Flexible working is hot. Changes in UK law, the growth of cloud-based technology and a sudden shift in working patterns brought about by COVID-19 means you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone without an opinion on flexible working hours.
No longer has the preserve of working mum; flexible working hours are rapidly becoming a viable employment option for many more people.
According to researches, there are approximately 7.7 million part time workers in the UK, 5.64 million people who mainly work from home in UK in 2020 and 3.98 million employees who are able to work flexi-time hours in the UK. These statistics somehow show that people nowadays prefer to work in flexi time rather than conventional 9-5 working hours. Also due to Covid-19, employees’ working from home has significantly increased within the last year.
It's not difficult to perceive any reason why people need to work flexible hours. It offers employees the chance to all the more likely control their work/life balance by reducing their commute, while giving them more opportunity to recreation and study .Moreover, more opportunities to make time for children and other dependants.
The different types of flexible working hours
Part time work simply means fewer hours than whatever is considered full time work in a particular organisation (normally between 35 and 40 hours per week)
A compressed hour’s contract allows an employee to work longer hours on most days in exchange for extra days off.
This increasingly popular yet somewhat controversial type of contract doesn’t guarantee any hours of work to an employee. A zero hours contract may oblige employees to accept any work whereas a casual work contract will leave it up to them to decide.
Most often used where shift work is required, annualised hours guarantee a certain number of hours of work over the whole year but introduce an element of flexibility concerning when these hours are actually worked
Term time hours
Businesses in the academic sector - as well as those that want to cater to the needs of employees with children (who prefer to spend the school holidays at home) -
A rather innovative type of employment arrangement, a job sharing agreement involves two members of staff who are both essentially working part-time but, together, provide a full-time resource to fulfil a specific company requirement.
Shift and night contracts
Only certain companies will have shift or night work requirements, but these types of employment contract can be useful for certain employees who are looking to change their working patterns.
Introducing an element of flexibility to work a set number of “core” hours in the form of a flexi-time employment contract can help to give employees a better work-life balance and enhance staff morale. This is essentially a full time contract where strict office hours are unnecessary.
Tech-savvy employees are increasingly coming to expect a degree of flexibility when it comes to their place of work. Many professionals can perform their jobs primarily using a laptop, mobile phone and Wi-Fi, whether it’s from the office, their home or a coffee bar.
Challenges of implementing flexible working hours
We'd lie if we said that carrying out flexible working is easy. It's not. Surely the CIPD records the top difficulties looked by entrepreneurs while carrying out a shift to flexible working patterns.
These include managing customer requirements, the ability and attitude of line managers towards managing flexible working employees and a challenge within an organisations existing culture.
Yet with support from within your SME and good planning, implementing flexible working hours needn’t be a headache.
10 things to do when implementing flexible working hours
Create a flexible working hour’s policy- Once you've created your policy; share it with your employees. This establishes a clear process for how flexible working will work within the organisation
Document flexible working terms- Save the working terms agreed with individual employees. Use a cloud-based storage system so they’re easy to access and review.
Guide your staff
Assess your line manager’s support
Communicate the changes made clearly to the employees
Measure employee performance, and observe how effective and efficient the flexible working hours have been.
Listen to your staff
Review the whole process
Flexibility is key- Embrace flexible working hour pilots. By trying out flexible working patterns before committing to them you give everyone a chance to try them out for size.