What does Flexible Working mean?
Flexible working is a practice that allows employees to arrange their working hours or workplace differently from the regular schedule or workplace their employers have. This can be achieved in different ways
- Compressed work weeks, where the employee works four ten-hour days.
- Flex-Time arrangements like Arrive early-Leave early, Arrive late-Leave late or longer lunch breaks.
- Part-time jobs with a reduced schedule.
- Job sharing where two or more employees share a position.
- Annual hours arrangement where the contract specifies the total hours the employee should work in a year.
- Telework where the employee is allowed to do part-time or full-time working from a location distinct from his employers.
I must say any of those options will make an impact on the employee benefits and employer costs, therefore, it is very important to negotiate the terms of the arrangement.
It is also worth noticing that the arrangement could be requested by the employer in cases like
- Healthcare industries.
- Continuous production industries.
- Customer support and attention positions.
Is it a Global Practice?
Countries have reached different levels of freedom regarding flexible jobs, but in general, there is an increasing tendency to flexibility mainly because of the importance is given to family life and children care.
While the UK was a leader in the subject and is well advanced in its implementation, it has been particularly difficult in the United States probably because of a tradition of long hours and few holidays. The Families and Work Institute conducted a study on the matter pointing out that work-family conflict was especially pronounced among the families with
- Men working 50 or more hours a week.
- Men with high job demand.
- Men with a worldview focused on work.
- Fathers in dual-earner couples.
The report contains the results of various interesting aspects of flexible working and clarifies several misconceptions about it, you can read the full report here.
Flexible Working Jobs Pros and Cons
- Helps manage family, personal, and life obligations and responsibilities.
- Reduced travel time, fuel expenses and stress due to rush hours traffic.
- Increased job satisfaction as a result of a better-managed life.
- The employer benefits from retaining and motivating high-performing and experienced employees.
- The employer may experience problems with
- Having higher start-up costs
- Additional administrative overhead
- Workload management.
- Meeting customer demands.
- The impact of the employee's absence on the organization.
- The change in terms and conditions of employment.
A Means to an End?
In my way to financial independence, I had to steal time from rest and leisure to be able to build my own business and let me tell you that was no picnic.
Many times I had to skip a party or a movie to be able to work on my project which didn't make my wife particularly happy even when, I thank God for that, she was with me on it all the way long.
I know perfectly well that quitting a regular job is out of the question for a family head and that, after taking care of your personal interests and duties, there isn't much time left for entrepreneurship.
That is where I see Flex-Time coming in. I believe it is a very natural and convenient mean to free some time to be able to work on building a business, your own business.
The reason I say that is very simple. Flex-Time is a different form of the 9 to 5 rat race, but please make no mistake, you will be in the race anyway. A little less stress, a little more time, a little more freedom, but still not making it to the next check. What I propose is to use it as a mean to get the extra time to build your business without being forced to take time from your well-deserved rest as I was. So, by all means, get your Flex-Time arrangement and use your little extra freedom and time to build your business.
Getting it all rounded up
Now you probably are asking yourself the Who Wants to be a Millionaire contest final question, for a hundred thousand rupees: A mean to WHAT end? Flexible Time to build WHAT business?
That is a question for you to answer, but if you want a friend's advice I would say to go for business on The Internet. It makes perfect sense to build an online business and many reasons support the idea, here are a few just to get you warmed up
- You can manage it from anywhere in the world.
- It is the ultimate model of Flexible Time. You choose your own working hours in a 24 hours clock.
- You can start a business on a very low budget.
- As I saw it put by a very professional entrepreneur, "God is your Boss".
- Ongoing business costs are much lower than in a brick and mortar business.
- You can take this from me: It will boost your creativity and self-esteem.