What Is A Flex Schedule? Pros, Cons, And Expert Tips

flex schedule clock

If you’re looking for a way to bring a little work/life balance to your business without sacrificing productivity, a flex schedule may be the solution.

Over the last few years, many businesses (and their employees) have realized they don’t have to rely on the standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule anymore. There are alternatives that, in some cases, work better than what everyone’s used to.

In this article, we discuss what makes a flex schedule a flex schedule, examine the pros and cons, and give you expert tips for making this alternate program work for your business.

Table Of Contents

What Is A Flex Schedule?

writing a flex schedule

The flex schedule is a time-and-attendance plan that allows your employees to adjust when they work to fit their unique needs.

Each team member can still work eight hours per day (or 40 hours per week), but they can choose when they will clock in and when they will clock out based on a set of guidelines that you put together.

Those guidelines typically include variables such as:

  • The earliest an employee can start work
  • The latest an employee can end work
  • Core hours when everyone has to be at work

For example, you may set up the schedule so that your team may start their day as early as 5 a.m., end their day as late as 9 p.m., and be “at work” (e.g., online or in the office) between the core hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Within those parameters, one employee could begin work at 5 a.m., take a “lunch break” around 9 a.m., work through the core hours, and finish at 1 p.m., while another employee could start at 10 a.m. and finish at 6 or 7 p.m. (depending on whether they take a lunch break).

Pros And Cons Of A Flex Schedule

creating a flex schedule

Pro #1: Productivity

When you introduce a flex schedule into your workflow, you give your team more control over their work/life balance.

Because they are able to move their start and end times around to accommodate personal obligations, your employees may feel more focused and energized. This may lead to higher levels of productivity in everything they do.

Pro #2: Incentive

Offering a flex schedule can serve as an incentive that attracts top talent to your business.

New hires may choose to work a standard 9-to-5 schedule, but having the option to switch start and end times should they need it can be the deciding factor between your business and another business.

Pro #3: Morale

By design, a flex schedule gives your team members the ability to deal with personal situations outside of work that may arise on short notice.

They no longer have to worry so much about things like weather-related school delays, traffic, and how to accommodate continuing education.

As a result, team and individual morale may improve dramatically over what it was under a strict 9-to-5 schedule.

Pro #4: Attendance

With a flex schedule, your business may see an uptick in attendance.

This often happens because team members have more time to deal with situations, appointments, and emergencies that could, potentially, keep them from coming to work.

For example, under the 9-to-5 system, a mid-morning doctor’s appointment would have meant taking a sick day. But, under the flex schedule, the employee can make the doctor’s appointment and still report to work for a full eight hours.

Con #1: Burnout

Person checking watch at work

Employee burnout is mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that leads to a lack of enthusiasm, decreased motivation, and a general sense of displeasure with a job.

Flex schedules can sometimes lead to burnout because employees have so many work options available to them. With the potential for this much change, a team member may not be able to find the consistency needed to maintain their energy and focus.

Con #2: Distractions

Under this type of work schedule, employees may arrive and leave at all hours of the day (except the core hours, of course).

Such constant activity may serve as a source of distraction for those employees who need a quiet, consistent environment in which to do their best work.

Con #3: Setup

Setting up any alternative type of schedule can be incredibly complicated at first. It may take some trial and error to get the variables (i.e., start time, end time, and core hours) arranged in a way that works well for your business and your team.

Give yourself plenty of time and freedom to develop the schedule so that it works for everyone involved.

Con #4: Tracking

As we’ve touched on in this article, tracking time and attendance in a flex schedule can be just as complicated and time-consuming as the setup.

You can overcome this difficulty by also incorporating a good time-tracking app — like Inch — into the workflow.

Expert Tips For Making A Flex Schedule Work

white board for creating a flex schedule

1) Consider Business Needs

Before implementing a flex schedule for your team, consider the needs of your business and how such a plan will affect the way you work.

Consider, for example, the possibility that a majority of your employees choose to work early hours leaving your business short-staffed in the afternoon and early evening hours.

On the other hand, the majority of your employees may choose to work late hours when your customers and other businesses aren’t active. How will that impact your business?

To plan for these variables, you may need to tweak the flex schedule so that your team has fewer start and stop options throughout the day (e.g., they can start work as early as 7 a.m. and work as late as 7 p.m.).

2) Start With Core Time

If your business relies on collaboration to get the job done, you’ll need to include core time in your flex schedule.

Core time is a set range of hours during which all team members must be at work. Depending on the needs of your business, your core time may be anywhere from one hour to four hours or more in duration.

This will give your employees the opportunity to gather as a unit and work together on whatever projects they’ve got going.

3) Train Your Team

There are plenty of different ways for your employees to execute a flex schedule — that’s the beauty of it. But the wide range of options can also be confusing at first.

Provide plenty of training for your team so they understand the ins and outs of this unique work plan and set up a central resource (such as an employee handbook) they can access with any questions or issues they might encounter along the way.

4) Simplify Time And Attendance Tracking

Without the right solution, time and attendance tracking in a flex schedule can be extremely complicated — especially for those who don’t report to the office every day.

To simplify things, many modern time and attendance apps are now available in the cloud for all your team members to access wherever and whenever they need it.

These apps can transform any digital device into a time clock so your employees can clock in or out wherever they are and track time on task whenever they work.

Some apps — like Inch — even let you set up restrictions and geofences so that your employee can’t clock in or out unless it’s the right time and they’re in the right location.

Manage Your Team With Inch

Manage Your Team With Inch

Incorporating a flex schedule into your existing workflow isn’t as hard as it may at first seem. The key is to harness the power of a cloud-based employee and task management app, like Inch.

With Inch, employees can access the app anywhere, anytime from any phone, mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer that’s connected to the internet. They can view the schedule, work from a shared task list, communicate with you and their coworkers, and much more.

On the manager’s side of things, Inch gives you the ability to track hours worked, monitor attendance, and coordinate the activities of your team wherever they — and you — are located at the moment.

Such features make managing your field-service team, remote team, distributed team, and in-office team easier than ever before, regardless of whether they work a flex schedule or not.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit TryInch.com today.

Share post on

Get employees accountable and easily control the quality of the work

Try Inch — a free scheduling tool that solves these issues.

Save countless hours scheduling employees while controlling quality of their work and reducing cost of labor.

Get Inch – a free work management tool that can help resolve accountability issues!