Benefits of flexible working arrangements
Many employers have already adopted flexible working arrangements because they make good business sense. They can help:
- retain skilled staff and reduce recruitment costs
- raise staff morale and decrease absenteeism
- meet labour market changes more effectively.
For employees, the opportunity to work flexibly can help them strike a better balance between their paid work and other responsibilities.
Rights and responsibilities
|If you are an employee you:||If you are an employer you:|
|have a “right to request” flexible working arrangements. You can ask:
||have a “duty to consider” any requests. You:
Examples of common forms of flexible work
- Flexi time/adjusted hours – employees work for an agreed total number of ‘core hours’ and choose when their working day begins and ends.
- Core hours – hours during which employees working flexi-time must be at work (for example, 10am to 4pm).
- Staggered hours – different start and finish times for employees in the same workplace.
- Time in lieu/time banking – any extra hours worked are compensated for by paid time off.
- Flexi-breaks – stopping for breaks at times that suit the employee’s particular workload or preferences.
- Part-time/reduced hours/job sharing/job splitting – employees work less than full-time hours. For this to happen the job is often redesigned and responsibilities split between a number of part-time employees.
Benefits of flexi-hours
- Improves efficiency if work schedules match employees’ most productive hours
- Gives employees more control over scheduling personal responsibilities during the workday
- Allows for commuting outside of peak rush hours
- Retains employees who need time off to care for dependents or to meet other responsibilities outside of paid work
- Expands labour pool
- Brings broader range of knowledge, skills and experience
- May provide an option for employees who want to reduce their total time at work, but whose jobs cannot be done on a part-time basis.
- Weekday/weekend swap – employees swap working on a weekday for working on a weekend day.
- Shift self-selection – employees assist with the development of shift work schedules and choose their own shifts.
- Weeks on/weeks off – working one or several weeks and taking one or several weeks off.
Benefits of flexi-weeks
- Improves productivity if the quieter times of the day/week is better for doing some types of work.
- Allows for more days off.
- Decreases the number of days employees commute.
- Allows for commuting outside of peak rush hour.
- Compressed week – weekly full-time hours are worked over a shorter time period.
- Term-time working – working during the school terms and taking paid or unpaid time off during school holidays.
- Annualised hours – an agreed number of hours worked on a yearly rather than a weekly basis.
- Buyable leave – employees exchange an agreed reduction in salary for extra periods of leave over a specified period.
Benefits of flexi-year
- Provides options for employees to take limited or extended time off from work to manage various family and personal responsibilities.
Tele-working/tele-commuting/home-working/remote-working – all these options involve working from home or another location outside of the workplace on either a full- or part-time basis.
Benefits of flexi-location
- offers alternative to relocation
- expands potential labour pool geographically
- reduces office space and associated costs
- accommodates employees with disabilities
- reduces or eliminates commuting
- provides an environment with fewer workplace distractions
- allows employees to work during their “personal best time".
Hot desking – temporary use of a workstation.
Benefits of flexi-worksite
- encourages collaboration across work-groups and project teams
- reduces permanent office space and associated costs.
- career break/sabbatical – extended periods of leave that are normally unpaid
- work transition – provides opportunities for employees to make changes in their work hours, location or job responsibilities. For example, employee making changes after a significant accident or medical issue
- phased retirement – hours of work are progressively reduced until full retirement is reached at a specified date
- phased return/gradual return – hours of work are progressively increased until a full complement of full- or part-time hours is reached at a specified date. Often used by parents returning from parental leave
- self-managed work – employees work in their own way, often without direct supervision, towards an agreed goal
- job rotation/role rotation – employees move between two or more jobs so they can cross-train and develop a wider variety of skills.
Benefits of flexi-career
- expands labour pool
- provides options for gradual return to work after parental or other leave
- allows gradual entry into retirement, retention of skills and succession development
- provides opportunities for cross-training and skill enhancement.
Flexible work in New Zealand and other countries
Many other countries have also developed resources on flexible work that you may find useful.