Benefits & disadvantages of flexible work hours

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Benefits & disadvantages of flexible work hours
Flexible work schedules are redefining the traditional office. (quiet place at home to work image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com)

From more relaxed dress codes to flexible work hours, the way businesses are run is changing. Many people now work in telecommuting jobs, where all they need is an Internet connection and a computer to be in a virtual office. Other companies are allowing employees to work from home part-time or set their own hours. All of this means that workers must manage their time wisely and find a balance between work and play.

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Advantages

One clear advantage to a flexible work schedule is the ability to arrange your workday around personal obligations. For example, instead of working the traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift, you can work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and use the extra hour after work for appointments or other personal matters. According to the Human Resource department at Northern Arizona University, other benefits of a flexible schedule include increased productivity and satisfaction, and decreased absenteeism, overtime hours and employee turnover.

Disadvantages

The downside to a flexible schedule is that the responsibility for time management is more pressing, especially if working from home. Supervisors and other employees are also not around to answer questions or keep you on task. Finding a balance between work and family time can be difficult as well when the office and the home are the same place. When working at the office, but with flexible hours, difficulties can also arise. If arriving earlier than most, it may be hard to stay on task without direction from supervisors or co-workers. While many find that flexible work hours increase productivity, this really depends on personal motivation and the workplace environment.

Expert Advice

When deciding whether or not to pursue a flexible work schedule, consider all the implications. In a 2001 article published in the Monthly Labor Review Online, a U.S. Department of Labor publication, Lonnie Golden, an economics professor at Pennsylvania University, wrote that many companies that allow flexible work hours then go on to implement evening shifts and longer hours, or switch employees to a part-time or self-employed status.

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