Flexible work arrangements are increasingly popular, especially since many workers now value job satisfaction almost as much as a good salary, while employers are becoming more aware of the benefits. There are, however, numerous variations of flexible work, and each one has its own pros and cons for both the employer and employee.
Find out how to take advantage of eight of the most effective flexible work arrangements to support productive work in the office, at home, or on-the-go.
The availability of technology has made it easier for different approaches to work to become more viable. As more workers seek the balance between work and life, more flexible working arrangements are being sought. Flexibility is beneficial to employers not only as a means of attracting better candidates but also as a means of improving performance.
Here are eight flexible work arrangements, who they might suit, and why employers may want to consider them.
1. Combination of work
While hybrid work can have many different definitions, it can be defined as a working arrangement in which some staff work on-site, others work remotely or via telecommuting, and others can choose to work on-site or off-site according to their circumstances, goals, and preferences.
In hybrid work, the importance of how employees work is placed over where they work, removing the concept of location. A hybrid workplace is designed to create a happier, harder-working workforce by providing diverse work arrangements for different employees within the same organisation, leading to greater employee autonomy and improved well-being.
Occasionally, this may also mean flexibility in how work is done, provided it is done before the agreed-upon deadline. It is useful for workers who are at their most productive outside of conventional working hours, those who prefer to perform high-focus tasks away from office distractions, or those who balance work with family responsibilities.
2. Telephone communication
The practice of telecommuting involves working from a location outside of the employer's office or physical workplace. If you are working from home, but if you are working from a public library, co-working space, or coffee shop, depending on your device and your company's policy, you also may be working from a public library, co-working space, or coffee shop.
Employers face the challenge of ensuring their employees have access to the technology required to do their jobs and connect with colleagues while maintaining their own security and productivity. Telecommunications can, however, be a really effective arrangement, with potential benefits including lowered absenteeism and greater morale.
It is important to keep in mind that even if a person is telecommuting from home he or she may still need to attend the workplace occasionally, such as for meetings and catch-up sessions. Thus, telecommuting describes work that takes place off-site for people who live nearby.
3. Work from a distance
Working remotely and telecommuting are often used interchangeably, and there is no clear separation between the two. Telecommuting can be distinguished from remote work, however, by the presence of physical requirements for attendance and whether employees have to live close to the office.
Since remote workers are able to work from anywhere on the planet, as long as they have the necessary technology, such as a computer and access to the Internet, they are able to do their jobs. It is common for companies employing remote workers to have employees in different countries.
It is not usually necessary for remote workers to attend meetings or team-building sessions at the office, but they can participate through video conferencing. Companies are not always aware of the distinction between remote work and telecommuting, so jobs are sometimes advertised as remote even if they do not meet the requirements.
4. Working fewer hours
A limited work week, also known as a compressed workweek or compressed working week, is a week in which regular full-time working hours are still scheduled, but it is condensed into fewer days than usual. Although the exact arrangement may vary, it is usually a four-day week.
Employees may prefer this arrangement because it includes an extended three-day weekend in place of simply having two days off. It is possible that some employees will instead choose to take a day off in the middle of the week, allowing them to fit in other tasks.
It is noted in an article for The Balance Careers that condensed workweeks can facilitate better work-life balance. In addition, flexibility offered by the arrangement may allow employers to retain staff who would otherwise move elsewhere. The downside is that it will also lengthen every individual day, which may not be comfortable for everyone.
5. Flexible Time
In its simplest form, flexible work arrangements are when employees can choose when they want to start and end their working day, as long as they work the hours they are contractually obligated to. The most common way of doing this is simply to adjust the times at which they work every day.
As an example, a worker may work from 11 am to 7 pm one day, and 8 am to 4 pm the next. Instead of working from 9 am to 5 pm every day, he may work from 11 am to 7 pm one day and 8 am to 4 pm the next. It is also possible in some arrangements for workers to reduce their hours on one day to increase their hours on the next, if they meet their contracted weekly or monthly hours.
Flexible work schedules can be especially beneficial for employees who may need to sacrifice time for other commitments, such as dropping off kids at school or taking a college course. In some cases, the ability to alter start and finish times can also help people manage their commutes, allowing them to reach public transport more easily or avoid rush hour traffic.
6. A part-time job
Any job that offers fewer weekly hours than a full-time position is considered part-time work.
Even though the criteria for what constitutes full-time employment vary from location to location, a common cutoff point is 30 hours per week. Traditionally, part-time work is defined as work ranging from one hour a week to 34 hours a week.
Having part-time employees can be useful to employers, allowing them to hire people for tasks that will not take up sufficient time to justify the existence of a full-time post. In many cases, part-time employment is desirable because it allows employees to earn money as well as take care of other responsibilities, such as school or children.
In some industries, there may also be 'off-season' periods during the year, but employers may still need some workers to keep their business running, and this may be another situation when part-time employment can be useful. The employee benefits provided to part-time workers are typically different from those given to full-time staff.
7. Changing shifts
A shift work arrangement involves breaking down the workday into different shifts and assigning them to employees, so that different groups of workers will be responsible for different tasks at different times. This is an especially common approach for employers who are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Consequently, employees may be required to work hours that are different from traditional 9 to 5 working hours, or they may be required to work different hours from one day to the next or week to the next. In some situations, employees can also choose to work the night shift rather than the day shift.
Shift work is a convenient and efficient way for employers to ensure work can be carried out at any time of the day. While shift work involves a variety of positive effects on worker well-being, it also has a variety of negative side effects, so it should be carefully managed in order to avoid over stressing workers.
In addition, job sharing is another flexible work arrangement, where two people work together on a part-time basis to accomplish the same tasks that one person could do on a full-time basis.
It's similar to the appeal of a part-time job for employees, as job sharing allows greater flexibility to integrate work with other responsibilities. There may be times when it is easier for employers to locate two people who will work part-time hours, since theoretically, the amount of work done is the same as if a full-time employee were hired. The arrangement can also be advantageous when an employee takes leave, as it allows the role to be performed in some capacity.
Work must be divided up cleanly so that everyone knows what they are doing at all times for job-sharing arrangements to succeed. In addition to effective communication between employees sharing a role, it is also important to communicate between employees and employers. In addition to offering greater flexibility, reduced hours can help reduce absences and
improve well-being, especially in stressful jobs.
With the global workforce changing rapidly and telework and remote work becoming more viable and work-life balance becoming more important, flexibility in the workplace has become a priority. Employers need to determine which flexible work arrangements provide sufficient flexibility to keep workers satisfied without negatively affecting productivity or quality of work.
Consider offering flexible work arrangements that include off-site work by reading How to Optimize Collaboration in Remote Teams.