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The Pros and Cons of a Flexible Work Schedule

Updated: Dec 15, 2023


In recent years, flexible working has transformed the way we work, becoming a new “normal” for many people’s lives. Accelerated by the Covid pandemic and facilitated through technology, flexible working has evolved from being solely used by parents. A flexible work schedule embraces flexibility in working hours, location, and patterns. This article outlines some of the pros and cons of a flexible work schedule.


Women on Zoom/online meeting - an illustration of remote work and flexible schedules

Advantages of flexible work

Flexibility to meet personal needs

Flexible schedules make it possible for individuals to fit additional responsibilities around their work. For example, working moms have more time for childcare and health appointments. Therefore, cutting commute time and working outside the 9-5 schedule makes things possible. Flexible schedules can also have huge benefits for the employees. For instance, the reduced pressure that often comes with working flexibly helps them maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Working around energy cycles

Man working at night time, working from home - when working remotely, people can choose when/at what time to work

Additionally, individuals can work around their preferences and energy cycles. In other words, people can choose to work when it best suits them, and when they feel the most productive and motivated. In addition, gaining control over their schedule makes employees feel empowered. This has been proven to boost entrepreneurial spirit. Subsequently, it increases productivity, job satisfaction, and retention.

Disadvantages of flexible work

Blurred lines

Without discipline and autonomy, employees can lose work/life balance. Indeed, those who lack discipline often struggle to resist distractions and set boundaries when working remotely. To overcome this, businesses can help employees by implementing strict work-from-home policies. For example, appropriate working hours, set for every day, can be outlined.


Isolation

When working remotely, a reduction in physical interaction with colleagues can lead to feelings of isolation. Symptoms accompanying this feeling could be increased stress levels, poor concentration, and poor decision-making. Moreover, employee isolation can have negative consequences not only on the employee’s well-being, but also on the company’s success. This is particularly true when it concerns employees holding crucial responsibilities in the company.

Change in organizational culture

Another possible issue regarding flexibility at work is the change in culture of the organization. Research shows that 50% of employees are concerned that flexible work will impact the culture of their organization. Also, relationships and bonds within teams can be affected. This is because employees will be unable to connect and exchange ideas on a deeper level. Therefore, not only could individual motivation and job satisfaction be affected, but also teamwork effectiveness.


Because a company’s culture has a huge impact on productivity, employee retention, and engagement, it is necessary that it is kept the same as more people decide to work flexibly.

At a glance

Working flexibly and remotely often means using technology - this new way of working has advantages but can also have disadvantages

As the world has changed and technology evolved, flexible working has become a permanent part of our working culture. While flexible schedules have many advantages, there also come some risks with them. In particular, flexible working schedules can lead to employee isolation, lower job satisfaction, and can change organizational culture.


Hence, to ensure that this new way of working is incorporated well, businesses can take some active steps. For example, they could install working policies, protect their employees’ well-being, and keep checking on them for potential problems and feedback.


 

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Phoebe Smith, author of article with title "The pros and cons of a flexible work schedule".

Student at the University of Bath – International Management and Spanish BSc



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