Originally published 10/20/20 - Updated 12/15/22
Flexible work arrangements are work programs that enable flexibility in work schedules or the place of work. These arrangements are hugely popular among employees, mainly because they promote work-life balance.
FWAs are critical to retention, as research by FlexJobs shows that nearly one-third of workers have sought employment elsewhere because their employer failed to provide flexible work arrangements.
Various Types of FWAs:
There are a variety of different options for incorporating Flexible Work Arrangements into your employee benefits plan
. They can be a very attractive option for employees wanting or needing flexibility. Here are a few options:
- Compressed workweek.
- Part-time work or reduced work hours.
- Job sharing.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, telecommuting “involves the use of computers and telecommunications technology to overcome the constraints of location or time on work.”
Telecommuting lets employees perform their normal job duties away from their central workplace — such as from home, a telework center or any other approved alternative worksite. Depending on the situation, employees may telecommute for all or part of the workweek. Telecommuting can also be implemented on an emergency basis, such as during inclement weather, natural disasters, and pandemics.
Flextime also called a flexible work schedule, allows employees greater latitude in choosing their starting and ending work times. You might, for example, set a core number of hours the employee must work each week and then permit the employee to pick their arrival and departure times. Employees wanting to improve their work-life balance are most likely to appreciate flextime.
3. Compressed Workweek
Employees on a compressed schedule perform their job duties in fewer days — such as four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. This results in longer time off from work, which facilitates work-life balance and allows the employee to save on certain expenses, such as commuting and childcare costs.
Employers as well can benefit from fully adopting a compressed workweek schedule. For instance, overhead costs are less because employees are not on-site as much.
4. Part-time Work or Reduced Work Hours
Of all the flexible scheduling options, part-time work is the most commonplace.
Employees who do not want to work a full-time schedule — for example, students, working parents, and older workers — often seek part-time work, which is usually regarded as less than 35 hours per week. Certain jobs, such as those in the food service and retail sectors, are more naturally geared toward part-time employment than others.
5. Job Sharing
Job sharing occurs when two employees share the responsibilities of one full-time role, splitting the duties between them so each person works part-time. For instance, you may require one employee to work Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and the other employee to work Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Employees looking to balance their professional and personal lives may especially be interested in job sharing. To avoid issues in the long run, job sharing must be carefully thought out, implemented, and managed.
We may see some additional novel developments in this area. For example, Connecticut has launched a voluntary shared work program.
“Instead of cutting employees, you cut hours, enabling employees to collect unemployment for the time they’ve lost,” explains the official site. “When business upturns, employees resume regular hours and employers are able to ramp up quickly with an experienced team in place.”
As the labor force continues to evolve, more and more flexible work arrangements are popping up. Companies should consider which of these might help them adapt and thrive in the future.