serve your employees and you. This could mean tweaking core hours, expanding eligibility, or adding more flexible work options.

Step 8: Formalize the policy in the employee handbook

Once you’ve finalized the policy, add it to the employee handbook. Make sure it covers everything: core hours, who’s eligible, how to apply, and any special requirements or expectations.

Keep this section easy to find and let everyone know about the new policy and how they can request a flexible work setup that works for them.

By carefully planning your flextime policy, you'll create a more flexible and supportive work environment that works for both your team and your business. This helps employees balance life better and stress less – and it makes everyone happier and more productive.

Potential challenges and solutions

Of course, no change comes without its fair share of challenges – and the same goes for the management of a hybrid workplace as that of a flextime schedule for your team.

It's important to anticipate and address these hurdles head-on to ensure a smooth transition.

Managing different schedules

With flex time policies, keeping track of different schedules and keeping everyone in sync can be tricky.

The key is to set up solid communication channels, use the right tech for remote collaboration, and define clear guidelines for schedule sharing, for example with the help of a workspace management software like Officely.

Ensuring accountability and performance

You might also be worried that flex time might mean that some employees slack off. 

The key is to set clear expectations from the get-go and track performance with measurable goals and targets. 

Regular check-ins, performance reviews, and open lines of communication will keep everyone accountable and performing well. 

Build a flextime policy that serves you and your employees well

Give employees the freedom to build their schedule and be more involved in deciding what works best for them, and you'll be sure to build a happier team.

This also means that you'll be able to:

  • Retain top talent more easily
  • Improve your team's overall productivity
  • Reduce absenteeism and stress

But for this, you need the right tools and processes. Check out our guide to creating a flexible workplace policy and incorporate the right desk booking software to make it easier for employees to plan their workdays, reserve their desks, and see when's the best time to come to the office.

Book a free demo to see how the right software can help you build a flextime policy that works well for everyone.

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Max Shepherd-Cross

Max Shepherd-Cross

Max is one of the cofounders and CEO of Officely, a flexible work enablement platform. He has helped thousands of businesses not only transition to flexible work but instil it at the core of their culture and brand.

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