The Advantages and Disadvantages of Flexible Working Hours

How many times have you encountered employee complaints about finding difficulty arriving to work promptly? Having to abide by strict work hours has always been an issue for employees who have other demanding obligations or live far from their workplace. In order to resolve this issue, some companies offer their employees more flexible work hours. This means allowing them to arrive and leave in a flexible manner or working remotely for most of the time. While the idea of being able to adjust work hours to accommodate to employees’ personal needs sounds appealing, it nonetheless deprives them of certain benefits associated with the workplace environment only. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of flexible working hours:


More Comfort

Having the ability to work at the time, location and pace that are most appropriate to employees will certainly make them more comfortable with their work.

 Helps Avoid Long Commutes

Employees who live a long way from their work location are forced to commute for long hours in order to make it to work on time. In many cases, employees are unable to afford the transportation costs, placing another burden upon them. Fewer visits to the workplace means saving more time, money, and effort that can be invested elsewhere.

In some cases, the long commute is inevitable. Even then, employees can implement certain strategies in order to make their commutes less boring and tiring. For instance, employees can achieve so by listening to TED Talks or reading materials using a device called Kindle or on their mobile devices.

Better Work-life Balance

This is particularly relevant to employees who have several demanding obligations in their lives, such as a parent with a baby or an employee with a sick parent. Having the choice of working at their most suitable timings will allow them to better handle their other obligations and have a more consistent juggle between their work and their personal lives.

It Reduces Anxiety

Having to wake up early to be at work on time may cause ongoing stress and anxiety for employees who have trouble doing so. Moreover, fear of the ramifications of being late to work is another contributor to stress. Therefore, having work hours that are adapted to an employee’s schedule will significantly minimize this pressure.
Irrespective of how flexible an employee’s schedule is, anxiety is still a major issue that is faced by many workers. One of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety is performing meditation. An application called Headspace provides guidance to its users on how to meditate in order to relief stress.

Increases Work Efficiency

This is likely to be the end product of all the advantages previously mentioned. Having employees who are more comfortable, relaxed, and satisfied will undoubtedly maximize their work efficiency.


Loss or Reduction of the Office Environment Atmosphere

It is undeniable that an office has a distinct feeling to it that you cannot experience anywhere else. Being in an office puts you in a certain state of mind that helps you concentrate and motivates you to work harder and produce work of better quality. Spending less or no time at all at the office will limit or strip employees of this experience. 

Less Direct Communication and Interaction Between Employees

Reducing the time employees spend at the workplace means less interaction with their fellow coworkers and their bosses. The outcomes of this include receiving less feedback and updates and having weaker relationships with coworkers.
However, employees can continue to stay in touch with their managers by using tools such as Trello and Slack. Through such tools, employees can receive consistent feedback and updates from their managers, who will be informed on their work progress.

It is worth noting that while flexible working hours may be suitable for certain jobs (for instance an editor or a graphic designer), it does not fit other jobs, such as those in customer care or sales people who have to be present and fully engaged during the regular working hours in order to interact with customers or coworkers. Furthermore, workers who opt for flexible working hours or working remotely will need to devote extra effort to make sure that they are fully informed and involved in their job.

Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS), such as ZenHR, can ease the communication between employees and Human Resources Managers in order to help them organize each employee’s schedule and agree on certain working hours, leaves, and allowances. Such systems can result in maximizing the benefits of flexible working hours while addressing its downsides.

In conclusion, for many employees, arriving at work on time is an endless struggle that they have to face on a daily basis. A possible solution that is becoming more prevalent is tweaking their work hours to fit their schedule or working remotely. While this alternative settles many of their issues, they have to pay the price of experiencing fewer of the advantages found in the workplace environment.

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by Zaid Tabaza