Flexibility is a growing concept and many employers have already adopted flexible working arrangements because they see them as making good business sense. For employees, the opportunity to work flexibly can help them strike a better balance between their paid work and other responsibilities. Flexible working arrangements benefit everyone- employers, employees and their families (Department of Labor).
Flexibility is a way to identify that how the work should be done and when it should be completed and how the careers of employees get organized. It is a vital component to overall workplace efficiency. Companies use it as a tool for improving recruitment and retention, for managing workload, and for responding to employee diversity. Research shows that flexibility can also improve employee engagement and job satisfaction and reduce stress. Flexibility is a management tool that can help get the job done, not an employee perk or accommodation and it works best when the work unit and customers are involved. Research from Families and Work Institute’s 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce (NSCW) demonstrates that a critical element of workplace effectiveness is flexibility (Friedman).
Various types of working arrangements are designed to give flexibility to both employees and employers in the number of working hours (Hogarth, Hasluck & Pierre 2000). Some of them are:
Traditional flextime allows employees to select their starting and quitting times within a range of hours surrounding core-operating hours (Friedman). Daily flextime allows employees to select their starting and quitting times within a range of hours, typically surrounding core-operating hours, on a daily basis (Friedman). Part-time work means working part days, five days per week or working full days, but fewer than five days per week. Job sharing is when two employees share one full-time job with its pro-rated salary and benefits are also a form of part-time work (Friedman).
Part-year work means working reduced hours on an annual basis, rather than a daily or weekly basis—for example, working full-time during the school year and then taking a block of time off during the summer (Friedman). Time off during the workday to address personal and family issues includes time off for expected issues (a parent-teacher conference) or unexpected issues (waiting for a plumber to fix a broken pipe) etc (Friedman). Time off for personal illness allows employees paid time off when they are ill. Paid time off to care for children involves being allowed to take a few days off to care for a sick child without losing pay or without having to make up some other reason for one’s absence (Friedman). Parental Leave is planned time off for mothers and fathers for the birth, adoption, or care of a foster child (Friedman). Working from home happens when people work from their home on a regular or occasional basis when the need for work arises. Due to increase demands of job and to get more work done, most of the companies allow their employees to work from home (Hogarth, Hasluck & Pierre 2000, p.129).