man working a flex schedule

Flex Schedule: Pros And Cons, Plus 4 Tips For Making It Work

If your business is searching for an alternative to the standard 9-5 workday, a flex schedule may be the solution.

Your employees’ work/life balance is crucial for their health, happiness, well-being, and productivity at work. That’s where the flex schedule shines.

In this article, the organization and productivity experts at Sling give you the pros and cons of this unique work schedule and outline some tips to make it work in your business.

What Is A Flex Schedule?

desk with a laptop, analog clock, and pen cup

A flex schedule is one in which team members can adjust the start and finish times of the workday to fit their unique circumstances.

Just to be clear, it doesn’t mean that your employees will work less. You can still require your team to work a set number of hours per day (e.g., eight) or per week (e.g., 40), just like the common 9-5 model.

But, with a flex schedule, team members can choose when they will clock in and when they will clock out within agreed-upon limits. The key phrase here is “within agreed-upon limits.”

Employees can’t just come and go as they please. They must still meet certain criteria, such as working eight hours per day or 40 hours per week.

For example, if you choose to implement a flex schedule in your business, you might set the following restrictions on when your team can work:

  • May start work no earlier than 5 a.m.
  • May finish work no later than 9 p.m.

With the above example, an employee could begin work at 5 a.m., work eight hours, and finish at 1 p.m. Alternately, their workday could start at 1 p.m. and end at 9 p.m.

Flex Schedule Pros And Cons

man working from his home office at night as part of a flex schedule

Pro #1: Improved Employee Morale

A flex schedule gives your employees more time to deal with personal situations that can affect their workday, such as childcare, continuing education, and rush hour.

When your team has flexibility in their schedule to handle these situations without issue, their morale, focus, and teamwork improve dramatically.

Pro #2: Top Talent For Your Business

One of the best ways to attract high-performing employees to your business is to have a flex schedule in place before they arrive.

Alternative schedules serve as a form of fringe benefit that makes your business look more attractive to potential talent.

Con #1: Difficult Tracking

Because of its inherent flexibility, the flex schedule is difficult for managers to track. Employees may arrive at work before you and leave after you.

How does the diligent manager track the comings and going of their employees to avoid time theft? With a time tracking app like Sling.

Sling transforms any computer, smartphone, or mobile device into a time clock that your employees can access anytime, even early in the morning before you arrive or late at night after you leave.

Con #2: Complicated Set Up

The flex schedule is notoriously complicated to set up. Each employee will likely want to work a different combination of hours.

That’s OK because software suites like Sling make it easy to schedule your employees, find substitutes, manage time off, and keep everyone organized and on task.

Don’t let this con deter you from implementing a flex schedule. Try the Sling app for free and see how it can change the way you and your team conduct business.

How To Make A Flex Schedule Work

Two female business owners discussing flex schedules

1) Request Your Employees’ Input

As attractive as the flex schedule sounds, it’s not for everyone. Some people like the strictures of the established 9-5 model.

Before you change the way your team works, talk with everyone individually to see which type of schedule they prefer.

2) Establish Core Time First

Core time is the foundation on which a successful flex schedule rests.

Simply put, core time is a period of set hours when all employees must be present in the office (or online if working from home). It’s during this span of time that meetings and collaboration occur between employees working different flexible schedules.

For example, if you incorporated the flextime limits listed above (not earlier than 5 a.m. and not later than 9 p.m.), your core time might be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

3) Provide Details In Your Employee Handbook

Your team may be confused by the flex schedule at first, so it’s a good idea to provide plenty of details in your employee handbook.

With all of the information collected in one place, your employees can use that resource to answer questions and resolve any issues that might come up.

4) Give Your Employees Access To The Schedule

One of the best ways to make your flex schedule work is to give your employees access to the schedule itself.

If you create a scheduling template that contains your business’s core time, your team members can do much of the planning for you by filling in their preferred work hours on either side of the core.

Creating A Flex Schedule With Sling

Sling scheduling feature

When you present your employees with the option to work a flex schedule, you give them a bit of freedom within a very structured system.

Trying an alternative to the standard 9-5 schedule — or at least being flexible about when hours are worked — helps your team members feel more in control of their own schedules.

We’re not advising that you cut employee hours down to part-time so they don’t have to work 9-5. Rather, we’re suggesting that you try new ways to accumulate 40 hours each week.

Here are a few examples of flexible schedules that might work in your business:

The flex schedule is a wonderful incentive for your employees, but it is also a nightmare to schedule. That doesn’t mean you have to dismiss the idea completely.

Instead, incorporate a cloud-based employee management app, like Sling, to give you and your employees the ability and freedom to create the schedule that works for your business.

With Sling, employees can access the app anywhere, anytime from their phones, mobile devices, or desktop computers. They can request time off, find their own substitutes, tweak their schedules to fit their needs, and much more.

It also gives you, the manager, the ability to simplify payroll and track the hours your employees work without your physically being there. The power and flexibility that Sling offers make the flex schedule a very real option for businesses large and small.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit today.

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