Finding your flex

By Grayce Burns

While 24 percent of office workers love their jobs, 45 percent of telecommuters love theirs, reports think-tank Leadership IQ — and that’s all thanks to a new praxis in the workplace: flex.

Flex? You ask.

Flexible Work Options have become increasingly popular in the American workplace.

FWO can be broken down into four major categories: flextime, telecommuting, compressed schedules, and job sharing.

Out of the four, flextime and telecommuting have become the decided leaders in popularity among both employers and employees. Increased employee satisfaction, talent retention, boosts in productivity, cuts to energy and real-estate costs, are just a few of the many benefits FWO has to offer.

Flextime

Also known as flexible scheduling, flextime is one of the most widely adopted by current businesses. Flextime is an alternative to the traditional 9-5, 40-hour work week which allows employees to vary their arrival and/or departure times  based on that specific worker’s needs and skills.

By giving individuals control and freedom in deciding just how they get to the 40-hour work week benchmark, they can greater customize their schedules to increase their own productivity.

Jobs ideal for this category of FWO are those that include tangible outcomes from workers, i.e. positions that involve copious amounts of writing or projects which fall on specific deadlines.

As per certain policies, employees must work a prescribed number of hours per pay period and be present during the daily, core time. During this time, all employees would be in the office together and be able to meet with one another to work collaboratively or discuss decisions for any ongoing projects.

Flextime allows individuals to work to their own strengths and inclinations as well as increasing the effectiveness of the company as a whole.

Telecommuting

Telecommuting includes the process through which the employee does not physically travel to an office location, but rather participates in the work day from another location by completing work through the internet and telephone. Telecommuting makes workers more productive and more likely to stay with a given company based on their increased satisfaction in their position.

Even better, telecommuting cuts overhead costs by reducing the financial responsibility of running an office space—costs like energy and electricity, internet, supplies and real-estate associated costs.

It’s great for the carbon footprint as well. Workers cut down on their commuting and paper use, as the system is inherently paperless in nature. Thus, telecommuting can be seen as an incredibly enticing work structure with benefits that go far beyond standard measures.

Flex compressed

Compressed work schedules are work formats through which an individual works more than the traditional amount of hours in a given day, in order to have an extra day off. Under this structure, the employee still works the same amount of hours (37.5-40 hours), but it is simply done in fewer days.

It’s important to note that compressed schedules thrive in service-driven environments.

This type of work structure helps facilitate lower absenteeism, increases employee satisfaction, and helps improve customer service by extending hours of service during busier days of the week.

Job Sharing?

Job sharing is becoming incredibly prevalent in the workplace. This structure entails two staff members sharing the responsibilities of one full-time position, usually by working on alternating days of the week which in total adds up to one full-time work week.

This work structure aids in increasing manpower devoted to a job, thus enhancing creativity, energy, and enthusiasm put towards the position’s tasks; furthermore, because there are two individuals sharing one job’s tasks, accountability for accomplishments is greatly increased.

Flex is not a one-size fits all, but once you find what fits it’s bound to help boost efficiency and productivity in your workplace.

 

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