Flexible hours, also called “flextime,” are schedules in which employees spend a portion of their workday onsite, and the rest from home or another location. For example, a flextime schedule might require an employee to work onsite from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and complete his or her work for the day from somewhere else.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which governs minimum wage and overtime pay for most employees, does not address flexible work schedules. Alternative work arrangements are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee.
What to Consider When Developing a Flextime Policy
If you decide that flextime is a good fit for one or more of your employees, you should create and distribute an official employer policy on alternative work schedules. Among other considerations, you should address the following 3 issues when crafting your flextime policy:
- Which employees are eligible for flextime (management, sales, or others);
What hours employees are required to work onsite; and
Whether prior approval is required from management or human resources.
Your flextime policy should be included in your company’s employee handbook, so that it is received by all employees who are or may become eligible for the alternative work schedule.
Benefits of Flexible Hours
Through the availability of smart phones and wireless Internet, the amount of work employees can complete offsite has grown significantly. Utilizing available technology for this purpose can increase productivity and even expand the geographic area in which a business operates. Employees working offsite can also better attend to family and personal matters, improving their work-life balance and in some cases reducing the need for a leave of absence.
Creating a virtual workplace that allows a company to offer a flextime schedule can result in a number of significant benefits, including:
- Saving money on workspace;
- Retaining valuable employees;Bringing on outside project teams;
- Expanding visibility; and
- Increasing efficiency and productivity.