We kind of, sort of had flexible hours at one of my former jobs. We were expected to arrive between 9:30 and 10:15 AM and stay until 6:30 or 7 PM, with the understanding that if you came in on the later side of that morning range, you would stay later as well. I learned this on my first day of work because I was too ignorant to inquire about the company’s policy during the interview process.
Although it seemed nice at the time to not have to be in at 9 AM sharp, there wasn’t much flexibility outside of that for me because I was a pretty rigid 9:30 to 6:30 person. No one ever left before 6:30, and I mean no one. However, the majority of guests stayed much later. Nevertheless, despite the fact that there was no set start time, my boss frequently praised the “flex hours” that we had. ”.
I contacted two C-level executives at The Muse to get their opinion on how to bring it up during the interview process as well as how it actually works in practice at a company (like The Muse) that touts it as a benefit. So what can you do to make it more clear?
Chief Technology Officer Yusuf Simonson concurs that there isn’t a precise definition. As a result, he has a number of ideas about how a candidate can comprehend an organization’s system better. According to Simonson, if an interviewer brings up the topic of flexible work hours and you’re a candidate who thinks it will be important for your next step, there’s “no harm in asking for clarification on what it means to her.” ”.
Asking for more information on this gray policy will enable you to “suss out reasons you may not be a good fit…before going through the crucible of the full interview process,” which is something we’ve said before: “You’re interviewing the company just as much as it’s interviewing you.” “Frankly, if the interviewer finds questions about the subject off-putting, then it shouldn’t have been presented as a benefit in the first place,” says Simonson. ”.
Chief Marketing Officer Kara Walsh emphasizes the significance of how you ask as well as when you ask. You don’t want to come across as someone who can’t live without structure or as someone who believes “woo hoo, I can do whatever I want, whenever I want!” Obviously, neither of these descriptions will impress a hiring manager. Walsh, however, argues that if you “ask about the range of norms across groups and for some examples of how employees use it to their (and the company’s) benefit,” you’ll learn more about “how the policy typically works in practice.” You’ll also be doing your future employed self a real service because “it’s always healthier to communicate needs and expectations at the beginning of a potential relationship.”
It will be easier for you to learn more information without coming across as if it’s the only thing you care about if the interviewer brings up the subject. Even if the hiring manager doesn’t bring it up, it would be foolish not to bring it up if you feel that you absolutely need some flexibility to succeed in the role because your previous employer was so rigid.
Asking leading questions, such as, “What’s a typical day-to-day like? When do people typically clock in and out? Do you have many remote employees?” will help you learn whether the company’s offer resonates with you without having to directly inquire about the hours being flexible.
Walsh asserts that the best time to obtain the information you require is once an offer is on the table, even though she thinks it’s fine if “it comes up organically earlier in the process.” Asking an HR representative [about a flex policy] can occur earlier in the process, but Walsh advises against doing so before asking questions that demonstrate an interest in the company and team. ”.
But here’s the thing: Even a business with a clearly defined policy may allow each manager to choose how his or her team should implement it. According to Simonson, “any creative field, including engineering, needs flexibility.” He doesn’t view it as a matter of having his team clock in and out at specific times. It’s about getting the job done. Similar sentiments are expressed by Walsh, who says, “I am happy for my team to take advantage of when it is clear that it is not for the sake of collaboration and keeping promises. When it functions well, which requires respect and trust between parties, it is really great. ”.
Since trust is so important, it stands to reason that some businesses and managers are hesitant to fully implement flexible working policies. It’s up to you to prove that you can handle it if you want to take advantage of your company’s less conventional expectations or work remotely frequently (once a week, for example).
Most employers care much more about the work you do than the hours you put in at the end of the day—regardless of what time that may be! According to Walsh, being flexible means allowing “an employee to pick up and spend time with children, deal with personal issues (e. g. , cable guy, medical, moving). Working for a company that recognizes that set hours don’t work best for everyone is clearly advantageous because it allows employees to handle these types of things without taking official time off.
If you’re currently employed and would like more information about how to utilize this benefit, speak with your manager or get in touch with HR. And if you’re interviewing with businesses that assert to offer it, don’t be afraid to obtain the information you require. Adopting a flexible work policy could actually help you succeed as long as you don’t compromise your ability to show that you can grow the company, solve problems, and that you’ll be a valuable team member.
The real Meaning of Flexible Work Arrangements
How do flexible hours vary by industry?
Depending on the nature of the business and its unique requirements, some industries employ flexible hours. While some businesses permit extremely flexible hours, others are more constrained and only permit flexible hours during business hours.
For instance, flexible schedules and hours are frequently based on the volume of sales during business operating hours in the service industry. To adhere to the business operating hours, employees in this sector can coordinate or bargain with one another about the days they work and their specific schedule. In contrast, an IT company might give staff members more flexibility as long as they finish their projects on time.
Following are some sectors and job categories that might provide flexible hours:
What are flexible hours?
Flexible hours, also referred to as flextime or a flexible work schedule, are when your workday begins and ends outside of the conventional 9 a.m. m. to 5 p. m. Flexible work hours essentially allow employees to start their shifts earlier in the day or later than scheduled.
Flexible hours typically depend on a job’s requirements, how a company runs within its particular industry, and the specific preferences or needs of an employee. An employee could, for instance, start their workday at 8 a m. -4 p. m. , 11 a. m. -7 p. m. , 10 a. m. -6 p. m. or any other time that suits them. Remember that you and your employer have a contract that specifies the hours you will work.
How do flexible hour schedules work?
You are expected to adhere to a set of flexible hours as your regular schedule once you and your manager have decided on a flexible schedule. You must let your manager know if you work additional hours beyond those on your flexible schedule. Employees must devote the necessary time and effort to achieving their objectives in order for this arrangement to succeed. They must also produce work of the same caliber and quantity as other full-time employees.
Employers can set measurable goals and make sure workers know what is expected of them to ensure this is accomplished. Overall, for a flexible schedule to be successful, managers and employees must establish a certain level of trust.
How often do employees work with flexible hours?
Employers anticipate flexible work schedule employees to work a specified number of hours or, in some cases, even longer. Here are two examples of workweeks with variable schedules:
This alternative schedule lessens the number of days an employee works each week compared to the typical five-day workweek. Employees typically work four 10-hour days in a compressed workweek. This gives workers an extra day off for better work-life balance. Employees can choose any three days that best suit their needs or preferences, such as Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, for example. Employers consent to this flexibility as long as the worker completes their work.
Daily flexible schedule
Employees who have a daily flexible schedule can begin and end their shifts early. They can also take extra time during their lunch break or stay late and start early to make up time. Employers and employees agree upon this type of work schedule.
Greater flexibility in terms of work hours is offered by other workplaces to their employees. As long as they complete all of their job duties and accomplish their objectives, employees can typically begin and end their shift whenever they want.
What are the benefits of working flexible hours?
Depending on your viewpoint, flexible hours may be able to provide several advantages to workers. Understanding these advantages will make it easier for you to assess whether this schedule will support your habits and productivity. Here are the benefits that come from working flexible hours:
Greater work-life balance:
Employees have more control over their workday and can begin and end it whenever they want when they have flexible working hours. They can schedule their workday around other commitments like doctor appointments or picking up their children from school thanks to this. In other words, it enables staff to choose a schedule that accommodates their personal or family needs.
You can choose to work during more sedate times of the day when you set your own hours. As you complete your various tasks and objectives, this can increase your productivity and focus.
Greater job satisfaction
Being able to choose your own working hours can give you a feeling of control. Being in charge can make you feel more motivated and appreciated at work. Additionally, it may result in greater job satisfaction, which could help the business by reducing employee turnover.
Ability to avoid traffic
You can choose your start and end times to avoid rush-hour traffic if your work schedule is flexible. This can avoid wasted time commuting to and from work. If you work from home, you can avoid traffic altogether.
What are the disadvantages of flexible hours?
While having a flexible work schedule has many advantages for employees, there are a number of disadvantages as well. If you are aware of both, you can decide whether this work style is the most appropriate for you. Consider the following disadvantages of flexible hours:
Difficulty to arrange meetings
If many workers have flexible hours, they almost certainly all have different work schedules. Finding everyone’s availability when you have to set a meeting time can be challenging. For instance, if you want a meeting at 9:00 a.m. m. however, some employees don’t begin working until 11 a.m. m. , you have to make arrangements accordingly. It is even more challenging to schedule business meetings when there are different time zones involved if you have employees who are located abroad.
Lack of boundaries
Although having a flexible schedule gives you a better work-life balance, you might encounter circumstances where life interferes more than you’d hoped. For instance, your kids might interrupt your meetings or a friend might ask you to go out to lunch. Although you might have some time to spare for both events, putting off work for too long can reduce your productivity and overall output of work.
You might discover that having a flexible schedule while working from home requires more discipline than working in an office. For instance, you might experience more distractions if you don’t have a designated workspace or if you have a backlog of housework. In spite of the fact that you can create a home office and establish boundaries to prevent this, it’s crucial to find a working style that will increase your productivity.
Difficulty connecting with other employees
Employees find it more difficult to connect with and collaborate with their coworkers when their work schedules differ. It may have a negative effect on their ability to work in teams and make it more difficult for the business to feel united if they don’t have the same work schedule.
How can you ask for flexible hours at work?
It’s crucial to discuss your preferences for a flexible work schedule in advance with your manager in order to develop a successful strategy. Your chances of getting your employer’s approval for this kind of work schedule can be increased by following the right procedures. When requesting flexible scheduling at work, use the steps below:
1. Determine your motivation
Make sure you understand the primary reasons for your desire to change your hours before approaching your manager or employer to request a flexible work schedule. For instance, you might decide to work from home a few days a week to assist a family member or to avoid a commute.
2. Do your research
There may already be a flexible work policy in place at your company. To verify this, check with your human resources department. If there is a flexible work policy in place, learn what it entails and weigh the benefits and drawbacks it offers.
3. Make a plan
Think about the questions your employer might have regarding your desire for flexible scheduling. Make sure you can articulate the benefits that having a flexible schedule can have for both you and the business as a whole. Think about the situation from their point of view and give them convincing responses that highlight the advantages of this kind of work schedule.
It’s crucial to think carefully about your responses to any queries they may have and format them so that this work schedule comes across favorably. Additionally, decide why you’re requesting this kind of schedule and how it will work out for you personally. You could explain to your employer, for instance, how you work from home because there are fewer distractions and you can choose your own hours. Additionally, you can explain to them how you intend to keep in touch with staff members despite your departure from a regular work schedule.
4. Arrange a meeting or an appointment with your manager
Set up a meeting or schedule an appointment with your employer to discuss your desire for flexible hours. Do this beforehand and inform them of your intentions.
5. Ask for a trial period
Before making this type of schedule official, ask your company for a trial run if it doesn’t already have a flexible work schedule policy. For example, you can suggest a 90-day trial period. You and your manager can review how the arrangement performed following this trial and decide whether it was worthwhile to continue on a more permanent basis.
6. Excel at your job
Continue to perform your duties as effectively as you can after your manager approves your flexible work schedule. Make sure to keep up with your new schedule and even increase your productivity. Just as you would if you had a regular work schedule, finish all of your tasks on time, meet any deadlines, and accomplish your goals.
7. Follow up with your manager
Work to improve as you adjust to a flexible schedule. Inform your manager of whats worked and what hasnt. Be open and willing to work things out; be willing to change your schedule as necessary.
Thank your manager for their time spent speaking with you even if they don’t approve of your flexible work schedule. If you’re at ease, think about how to respond to their issues and get in touch with them again.
What does flexible hours mean in a job?
A flexible schedule enables employees to work during times other than the typical business hours of 8:00 a.m. m. to 6 p. m. Flexible hours give workers time to do things during the day that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do, as long as the total number of hours worked per week is 40.
Are flexible hours good?
The advantages of flexible scheduling and remote employment According to a study on remote employment, 77% of employees felt more productive when given the option to work from home. Another 30% claimed that working from home allowed them to accomplish more in less time than going to the office.