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The Pros and Cons of a Flexible Work Schedule

Updated: 5 days ago

In recent years, flexible working has transformed the world of work, becoming a new normal for many. Accelerated by the pandemic, and facilitated through technology, flexible working has evolved from once being primarily used by parents.

This way they facilitated working and parental responsibilities, to a phenomenon adopted by most organisations available to most employees (Greenhalgh, 2019).

The flexible work schedule embraces flexibility in working hours, location and patterns, such as remote work, and non-conventional hours, and the approach differs between businesses. This article will outline some pros and cons of a flexible work schedule.


Flexibility to meet personal needs

Predominantly, the ability to fulfil a job whilst meeting personal needs is a huge advantage for employees. Flexible schedules make it possible for individuals to fit additional responsibilities around their work.

For example, these could be childcare/care needs, and personal commitments such as an exercise class or health appointment. This is achieved through cutting commute times by working remotely, choosing to work outside of the conventional 9-5, or a combination of the two.

Furthermore, this can have huge benefits for the employee,. For instance, by playing a part in reducing the pressures they can maintain a healthy work/life balance pose. As a result, this allows individuals to cope with personal and professional commitments throughout the day.

Workers also have the opportunity to use flexible work to their advantage, and the impact could have life-changing effects on them. For instance, opening the doors for more dual-income households, parents can combine their flexible work schedules to fit childcare needs. So, this can happen whilst maintaining full time employment and salaries, and reducing childcare costs.

Working around energy cycles

Furthermore, flexible working schedules allow individuals to work around their energy cycles. Early risers can complete the bulk of their work in the morning, and night owls can work into the evening when energy levels are high.

By choosing to work when feeling their most productive and motivated, employees are able to produce their best work. This way they will benefit both the employer and themselves.

Additionally, through gaining control over their schedules, and choosing the hours that best fit their routines, employees feel empowered. Actually, this has been proven to boost entrepreneurial spirit. Subsequently it increases productivity, job satisfaction and retention again benefiting both parties greatly.


Blurred lines and isolation

A high level of discipline and autonomy is necessary from employees who choose to work from home. This is because we need to ensure workload is managed well. In fact, it can become far easier to lose a work/life balance with remote work.

That usually happens as the line between work life and home life is blurred, working outside of conventional hours, and inside their own home. So, this can mean that those who lack discipline, or procrastinate, can struggle to resist distraction and the lack of authority.

Thus being unable to separate work from home means working very late into the evening/ long hours to complete a task. Or it might be answering emails at all hours of the day.

In order to overcome this and protect the well-being of employees, businesses should implement strict work from home policies. For example, they should outline appropriate work hours and environments and consider the introduction of core hours.

Additionally, a reduction in physical interaction with colleagues can lead to isolation. In particular, this can include concerning symptoms such as increased stress levels and poor decision making.

Moreover, employee isolation is worrying regarding both the well-being of the employee, and also the success of the company. Particularly in those holding a crucial responsibility and power.

Change in organisational culture

Another issue that can arise with the implementation of flexible work schedules, is the change in the culture of the organisation. This can happen whether it's remote/hybrid work or staggered start/finish times.

Research on LinkedIn shows that 50% of employers are concerned flexible work will impact the culture, fearing a negative impact on company performance. What's more, relationships and bonds within teams are affected.

This is because employees may fail to connect on a level deeper than their work through rarely interacting physically. Therefore, this will not only damage motivation and job satisfaction but can damage the effectiveness of teamwork. As a result, it will influence collaboration efforts, harming the quality of work.

This is particularly important as company culture has huge impacts on productivity, recruitment, employee retention, and engagement.

At a glance

The world of work has changed, and flexible working has become a permanent part of our working culture. We could even say that this happened thanks to the pandemic.

Therefore, the effectiveness and potential success of the practice is certain. However, there are risks that come with flexibility.

Businesses must adapt to foster a flexible culture , ensuring policies that are in place. This way, they will protect the well-being of employees, and keep check on potential problems caused by this phenomenon.


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Connect with Phoebe Smith on Linkedin

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

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