Benefits of Alternative Work Schedules

Benefits of Alternative Work Schedules for Employers and Managers

Additional Resources

Before implementing compressed workweeks and flextime for your organization, consider the benefits you might achieve both for your unit and the organization. Look for opportunities to solve problems or meet goals. Here are some of the proven benefits other organizations have gained:

Enhance Retention and Recruitment

Work options are very popular with employees. Faced with the demands of family, community, school and ever-longer commutes, more and more workers are seeking flexible schedules. In times of low unemployment, compressed workweeks and flextime can help you recruit and retain the best workers.

Extend Hours of Service

To remain competitive, many firms have extended hours of customer service and production in recent years. If you are serving customers in different time zones, this is especially important. Some organizations utilize a team approach with a variety of compressed workweeks and flextime schedules to cover the extra hours.

Expand Use of Equipment

Increasing the number of hours in a workday expands access to expensive equipment and reduces competition for equipment at peak hours. This is especially useful in functions like data entry or production where access to or use of equipment is an issue.

Improve Scheduling for Peak Workloads

Compressed workweeks shifts and flextime schedules may be overlapped to meet peak activity times during one part of the day, week or month.

Increase Employees’ Job Knowledge

Employees covering for co-workers on different schedules have an opportunity to learn new skills. This cross training benefits the employee, the unit and the organization and provides potential coverage for peak periods, vacations and sick leaves.

Reduce Tardiness and Absenteeism

Employers generally report a reduction in tardiness and absenteeism for employees on work options. This is attributed to the employees’ ability to commute outside of the rush hour and their increased flexibility in scheduling appointments and running errands.

Boost Employee Morale

Employees who have access to work options are happier and more supportive of organizational goals.

Improve Employee Performance

Employees are able to work during the part of their day when they are most effective. Giving employees a choice about when they work can mean getting more work done in the same number of hours.

Develop a More Effective Workforce

Alternative Work Schedules schedules promote cross training, teamwork, management by results and diversity strategies.

Comply with Federal Regulations

Employees with disabilities may need flexibility in when they work. Work options provide this flexibility and also help the organization provide staff coverage when employees are absent because of family emergencies.

Respond to Natural Disasters

Earthquakes, storms and floods that impact the transportation system and other infrastructure make it difficult to get to work. Organizations can prepare for these emergencies and restore operations more quickly when employees have the option to travel outside of the rush hour or compress their workweek into fewer days.

Become a Green Business

Many organizations implement strategies to green their business. Green programs increase mobility, improve air quality and reduce energy use. Compressed workweeks and flextime support these goals by enabling employees to commute outside of the rush hour. In addition, compressed workweeks may keep employees off the road one or two days a week.

Note: This information is based on “The Manager’s Guide to Compressed Workweeks and Flextime,” published in 1998 by Washington State University Cooperative Extension Energy Program in collaboration with Commuter Challenge and with additional support provided by Washington State Department of Transportation.