The pros and cons of flexible working employees should be aware of

March 02, 2021

Pros and cons of flexible working

Is the notorious 9-5 work schedule getting kicked out of offices? More and more employers are weighing the pros and cons of flexible working. Obviously, employees already love it: 73% said that having flexible work arrangements increased their work satisfaction.

With Babyboomers leaving the workforce, Millennials overtaking the wheel and Gen Z following behind, it’s no surprise that more light is shed on the benefits of flexible working. 

For what it’s worth, what Millennials are crazy about is having a work-life balance and believe that flexible work arrangements are the key to it. Moreover, women are more present in the workforce than ever – so with two working parents who’s supposed to take care of the children? Apparently, flexible work schedules, again, offer the solution.

But let’s not stray away to discussing the causes of the rise of flexible working. We’re here to inspect all the pros and cons of flexible working.

Flexible work schedules: pros and cons to be aware of

Asking is flexible working good or bad and expecting a straight yes or no answer is a delusion. For some companies, it will be liberating. For others, it would be the beginning of the end. After all, it all depends on the nature of your work, whether you’ve hired the right or wrong employees, company culture, management, etc.

So, to get the big picture, we’ll not only cover the benefits of flexible working, but also the challenges of flexible work arrangements.

5 advantages of flexible working hours

Starting with the advantages of flexible working hours before getting you down to earth with the disadvantages.

Following the biological biorhythm

One of the biggest benefits of flexible working is that it allows you to follow your own biological rhythm. This means that you can work when your mind is at its focus and productivity peak. For example, there are people whose brains start properly functioning in the afternoon. On the other hand, morning persons can throw themselves at work the minute they wake up. 

So being able to work on your biological clock usually results in increased productivity and quality of work which brings us to the next big benefit.

Producing more results

The issue with 9-5 work schedules is that it drains off creativity and productivity. You can’t expect a person to be 100% effective for 8 hours in a row, 5 days a week. Eventually, the frustration of the workers increases too and it leads to either bad performance or resignation.

On the other hand, when an employee is given the liberty to organise their own schedule, work satisfaction is increased and so is their motivation to reward the employer for their trust with 100% of their skills and capabilities.

Better mental health

Flexible working removes the stress imposed on employees by the 9-5 schedule. Being able to arrange your time leads to an improved work-life balance and that ultimately leads to less stress. 

8-hour workdays often make employees feel like they’re failing their families for rarely being present in their lives. In the same manner, they also make them feel like they’re failing their boss for not being productive because they’re thinking of their ill mother who went to the hospital on her own, or their child who wants to take piano lessons but there’s no one to drive them. 

With flexible working, all this is gone. You can take your mother to the hospital and work in the evening when you get back. The freedom to manage your days on your terms erases the pressure and helps you put together your thoughts and emotions.

Reduced employee turnover

A survey from couple of years ago, when pandemic was just a word in the dictionary, explicitly shows that 80% of workers would choose a job that offers a flexible schedule. Which in other words means that they are less likely to quit if you give them flexible working hours.

Of course your staff will rush to your competitors’ if they get the same pay without being stressed about working 9 to 5. What did you think? It’s 21 century – digitalization and automatization are no longer a science fiction movie, remote work is becoming the norm… And if you can’t wrap your head around this, maybe it’s best to hire an HR expert to help you introduce flexible work schedules to your employees.

Find the best HR agencies on Enterprise League

Increased loyalty

Letting an employee work when it best suits their biorhythm and private life shows that you trust them. This trust is then translated into loyalty, care and respect between the employer and their employee. 

In a way, flexible hours show employee appreciation. And when they feel appreciated and trusted, the levels of job satisfaction rise and so does loyalty. No one would like to fail a boss who has made their life less miserable and stressful. If anything, they would be motivated to return the favour by bringing better results to the company.

5 disadvantages of flexible work schedules

Now let’s explore the challenges of flexible work arrangements before we come to the final verdict.

Overbooking oneself

When you have flexible working hours, it’s very easy to miscalculate and end up biting more than you can chew. Time can be hard to grasp without fixed hours, and you can overbook yourself with appointments or tasks. At least at the beginning, until you get a hold of the new arrangements. 

Why is this bad? Well, you can’t hold a meeting at the same time you’re supposed to pick up your niece from school, right? And if you resort to time management apps and tools, make sure you use only one. You might think it’s tricky to mix your work tasks with private life but it’s trickier to juggle two or more apps. Actually, they’re the root of overbooking.

Grey area between life and work

At what point does work start and at what private life? Weren’t you supposed to finish the report half an hour ago and take your dog out? 

The truth is when we don’t have a set time to leave office we’re more likely to continue working on a task that in reality can be continued tomorrow. The lines between work and life blur and one can end up responding to a cold email while watching TV with their spouse.

For people who get easily consumed with tasks or have a lack of organization skills, this can be one of the disadvantages of flexible work schedules they’re most affected by.

Distractions, distractions, distractions

Adjusting to working from home is enough challenging on its own so when you add a flexible working schedule to it, you can end up with a time ticking bomb in your business. 

Is that a new Netflix series? Is that the neighbour grilling cheese on the BBQ? What’s that sound – oh the washing machine just finished! These distractions can easily lead to workload piling up or even missing deadlines. Then the employee would have to work back the hours which can create resentment.

At the office, this doesn’t happen, at least not to that degree. You’re not alone, your boss may show up at any time, there’s no dishwasher to empty nor birds on the balcony to feed. 

Issues with communication

If all of your team works on flexible schedules it’ll be way harder to arrange meetings so communication can take a hit. And if clients are involved too, then it’s an even more serious challenge. 

If the employee is out in the morning, and the manager has some important discussions, the manager has to wait and for the employee to be back. So, such lack of timely communication might hamper workflow and productivity. Hence, to ensure there would be no slip-ups and all the bases would be covered, the management would work on a strategy and enforce strong policies.

Requiring supervision

We all have different personalities. Having that in mind, some employees require direct supervision to work in a productive manner. Without clear boundaries and directions, they get lost and productivity drops. You may think these are bad workers, but they’re not. Their brains just function differently.
And while it’s easy to supervise the staff when they all show up at work at the same time, it’s quite a challenge for the management to do it when workers have different schedules or even work from home.

Final verdict

As long as you have responsible employees and tasks the shouldn’t be done in certain business hours, then the flexible work arrangements benefits outweigh the challenges. But when communication and collaboration with clients and partners are challenged, it’s best to stick to fixed business hours. 

More must-read stories from Enterprise League:

Related Articles