All You Need To Know About a Flexi Work Arrangement
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 2 November 2022
Published 27 July 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
As the demands of doing business shift in response to current events and changing markets, many employers and employees are embracing alternative approaches to work. Instead of following traditional schedules and practices, many organisations now offer flexible working arrangements. If you're interested in re-evaluating how you fulfil your professional obligations or manage your company, you might benefit from learning more about this growing trend. In this article, we define flexible working arrangements, list their benefits and detail the many possible flexible working arrangements to consider.
What is a flexi work arrangement?
A flexi work arrangement, or flexible work arrangement, is a schedule or delegation of responsibilities that differs from the default, traditional arrangements that have previously defined many professionals' careers. Whereas a typical workweek usually involves working about 40 hours over five days in an office setting, many organisations now see advantages in offering alternative approaches. Flexible working arrangements comprise a wide variety of agreements between companies and their employees, but they all emphasise mutual benefit for both parties. Employees can pursue a greater variety of opportunities that fit their lifestyles, and employers operate more efficiently.
Why are flexible working arrangements valuable?
Flexible working arrangements can offer excellent advantages to organisations and their team members. Some valuable benefits of flexible working arrangements include:
Lower operational costs
When all employees follow a traditional work schedule, organisations may accommodate their entire teams working in one place at the same time. They may lease or own a large enough office, provide equipment and supplies and pay for costs, such as utilities, that employees incur. Flexible working arrangements can partially or almost entirely eliminate many of these expenses, drastically reducing an organisation's operational costs. With flexible work hours, companies can stagger shifts and have employees work remotely so they can maintain smaller offices and pay for fewer people's daily needs.
Better client services
When companies embrace flexible work hours, they often better meet clients' needs. For instance, if a business has employees working at different times throughout the day, clients always have someone available to help them. By spreading employees across diverse locations, businesses can engage clients where they operate rather than having to do so from a distance. Flexible working arrangements also enable companies to hire help on a short-term basis, so if a single client has specialised requirements, a company can quickly source the expertise it needs for the one transaction.
Greater employee satisfaction
When employees can adjust their professional schedules to align with their personal ones, they experience less stress and greater satisfaction. Although set schedules have some benefits for companies, they often conflict with employees' individual needs and desires. For instance, some professionals may find they focus best in the afternoon and evening, or might want to pursue educational opportunities that take place during normal business hours. Flexible working hours empower people to maximise their productivity and develop their skills. Often, organisations are the direct beneficiaries of happier employees who do better work when they can take care of themselves.
More choice in hiring
The limitations of traditional working arrangements have often limited companies' choices in hiring. Flexible working arrangements expand pools of eligible candidates, empowering organisations to find the perfect hire, rather than settling for someone who accepts a typical schedule or lives nearby. Companies can use telecommuting and adaptable scheduling to welcome professionals from all over the world and benefit from their unique qualifications.
Related: Q&A: What is Telecommuting?
Increased team diversity
Building a team of diverse perspectives enhances organisations' ability to innovate, solve problems and respond to clients' needs. However, operating in a single region or according to a fixed schedule sometimes filters out talented candidates who could bring new ideas to a team. By offering flexible working arrangements, companies encourage a diverse group of professionals to consider opportunities with them. They also can better include a mix of perspectives that companies sometimes exclude from workplaces. For instance, whereas retirees often leave a job permanently, flexible working arrangements can sustain connections between organisations and these former employees who still have valuable insights to offer.
Reduced environmental impact
Many companies make being environmentally conscious a core value. However, an entire company commuting to work has inevitable effects on energy consumption and emissions that are counterproductive to this goal. Flexible working arrangements, especially those involving remote work, can significantly reduce the resource usage of a company and lessen its environmental impact.
What are examples of flexible working arrangements?
The many available flexible working arrangements fall into one of three categories, based on time, location or workload. Here are explanations of these categories and the specific arrangements they include:
Some flexible working arrangements give employees decision-making power over when they fulfil their responsibilities. Professionals can use these arrangements to accommodate their personal schedules or other responsibilities they have during normal business hours. Time-based flexible working arrangements include:
Compressed work schedules: compressed work schedules enable employees to complete their full-time commitments in an abbreviated workweek. For example, an employee might work 40 hours over four days instead of five.
Creative scheduling creative scheduling is an approach employers take when their team members have diverse and unique scheduling needs. They might present employees with several shift options so they can care for family members or attend classes.
Employees' choice of days off: employees' choice of days off is an important arrangement for business models that require operation seven days a week. To ensure fairness, companies might use a ballot system that maximises employees' ability to get at least one of their preferred days off.
Flexi-hours: flexi-hours is an arrangement where employees commit to work a certain number of hours per accounting period. It's a valuable approach when someone can complete their job independently, not requiring the active collaboration of others.
Flexi-shifts: flexi-shift is an arrangement where employees specify the windows of time they can work and receive shifts that match them. Flexi-shift can help people combine part-time jobs into a unified schedule.
Shift swapping: Shift swapping is a system where employees can trade days on the schedule to take care of personal matters. Usually, employers ask that employees request a swap and then grant approval.
Staggered time: Staggered time is an arrangement where employees can begin their day at their convenience. They still work a full day but can adapt their job to their personal schedule.
Time banks: Time bank is an arrangement like flexi-hours, where employees agree to work a certain amount per time period. However, time bank allows employees to accumulate any extra hours they work and then take that amount of time off in the future.
Working arrangements that are flexible about location, sometimes referred to as flexi-place, allow teams to complete their work remotely via telecommuting. While some people complete their jobs entirely from outside the office, others take a hybrid approach, coming into a centralised workplace some days. Some common locations where people work include:
Smart work centres
Some employers benefit from hiring employees who fulfil responsibilities on a less than full-time basis. Treating workloads flexibly helps companies pay precisely for the expertise and help they need without over-committing their payroll and training resources. Some workload-based flexible working arrangements include:
Interim work: interim work is a hiring arrangement where an employee joins an organisation for a limited period. Interim employees can be part- or full-time.
Job sharing: job sharing is an arrangement where two or more part-time employees combine their efforts to complete work equal to one full-time employee. Coworkers might divide responsibilities according to skill, location or schedule.
Part-time work: part-time work is an arrangement where employees work a regular schedule of fewer than 35 hours.
Phasing in or out: phasing in or out is an arrangement where an organisation transitions employees between part- and full-time roles. This helps team members re-enter or exit their roles during major changes, such as having a child.
Phased retirement: phased retirement is an arrangement to help professionals ease into retirement. They can transition to part-time work or take on fewer responsibilities.
Retirees cover for workers on leave: this arrangement enables retirees to fulfil the responsibilities of someone temporarily on leave. It relies on organisations maintaining connections to their former employees and providing them supplemental training.
Seasonal work: seasonal work is an arrangement where companies expand their teams to meet business needs that change throughout the year. Adding part-time employees can reduce the stress of busy periods that year-round staff would otherwise manage on their own.
Related: How To Get a Gig Job
How do flexi-hours work?
When an employee accepts a flex-hours agreement, they commit to working a specific number of hours per week or accounting period. This approach to flexible work hours requires exceptional time-management skills since the employee manages their own schedule entirely, often with minimal direct oversight. Both remote and in-person employees can operate on a flexi-hours basis, as long as they have the approval of their employer.
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