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Recent legislation active since 30th June 2014 states that all employees have the legal right to request flexible working – not just parents and carers. There is no obligation to grant the flexi-time, but there is a requirement to discuss it and consider the request thoroughly.

At a period where flexi-time is hot in the press, we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of flexible working for businesses.

We’ve broken this down into a list of six pros and cons – covering some of the main positives and potential negatives relating to flexi-time.

Pro:

Happier employees

Even before the legislation came into play, offering employees flexibility over their working hours was a proven method of increasing overall job satisfaction. Open minded employers realised that by allowing employees to (within reason) fit work in around their individual lifestyles makes for a happier workforce.

Con:

Difficulties with meeting times and client liaison logistics

Trying to manage client expectations and the logistics of internal meetings can become more difficult. This issue is exasperated if you have a bigger team with many members of staff on different time schedules. Careful diary management will be necessary to ensure that client service doesn’t suffer and all internal work can continue to be carried out in a prompt manner.

Pro:

Employees can ‘get their head down’ and focus without distraction

In many office spaces working on a 9-5 schedule, the first 30 minutes to hour of every day can be taken up responding to emails and answering colleagues’ questions.

Coming in early – or starting later and leaving later – could benefit your team, giving them an hour each day to work uninterrupted and free from distraction.

Con:

Other employees have to wait for pressing questions to be answered

Employees on different time schedules to the flexi-time worker may feel frustration stemming from regularly having to wait longer for answers to questions that affect their own work. Again, all avenues need to be planned for and where possible, crucial questions or pieces of work not left to the last minute.

Pro:

More considerate for different demographics of your workforce

According to gov.uk, flexible working can help older workers to extend their careers by reducing their core hours. In addition, for young people entering the world of work for the first time, many might find flexible working a useful way of combining work with further study.

Con:

Intercompany jealousy

John in accounts has just been granted his request for Flexi-time, while Peter in marketing has been declined his. Both undoubtedly have sound business reasons behind the decision; however employees may not understand those reasons.

Intercompany jealousy and a perception of favouritism needs to be carefully and tactfully managed when incorporating flexi-time into your business.

Have you already implemented flexi-time in your business? Are you an employee who has experienced the rough or smooth side of flexi-time? We’d love to hear your stories, so please feel free to tweet @Flexioffices on Twitter and we will re-tweet our favourites.
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