Flexible Work Schedules

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Alternative Scheduling Ideas

Examples of different types of work schedules that companies are using to attract and retain talent are (1) results-only work environment, (2) compressed workweek, (3) split shift, (4) customized work schedule, (5) 9/80 schedule, and (6) Flex/Flextime.


1. Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE)

  • As its name implies, the ROWE work schedule is all about results, not the time/hours worked. With this schedule, work just needs to be completed on-time and be done well. Outside of those parameters, employees can work as few or as many hours as is needed to get the job done, even if that turns out to be below full-time hours.
  • As industry source Flexjobs stated: "ROWE has become an impressive tool for employers—particularly remote ones—to increase productivity, motivate employees, and create a solid company culture."
  • Pros observed from the ROWE schedule include happy employees, productive employees, employees who are engaged in their work, and offers employers a simpler way to measure an employee's work results.
  • Cons observed with the ROWE schedule include that not all employees fare well with it and the existence of communication difficulties if meetings aren't put in place.
  • Examples of companies that offer a ROWE schedule include GitHub , Toggl , Big Universe , Lullabot , StickerMule , Toptal , Trello , Beutler Ink , Groove , and TeamSnap.

2. Compressed Workweek

  • The essence of a compressed work schedule involves working fewer days, but longer hours on those days.
  • The common format for a compressed workweek is four work days per week, but that totals a full-time load.
  • Pros of the compressed workweek include providing "better work/life balance" to employees, increased productivity during the hours worked outside of typcial business hours (since employees might have less distractions in that time period), reduced commute times each week due to the extra day off, and extending the hours that the company operates.
  • Cons of the compressed workweek are that it can diminish employee productivity (especially if a job is demanding), reduce employee supervision, and employees might accidentally work overtime hours that weren't authorized.
  • Examples of companies that offer a compressed workweek schedule include Reusser Design, Basecamp, KPMG Clif Bar, and State Street.

3. Split Shifts

  • The split shift work schedule means that employees work two or more intervals per day.
  • An example of a split shift schedule is working from 9-11 a.m. and then from 5-7 p.m.
  • Pros of the split shift schedule are that it's family friendly (offers a way for parents to work and also spend time with their kids), increased employee productivity since they get a break (compared to the usual trend of productivity decreasing as more hours are worked), it helps employers reduce overhead costs by only scheduling workers when they're needed, and it provides work/life balance to employees.
  • The con of the split shift schedule is that employees can't work all their hours consecutively and thus their workdays are dragged out, even though they are off for a period of hours in between.
  • Examples of companies that offer a split shift schedule include FedEx Express, RR Donnelley, Transitions Healthcare North Huntingdon, LLC, NTK Precision Axle Corp., and Pitney Bowes.

4. Customized Work Schedule

  • The customized work schedule allows employees to select the hours they want to work.
  • This work schedule has been described as "a popular and relatively simple system."
  • Pros of the customized work schedule are that it boosts employee productivity (since employees get to choose when they actually want to work, instead of when they have to work), it's family friendly (employees can design their schedule around family responsibility such as picking up kids from school), increased employee loyalty (as employees might realize that other employers won't necessarily offer this type of flexibility), empowering employees by providing them with autonomy, and employees can avoid rush hour in their commutes if they so choose.
  • Cons of the customized work schedule are increased communication difficulties with people working at different times, diminished accountability, challenges with scheduling meetings, and a diminished sense of work team comradery.
  • Examples of companies that offer a customized work schedule include Verve, Postmates, Easton Wellness and Rehabilitation, Fairview Meadows Healthcare Center, CCC Information Services Inc., Jobletics, and Somerset Hills Health and Rehabilitation.

5. 9/80 Schedule

  • The 9/80 work schedule means that an employee has a four-day workweek in which they work for nine hours on those days. On the fifth workday, he/she works for eight hours total, which is divided into two periods of four hours. That first period of four hours marks the completion of their first week, while the second marks the beginning of the next workweek.
  • During that second workweek, the employee has a four-day workweek in which he/she works nine hours on each of those days. The reward comes on the fifth day of that second workweek, as he/she gets a day off.
  • The pro of the 9/80 schedule is that an employee gets a day off every two weeks that he/she otherwise wouldn't have had.
  • Cons of the 9/80 schedule are that the workdays are high pressure and that evenings outside of work are shorter on workdays since employees are working longer on those days.
  • Examples of companies that offer a 9/80 schedule include Chevron and L3Randtron.

6. Flex/Flextime

  • A flex/flextime schedule allows employees to work a set number of hours at a designated location (likely an office), but the rest of their hours can be worked wherever and whenever they so choose.
  • Pros of the flex/flextime schedule are that it offers work/life balance, increases employee productivity as a result of the flexibility afforded to them, results in greater job satisfaction, and provides cost savings for employers.
  • Cons of the flex/flextime schedule are that it can make scheduling team meetings more difficult and it can eliminate the opportunity to hold an in-person meeting on-demand if things come up at the office.
  • While many employers provide a flex work schedule option, some examples of companies that offer such include LivingSocial, Ditto, Upwork, Thumbtack, and VMware.

Your research team applied the following strategy:

We identified the types of work schedules above as ones that companies are using to attract and retain talent by reviewing numerous articles published on this topic from media sources such as CNN and industry sources such as Flexjobs. The vast majority of the information provided above came from those numerous articles that we consulted throughout our research. In looking for companies that utilize some of the above schedules, we reviewed job boards advertising those types of positions as a way to identify such companies. We ensured a U.S. focus to our research, as all the schedules above are utilized by U.S. companies. Together, this research process provided us with all the information we sought about types of schedules that companies are using to attract and retain talent in the U.S.