Developing a Flextime Policy in the Workplace
Job satisfaction is one of the essential components in an employee’s work life since it influences his/her performance. For employees to perform their tasks appropriately, they must maintain a healthy body, mind, and have a work-life balance (Solanki, 2013). Importantly, a flextime policy in the workplace enables an employee to schedule his/her work according to his/her commitments and environment. As a result, a flextime policy makes employees have higher satisfaction in their work, which increases productivity, reduction in stress levels, and subsequently low staff turnover rates (Solanki, 2013). In this regard, organizations whose activities are not highly interdependent can establish this policy so that their workers can have the freedom of choosing to work when they are most productive.
According to the Georgetown University Law Center (2010), a flextime policy refers to a flexible work time arrangement plan. In this case, employees always have the freedom to schedule their work time, and amount of hours worked per day. For example, an organization may require employees to work for at least eight hours during the working days anytime from 5:30 am till 8:30 pm (Future of Work Institute, 2012). Noteworthy, a flextime program always has a “core” period when workers are required to be at work. For example, all workers should be at work between 11 am and 2:30 pm. Another essential characteristic of the flextime policy is the degree of carryover permitted in the organization. In some firms, carryovers are not permitted, while in others they are permitted on a weekly basis (Baltes, Briggs, Huff, & Wright, 1999). In cases where carryovers are permitted, employees have a minimum weekly time that they may work, such as at 40 hours in the week. Flextime thus refers to the period outside the core working hours. In a flextime program, the employee is the one who will decide his/her most appropriate reporting and leaving time.
Industrial Application of the Flextime Policy
Baltes et al. (1999) opine that flextime schedules are mostly used in nonmanufacturing organizations, partly because of the difficulty in implementing such a system in continuous process operations like the assembly lines. Obviously, it is not possible to allow employees’ to attend work at different times when working on tasks that are interdependent. Instead of standard flextime, most businesses in the manufacturing sector have a compressed workweek. In a compressed workweek, individuals work their required hours within a few days, such as three or 4 days (3/36, 3/38, 3/40, 4/40, 4/36). Accordingly, the workers increase the number of days that they have for the weekend. Baltes et al. (1999) further note that the main reason for the use of a compressed workweek in manufacturing firms instead of flextime is that it makes all workers attend work at the same time, which enables them to fulfill their interdependence needs. Additionally, due to the nature of manufacturing jobs, workers are not required to be at work during regular times (Monday-Friday) to serve customers.
Flextime and Work-Life Balance
According to McNall, Masuda, and Nicklin (2010), a flexible work-time policy reduces the level of work-family interference. The researchers also note that flexible work arrangements and compressed workweek schedules result in increased employees’ productivity and performance. Additionally, a flextime policy enhances job satisfaction, reduce cases of absenteeism, and increase employees’ satisfaction with their work schedules. Finally, McNall et al. (2010) assert that assisting employees in their work-life balance through flextime policies is associated with a decrease in the cases work-family conflicts.
In the case of work-family enrichment, McNall et al. (2010) opine that a flexible work schedule helps an individual to enrich his/her relationships with his/her family. The flextime policy makes employees have more free time, which helps them to improve their parental and other family duties. Supporting McNall et al. (2010) views, Russell, O’Connell, and McGinnity, (2007) note that a flextime policy may directly or indirectly produce positive effects such as more enthusiasm, alertness, and high energy, which can result in better interactions between an employee and his/her family.
Flextime and Employee Productivity
Based on the adjustment model, flextime policy is believed to result in increased employees’ productivity (Baltes et al., 1999). Normally, a flexible work routine makes employees’ more efficient by allowing them to use their circadian rhythms to establish their work schedules. The circadian rhythm differs among people, and it determines when a person is more or less productive. Solanki (2013) notes that through the flextime policy, employees who prefer working in the early morning can always start their tasks before the ordinary working hours while those who prefer working at night can start their day late and complete their tasks after ordinary working hours. Baltes et al. (1999) also opine that the flextime schedule gives employees job autonomy, which is essential for enabling them to schedule their work duties when they are most productive. In support, Dodd and Gnaster (1996) assert that an increase in job autonomy increases employees’ job performance by giving them the freedom to arrange their tasks in ways that they can easily accomplish them.
Flextime and Absenteeism
The flextime policy is also believed to lower the cases of absenteeism. Baltes et al., (1999) note that the increase in discretionary time, due to the use of a flextime policy, reduces employees stress by enhancing their work-life balance. In conformity with Baltes et al. views, McNell et al. (2010) assert that a decrease in employees stress reduces their level of absenteeism, and the enhanced work-life balance due to the flextime police motivates employees’ to attend their duties. Similarly, Golden (2011) opines that the flextime policy enhances employees’ commitment and job satisfaction, resulting in a reduction of voluntary absenteeism. Baltes et al. (1999) also note that some cases of ordinarily none voluntary absenteeism, such as sick leave, can be minimized using the flextime policy since it will enable employees to schedule their commitments. In this regard, the flextime policy gives employees adequate time to perform their tasks, which results in a reduction in voluntary and none voluntary absenteeism.
Flextime and Job Satisfaction
One of the primary importance of a flextime policy is increased job satisfaction and more positive job attitudes. Baltes et al. (1999) and McNell et al. (2010) opine that the use of a flextime policy can fulfill employees’ needs for autonomy, which can help employees to fulfill the self-actualization needs. Given that an increase in employee autonomy at all levels increases their job satisfaction, then, an increase in their control of time will have the same effect. Further, Baltes et al. (1999) note that an increase the introduction of a flexible work schedule positively affects employees’ job attitudes. Accordingly, flextime makes the workers more satisfied with their job, which reduces the rate of employee turnover while at the same time enhancing their productivity.
Weakness of the Flextime Policy
Despite the many indicated benefits of implementing a flextime policy in the workplace, it can at times have adverse effects on an organization’s performance. Ideally, the positive assertions on the benefit of flextime are based on the assumption that the employees are motivated to do their duties, are committed to the organizational goals, and they can be trusted (Lee & DeVoe, 2012). Therefore, for flextime work policy to have positive employee responses, the workers must be cooperative. Additionally, the organization’s motives for using the flextime policy should be ones that support positive employee reactions. For example, Lee and DeVoe (2012) espouse that the flextime policy is misaligned with organizations ‘cost reduction strategies.’ Usually, firms that use cost reduction strategies aim at minimizing their overall expenses, whereas flextime aims at mostly benefiting employees. In such organizations, flextime as a cost reducing strategy cannot result in an increase in productive behavior, such as a reduction in absenteeism, on the part of the employee (Lee & DeVoe, 2012). In fact, the misalignment between the flextime policy and the organization’s strategies can increase the levels of employees’ dissatisfaction with their work, which can result in them being demotivated and less productive, which can increase their absenteeism and turnover rates.
Research findings have established that the appropriate implementation of a flextime policy can increase employees’ productivity, job satisfaction, reduce their turnover and absenteeism rates, and enhance their work-life balance. However, for the flextime policy to be effective, the employees must be motivated, committed to the organization’s goals, and be trustworthy. Moreover, the firm’s use of the flextime policy should be one that supports employees’ reactions, such as, by enabling them to have more free time for better work-life balance. Although the flextime policy has many obvious advantages, it is important to note that it cannot be implemented in all industrial settings. In manufacturing industries, for example, it is impossible to implement this policy since operations in all departments are usually highly interdependent. In light of this, most nonmanufacturing organizations should establish flextime policies after careful review of their motivations and those of their employees. In this case, the overall company’s motives should be ones that support employees’ reactions. Importantly, such an implementation of the flextime policy can increase the organization’s performance since the employees will be more productive, motivated, and satisfied with their work. Moreover, there will be few cases of employee turnover and absenteeism.
Baltes, B., Briggs, T., Huff, J., & Wright, J. (1999). Flexible and compressed worksheet schedules: A meta-analysis of their effect on work-related criteria. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84(4), 496-513. DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.84.4.496.
Future of Work Institute. (2012). The benefits of flexible working arrangements. Retrieved from https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/centers/cwf/individuals/pdf/benefitsCEOFlex.pdf.
Georgetown University Law Center. (2010). Flexible work arrangements: The fact sheet. Retrieved from http://workplaceflexibility2010.org/images/uploads/FWA_FactSheet.pdf.
Golden, L. (2011). The effects of working time on productivity and firm performance: A research synthesis paper. Conditions of Work and Employment Series No. 33. Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_protect/@protrav/@travail/documents/publication/wcms_187307.pdf.
Lee, B., & DeVoe, S. (2012). Flextime and profitability. Industrial Relations, 51(2), 298-316. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-232X.2012.00678.x.
McNall, L., Masuda, A., & Nicklin, J. (2010). Flexible work arrangements, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions: The mediating role of work-to-family enrichment. Journal of Psychology, 144, (1) 61-81. DOI: 10.1080/00223980903356073.
Russell, H., O’Connell, P., & McGinnity, F. (April 2007). The impact of flexible working arrangements on work-life conflict and pressure in Ireland. ESRI: Working Paper No. 189. Retrieved from https://www.esri.ie/pubs/WP189.pdf
Solanki, K. (2013). Flextime association with job satisfaction, work productivity, motivation & employee stress levels. Journal of Human Resource Management, 1(1) 9-14. DOI: 10.11648/j.jhrm.20130101.12.