Alternative work schedules provide flexibility for employers and employees alike while reducing commuter traffic and business operating costs thereby creating a positive situation for everyone.
Not everyone wants to work full-time or in a traditional 9 to 5 job. Whether they are working parents, retirees, students, or anyone else, many people would like to build more personal time into their work life.
Alternative work schedules allow employees to work as much as they want while providing for flexibility as to days and hours.
Flextime - This means that employees are allowed some flexibility when it comes to their starting and stopping times. For example, rather than all employees working 8:00 to 4:30, some might work 7:30 to 4:00, and others 9:00 to 5:30. Typically there is a core set of hours that employees need to be at work. Employees are then allowed to adjust the start and end time of their eight-hour day based around these core hours.
Compressed Workweek (CWW) - This means that employees work fewer but longer days, such as four 10-hour days each week (4/40), or 8 days @ 9-hour days with one 8-hour day that includes one extra day off every two weeks (9/80). Eliminates two or four days per month that the employee would not be driving into his/her work location.
Staggered Shifts - This means that shifts are staggered to reduce the number of employees arriving and leaving a worksite at one time. For example, some shifts may be 8:00 to 4:30, others 8:30 to 5:00, and others 9:00 to 5:30. This has a similar effect on traffic as flextime, but does not give individual employees as much control over their schedules.
Job Sharing - Job sharing is a flexible work option where two employees share the same position. Job sharers can be jointly responsible for one entire position or they can handle separate functions of the same job. Hours can be shared by overlapping times, split shifts, or working in different locations at the same time.
The benefit of job sharing is that it provides balance and flexibility. In many cases the job sharers share the responsibilities of a full-time job while salary and benefits are prorated.
In addition, by allowing job sharing, companies can increase their existing labor pool and improve the efficiency of their operations by having skilled professionals available who can fill in during busy times without overtime pay.
Benefits to Alternative Work Schedules
Companies who offer alternative work schedules report less absenteeism, fewer late employees, and less use of sick time. Flextime programs, in which employees are given the option of adjusting their arrival and departure times, are proven ways to reduce congestion at peak travel times. Compressed work schedules can eliminate commuting altogether one day a week for many employees.
Advantages of alternative work schedules:
- Employees travel to and from work with less stress during off-peak hours
- Employee retention
- Less use of leave time due to greater flexibility in planning personal and medical appointments
- Increases employee morale
- Employees can choose to work during their most productive hours (flextime)
- Reduces spot congestion at work site entrances/exits
- Changes can be implemented company-wide or by department
- Vehicle reduction on the highways
- Increased coverage for companies that communicate across time zones or whose customers require extended hours