9 Types of Flexible Working Arrangements

Only 17% of U.S. households are considered “traditional” with a husband in the workforce and a wife who is not — making the “nontraditional” the new traditional.

With a growing demand for flexible work arrangements, both employees and employers are interested in implementing practical solutions to help Americas workforce balance their many commitments. Employers also want their firms to have a competitive edge in attracting and retaining talented employees. According to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundations Workplace, Work Force, and Working Families Program, “… in todays 21st century work force, nearly four out of five working Americans–across age, income, and stage in life–want more flexibility at work. But a flexibility gap exists: the demand for flexibility far exceeds its availability.”

ODEP recognizes that Customized Employment is one form of the growing movement of workplace flexibility or flexible work arrangements (FWAs) — flexibility around the job tasks rather than the location or the schedule. According to the National Council on Disability, “The movement for flexibility in the workplace brings people with disabilities to… the discussion in which the workplace needs of all employees are taken into account.” (National Council on Disabilitys report: Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Challenges, Best Practices, and New Opportunities for Success (July 26, 2007).

Flexible Working Arrangements

9 types of flexible working arrangements

Many employers offer flexible working arrangements to make their employees’ lives easier. A flexible working arrangement can improve your productivity, job satisfaction and overall happiness. Here are some types of flexible working arrangements you may find in the workforce:

1. Flex time

This type of working arrangement provides you with flexibility regarding your workday’s start and end times. While your employer may specify certain times that you should work during the day, you typically have the option when to begin and end your workday at a time thats more convenient to your personal schedule.

Some employers also offer flexible or unlimited paid time off. Typically, this is offered to reward your quality of work as opposed to focusing on the number of hours you work.

2. Compressed workweek

A compressed or condensed workweek allows you to work 40 hours in less than five days. You may start earlier or finish later than the normal workday. For example, you may work four 10-hour days. This schedule, for example, might allow you to take an extra day and/or cut down on commuting costs each week.

3. Reduced hours/part-time work

4. Annualized hours

Annualized hours, also known as banking hours, allow you and your employee to agree on a maximum number of days and work hours for a certain period. This is often a combination of flex time and compressed workweek programs and can help reduce overtime hours. These arrangements may be suited to fields where there is variation in demands such as peak hours or seasonal peaks.

5. Flex place

Also known as telecommuting or teleworking, flex place allows you to work remotely from your home or another location. While some employees work remotely 100% of the time, others may come into the office a few days per week. With this arrangement, you and your employee will determine details such as hours of work and how you will communicate with coworkers and customers.

6. Job sharing

With job sharing, you and at least one coworker split one full-time position and the required working hours. This arrangement essentially operates like part-time work for employees while letting employers receive the equivalent of one full-time employee. Job sharing may affect pay, benefits and holidays. For example, a full-time schedule might be from 2-10 p.m., but two employees split a schedule where one works from 2-6 p.m. and the other works from 6-10 p.m.

7. Work sharing

Companies often allow work sharing to avoid layoffs. With this arrangement, employers temporarily reduce the number of hours and salary for staff while maintaining the number of people they employ. For example, all copy editors at a newspaper may work a four-day schedule at a lower wage than their previous five-day week.

8. Phased retirement

With this type of flexible working arrangement, you and your employer agree on a schedule that gradually reduces your full-time work commitments. For example, your employer may decide to phase out your responsibilities over a series of months or years as you near retirement. This phased period can be used to train your replacement, plan restructuring or let coworkers adjust to redistribution of tasks.

9. Leaves and sabbaticals

Leaves and sabbaticals are authorized periods of time away from work without loss of employment rights. Paid or unpaid leaves are usually granted for family, health care, education or leisure reasons. Sabbaticals are usually paid (or partially funded) and occur in addition to vacation time. In some cases, self-funded leaves may be possible where a portion of the employees salary is withheld and returned to the employee “as pay” during the time away from work.

What are flexible working arrangements?

A flexible working arrangement refers to a work schedule or work environment that doesnt come with the constraints you often find with a traditional work schedule job. These arrangements consider your personal life and allow you to help find a greater work-life balance.

Such arrangements are becoming more common as employers realize their benefits. Flexibility often helps increase the ability to attract, retain and motivate high-performing and experienced employees while increasing workplace diversity and inclusion. Offering such options may reduce absenteeism, boost productivity, lower overhead costs and allow continued operations during emergencies.

Advantages of flexible working arrangements

Here are some of the advantages that flexible working arrangements provide to employees:

Greater work-life balance

Feeling of personal control

A flexible working schedule gives you an increased sense of empowerment regarding your work schedule and work environment. The ability to set your own schedule and work where you want can improve morale, create greater job satisfaction and reduce the risk of burnout.

Greater productivity

With a flexible work schedule, you have the opportunity to set your own work hours and work during your most productive hours. For example, if you tend to get more work done during the morning, you can structure your work schedule accordingly. If you get more work done at night, you can move your work schedule to later hours to ensure the greatest level of productivity.

Reduced commute

If you have a flexible working arrangement that allows you to work from home, you dont have to make the trip to a physical workplace each day. This lets you avoid traffic and the time, stress and costs associated with commuting.

Reduced childcare costs

Depending on your flexible working arrangement, you may see a decrease in childcare costs. If you work remotely, you may still need to pay for some type of childcare since you may not be able to effectively complete your work while watching your children. However, if you and your partner both have flexible working arrangements, you might coordinate your schedules to avoid paying for childcare.

Reduced tardiness and absenteeism

Creating your own work schedule or adjusting it to fit your needs helps you start work on time and reduce the times you call in sick. When you dont have to commute, for example, you avoid running late due to traffic. Youre also less likely to call in sick to work since youre already home.

Customized workspace

If you have a flexible working arrangement to work from home, you can create a workspace thats customized to your interests and productivity. For example, instead of working in a cubicle, you can arrange a home office with the right setup for you. Creating your own workspace can help you find greater job satisfaction and motivation.

Disadvantages of flexible working arrangements

While a flexible working arrangement comes with many benefits, it can also present some drawbacks. Acknowledging these drawbacks can help you determine how much you value a flexible working arrangement. Here are some of the disadvantages of flexible working arrangements:

Decreased communication with staff

If you work from home, you and other staff members may have a harder time communicating. While you can still interact through video calls, phone calls, emails and other online communication platforms, its not the same as speaking with someone in person. When youre not able to communicate effectively, it can hinder your productivity and the quality of your work.

With a flexible arrangement, you may have to make a greater effort to coordinate and plan projects with in-office employees. To combat this, some employers may require you to work certain hours to ensure your team is available at the same time for at least part of their shift.

Inclined to work more

If you dont have a clear balance between your work and home life, you may feel like youre working all the time. It’s harder to stop working when your computer is accessible 24/7 or you don’t have a separate workspace in your home. Managers or other staff may feel like they can contact outside traditional workhours.

Decreased sense of teamwork

If you work from home, you may feel isolated from your coworkers. While you can still interact with your colleagues online, communicating face-to-face often provides you with a greater sense of community and helps you feel like youre not alone. Without the support or physical presence of your colleagues, youre more likely to feel isolated.

Reduced productivity

A flexible working arrangement may lead to less productivity if its not used effectively. For example, some employees may find it hard to adapt to a flexible working arrangement without a concrete working schedule and oversight. Not having either of these may reduce your productivity, since you no longer have an active source of motivation or the assurance that often comes with an in-office job.

FAQ

What are flexible work arrangements?

Advantages and disadvantages of flexible working
  • Flexible working often means working from home. …
  • Blurring the home / work balance. …
  • Procrastination. …
  • Communication difficulties. …
  • Flexible working requests can cause employee isolation. …
  • Reduced benefits. …
  • Possible lack of career progression. …
  • Being sidelined.

What is the best flexible working arrangement?

What are examples of flexible work arrangements?
  • Flex time. …
  • Reduced hours/Part-time. …
  • Compressed work week. …
  • Telework/Working Remotely/Telecommuting. …
  • Job sharing. …
  • Banking of Hours/ Annualized hours. …
  • Gradual Retirement. …
  • Leaves and Sabbaticals.

What are examples of flexible working?

What are examples of flexible work arrangements?
  • Flex time. …
  • Reduced hours/Part-time. …
  • Compressed work week. …
  • Telework/Working Remotely/Telecommuting. …
  • Job sharing. …
  • Banking of Hours/ Annualized hours. …
  • Gradual Retirement. …
  • Leaves and Sabbaticals.

What are the four types of flexible work plans?

Common examples of flexible working arrangements include:
  • flexible start and finish times.
  • compressed hours (working more hours over fewer days)
  • part-time work.
  • casual work.
  • job sharing.
  • flexible rostering.
  • working from home or another location.
  • ‘purchasing’ extra paid leave.

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