Fixed Versus Flexible Working Hours In Workforce Management

Fixed Versus Flexible Working Hours In Workforce Management

Flexible working hours have been found to​ lead to​ a​ happier workforce, and​ to​ far better customer service and​ share valuations. However, there is​ a​ fear that implementing flexible working hours is​ complicated and​ that it​ could lead to​ a​ flood of​ impossible demands from employees.

Before we look at​ flexible working hours in​ more detail, let us take a​ brief look at​ the​ standard working hours.

Working Hours for​ Employees

Working hours for​ employees have changed dramatically over the​ last two centuries. Back in​ the​ nineteenth century when industrialization started in​ Europe, workers were compelled to​ work even 16 hours a​ day. in​ twenty-first century France, however, the​ government had fixed working hours at​ 35 hours a​ week.

Most industrialized countries have regulated the​ workweek by stipulating the​ maximum number of​ working hours per week, minimum daily rest periods, annual holidays and​ sickness pay. the​ standard is​ around 40 working hours per workweek, typically Monday through Friday. Paid vacations range from three to​ five weeks a​ year.

Long working hours can lead to​ stress-related health problems, less time for​ busy parents to​ attend to​ child-rearing, and​ less leisure to​ enjoy consumer products and​ services. Henry Ford introduced low working hours so that his employees would have the​ leisure to​ buy and​ enjoy the​ cars he produced.

Flexible Working Hours and​ its Impact

One major problem with fixed working hours is​ that employees find it​ difficult to​ balance the​ demands of​ their personal lives and​ work lives. Flexible working hours can lead to​ better work/life balance and​ result in​ a​ happier workforce.

Flexible working hours can come in​ different forms such as:

  • Part-time working that enables an​ employee to​ be free during business hours to​ attend to​ personal matters. for​ employers, it​ could mean engaging employees during peak workload hours, and​ reducing overall payroll costs

  • Flexi-time working where employees work extra time when needed by employers and​ bank the​ extra hours/days off for​ arranging their personal commitments

  • Annualized hours is​ an​ arrangement where times worked and​ times off are balanced across the​ year as​ a​ whole. Extra hours are worked during peak business seasons and​ less during lean seasons. Employers can retain experienced employees instead of​ hiring inexperienced casual or​ contract staff

  • Customized flexible working hours during special events to​ enable employees watch, say, world cup matches and​ yet meet their work time requirements

Studies have indicated that flexible working hours produce tangible benefits to​ employers in​ the​ forms of:

  • Reduced absenteeism and​ employee turnover

  • Lower recruitment costs as​ they can retain their existing staff

  • Higher staff morale leading to​ better work performance, customer service and​ even company stock performance

A survey even revealed that employees preferred flexible working hours to​ substantial additional pay.

Implementing Flexible Working Hours

Employers must know when they have peak workloads, needing more employees. This is​ not too difficult to​ assess with today's technologies like EPOS and​ computerized systems that can record transaction times.

Once the​ requirements are identified, flexible rostering software can generate rosters to​ fit the​ workload. This software would then help to​ optimize the​ rosters to​ meet:

  • Work contract requirements

  • Sociability factors, and

  • Employee work preferences to​ the​ extent possible

Where employee preferences cannot be met in​ full, the​ software would show the​ employees why this happened. This creates greater trust in​ the​ employees that their needs are being genuinely attended to.


The standard practice so far has been fixed working hours arranged in​ different shifts. This can lead of​ difficulties in​ balancing employees' personal and​ work life demands. Flexible working hours help better work/life balance and​ lead to​ a​ happier workforce. a​ happier workforce results in​ less absenteeism, better customer service and​ higher stock performance.

Fixed Versus Flexible Working Hours In Workforce Management

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