Work Schedule Alternatives
Alternatives to the typical work week encompass three different work schedule variations: flextime, compressed work weeks, and staggered work hours. Each of these represents a different kind of adjustment to the traditional 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday, 8-hours-a-day schedule.
Flextime allows employees the option of changing their starting and ending times for each workday. Most flextime programs include a core period during the workday in which all employees are present. During this time, meetings and other activities which require company- or department-wide coordination are scheduled.
Compressed Work Week
A compressed work week schedule permits employees the option of finishing their usual number of working hours in fewer days per week or fewer days per pay period. Some consideration must be given for coverage during the day off of those individuals who are on a compressed work week. In order to coordinate operations within a department, everyone may not be able to take a day off at the same time, though it is possible for an employer to completely close on a selected day. Two schedule configurations are common:
- Four/Forty (4/40) Schedule: Under this plan, employees work the usual 40 hours in four ten-hour days. The fifth day is a day off.
- Nine/eighty (9/80) Schedule: This option allows employees to work their usual number of hours in a two-week pay period in nine days. The tenth day is a day off.
Staggered Work Hours
Staggered work hour programs stagger employees' starting and ending times by 15-minute to two-hour ranges. The main purpose behind this program is to shift some people out of the peak commuting period in order to relieve traffic congestion. Below are the more common staggered work hour plans.
- Departmental: Under this plan, departments or working units are assigned different starting times by management. Starting times for each unit can vary from 15-minute intervals up to two-hour intervals.
- Individual: Under this option, employers assign individual employees staggered starting times. Employees do not have a choice among starting times; employers set their assignments. Starting times may be staggered from 15-minute intervals up to two-hour intervals. Employees within departments or work units may be assigned different starting times.
What are the benefits of work schedule alternatives?
Organizations that offer alternative work schedules report less absenteeism, fewer late employees, and less use of sick leave. Flextime programs, in which employees are given the option of adjusting their arrival and departure times, are proven ways to reduce congestion at peak travel times. Compressed work schedules (such as a four-day, 40-hour work week) can eliminate commuting altogether one day a week for many employees.
Advantages of work schedule alternatives:
- Employees travel to and from work with less stress during off-peak hours
- Less use of leave time due to greater flexibility in planning personal and medical appointments
- Increase in employee morale
- Employees can choose to work during their most productive hours (flextime)
- Reduction in spot congestion at work site entrances
- Changes can be implemented company-wide or by department
- Increased coverage for companies that communicate across time zones or whose customers require extended hours
How can ATP help?
ATP makes it easy and convenient for you to establish and administer alternatives to the traditional work schedule by performing the following services:
- Reviewing your current schedule policy and recommending the best option(s) for your company’s needs
- Providing examples of alternative schedules and explaining implementation choices
- Providing information on all flexible work schedule options and answering any questions
- Sponsoring a workshop or seminar to explain work schedule alternatives
How can I encourage employee participation?
There are numerous ways you can get the word out and encourage employee participation in work schedule alternatives programs, including the following actions:
- Sending out e-mail notifications and reminders
- Displaying posters and flyers in high-traffic areas of your office
- Including information packets with paychecks
- Including an article in your company newsletter
- Providing information on your company's intranet
- Including information in your new-hire packets