Flexitime: What you need to know

All work and no play? Flexitime might be for you…  

Regardless of your occupation, having the ability to organise your working hours in a way that suits you, whilst not compromising your hours and standard of work, could be the easiest way to maintain a steady work-life balance.

Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know about working on a flexitime basis:


What is flexitime?

Flexitime (AKA flexi time) is a flexible way of working which allows employees to fit their working hours around their individual needs, and accommodate for other commitments outside of work.

They do this by communicating with their employer to create an adaptable work schedule that’s different to the set timings of the standard working day (e.g. ‘9-to-5’). This may involve working from home, or adjusting starting and finishing times around the core hours (e.g. ‘10-to-4’).

It would then be up to the employee to choose when they work (with their employers permission), provided that the total hours add up to the amount required by their contract.

What is work-life integration? 

How to: Achieve a work-life balance


Can I work flexitime?

Although traditionally associated with parents or carers, anyone who has worked with their current employer for at least 26 weeks is entitled to apply for flexitime work.

Many employers even offer flexitime as part of their employee benefits.

If it isn’t currently offered in your workplace, you’ll need to make a statutory application, which will then need to be approved by your employer before the change is permitted.


How do I qualify for flexitime?

The flexi time policy you’ll need to adhere to is usually specific to your workplace, and dependent on your employer.

As well as adhering to the legal requirements, you must also exhibit a high level of self-motivation, and be able to manage your own time effectively.

The way your hours are tracked will be up to your employer, but it is generally based on the use of time management software (AKA flexitime software), combined with a level of trust.


What kind of industries allow flexitime work?

Workers in any industry can request to work on a flexitime basis, as long as they adhere to the above requirements.

Your employer has a legal obligation to consider your request under any circumstances, and although they can refuse, it must be justified with good reasoning (such as extra costs which might be incurred, or specific reasons for set business hours).


Are there other types of flexible working?

In addition to flexitime work, there are other ways to alter the way your work schedule is organised, and some involve reducing your working hours as well as changing your shift patterns. These could also be used in conjunction with flexitime schemes. Here are a few examples of flexible working:

  • Job sharing – A role is split between two employees, resulting in a shared workload. Tasks would be allocated to each person, and the reduced amount of work would allow each of them to work more flexibly.
  • Working part-time – The amount of hours worked are reduced, often by cutting down the amount of days or by making each day shorter.
  • Working from home – If possible, an employee might be able to do their work from home instead of traveling into work every day (although they might still work the same hours).
  • Compressed hours – The employee works the same amount of hours, but within fewer days.
  • Annualised hours – The hours an employee works must equal to a certain amount yearly, but can be worked flexibly, and alter dependent on when the busiest times are.
  • Staggered hours – The start time, finish time, and break time is varied.
  • Shift swapping – Employees organise shifts amongst each other, and swap hours between them to make sure they work best for each individual person.

In all of these instances, the amount of flexibility you have will be greatly dependent on your individual role, responsibilities, and working environment.

How to: Find remote work

Working hours: What you need to know

What are the benefits of flextime?

There are many advantages of using flexitime, and it has the potential to benefit both the employee and the employer.

Employees might choose to work on a flexitime basis to avoid a long or busy commute, to allow time to work around childcare, or even to maintain a steady work/life balance by giving themselves time for their own hobbies or sports.

Employers often offer flexitime work to increase staff retention, and broaden their recruitment opportunities. As it can also result in happier employees, companies who utilise flexible working hours could benefit from a boosted morale and higher level of productivity within the business.


How do I work flexitime?

If you think working on a flexitime basis could make your life easier, and would be possible in your field of work, read more about how to ask for flexible working hours.



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