Flexible Work Schedules

Topics: Working time, Employment, Workweek Pages: 5 (1530 words) Published: March 11, 2009
Flexible Work Schedules

What are we really trading to get them?

Flexible work schedules are very prevalent in our workplace today. Many employees have benefited from this recent concept but the long term effects on the workplace far out weigh its benefits. In this paper, this will be analyzed, along with the definition of flexible work schedules, the history of those schedules in the workplace and what type of employee has access to flexible work schedules, do they really have a future? Does every employee truly benefit from a flexible work schedule? Definition and History of Flexible Work Schedules

According the Office of Personnel Management, an agency or organization may implement for its employees an alternative work schedule (AWS) instead of traditional fixed work schedule (40hrs per week, 8 hours per day). Within the rules established by the agency or organization, AWS can enable employees to have work schedules that help the employee balance work and family or personal responsibilities. There are two categories of AWS: flexible work schedules and compressed work schedules. The basic flexible work schedule concept is a simple one. A flexible schedule splits the work day into two types of time: core time and flexible time. During the core time all employees must be at work. Additional periods of flexible time are established during which the employee has the option of selecting and varying his/her starting and quitting time within limits set by management for the organization or agency.

The two requirements of any flexible work schedule program are: (1) each employee must be present during core time, and (2) the employee must work the number of hours for which he/she has contracted. An example of this would be a 40-hour week in the case of a full-time employee, or a lesser number of hours for a part-time employee. Beyond these minimal requirements, the precise working hours can be established in whatever way is consistent with accomplishment of the organization’s operational needs, the wishes of the employee, and any legal or regulatory restrictions.

Managers and supervisors should be cautioned that a flexible work schedule is not simply a rearrangement of work hours, but a step away from a controlled work environment. Flexible schedules place more responsibility on both the supervisor and the employees and require a greater measure of trust and confidence between the parties. What type of employee has access to flexible work schedules?

Most Americans are used to working in a structured environment with a work schedule of 9am to 5pm or 8am to 5pm. However, recent articles and studies have shown that many more employers are beginning to recognize the significance of flexible work schedules. Many of these workers are now changing their traditional work schedule to alter their start and leave times from work. As noted by many economists, the 1990’s brought about this change and spread of flexible schedules, but this change or sacrifice in work schedule can adversely affect leisure time, compensation or a predictable workweek. Also, the probability that a given worker will be on a flexible schedule or will work variable hours is likely to be linked to both the worker’s demographic characteristics and the characteristics of his/her job as noted by Lonnie Golden, associate professor of economics, Economics and Business Division, Commonwealth College, and Pennsylvania State University. Professor Golden also reports that whether an individual reports that he or she has the flexibility to control either the starting or ending time of the workday may depend on four general sets of factors: (1) personal characteristics, such as gender, race, martial status, and age; (2) human-capital characteristics, such as one’s education level and whether one attended college in conjunction with working; (3) job characteristics, such as the occupation and industry in which the worker is employed, wither the individual is...

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