The main aim of an organization is getting things done by utilizing human resources in a proper way or running a particular system by human intervention so as to achieve the goals. The saga of management is having special significance because, here the human minds, human potentialities interact with each other and work to get the highest output. Bring the best out of oneself for the organization’s development, galaxy of dynamic character – traits which are all the hallmarks of skill of an employer. In an organization, understanding the pulse of the workforce is very much helpful to realize the objectives. A man’s endeavors mirror the impressive spectrum of latent powers and layers of hidden talents in him. Pragmatic approach is the most beneficial investment to get the best from an employee.
In order to know the knowhow of creating amicable work space for employees and to have a knowledge regarding various ways and means to get tremendous, desired output for employer one has to study in depth the concept of “work jurisprudence” and its facet, types i.e. flexible working hours (FLWH) and fixed working hours(FWH), advantages and disadvantages etc.
Origin Of The Concept Of Fixed Work Hour And Flexible Work Hour
In the pre-industrial time, the period prior to the 18th century, workers worked from dawn to dusk on hunting and farming. This is equivalent to 16 hours summer daytime, and 8 hours winter daytime. However, this included intermittent breaks along with seasonal & occasional holidays.
Industrial revolution took place between the 18th and 19th centuries. In this phase, working conditions revolved around factories and machines. Working hours became a continuous 12-16 hours per day with scheduled breaks; an average of 80 hours per week.
This started to change towards the end of the 19th century, World War I, and the start of the information and technology age. Jobs have evolved to different kinds of responsibilities. Working hours were reduced almost to the half thanks to the formed unions and constant renewal of legislation. So now, the legalized working hours are between 35 and 45 weekly hours, with 2 to 5 weeks of annual holiday. This allowed the workers to have leisure time and still rest for the day, which enabled them to be more productive at their work.
Flextime, originally derived from the German word Gleitzeit which literally means “sliding time” is a variable work schedule, in contrast to traditional work arrangements requiring employees to work a standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. day. A flextime policy allows staff to determine when they will work, while a flex place policy allows staff to determine where they will work. Its invention is usually credited to William Henning. Its practical realization can mainly be attributed to the entrepreneur Wilhelm Haller who founded Hengstler Gleitzeit, and later “Interflex Datensysteme GmbH” in Southern Germany, where today a number of companies offer Flexi time (Gleitzeit) solutions which have grown out of his initiative.
Meaning And Definition Of FWH and FLWH
As the name itself suggests in fixed work hours, an employee is to work from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. a day at the office/firm of an employer. While flexible work hours are the most popular work option with both employers and employees. It lets employees set their own starting and quitting times within limits.
Flexible work practice explained by the employer in employment policies and contracts) that allows the employees a certain degree of freedom in deciding how the work will be done and how they’ll coordinate their schedules with those of other employees. The employer sets certain limits such as minimum and maximum number of hours of work every day, and the core time during which all employees must be present.
According to Macmillan Dictionary, ways of working that allow you to live your life in the way you want for example, working from home or working hours that are different from the usual 9 to 5 day.
In the past, the most common definition of labor market flexibility was the neoliberal definition. This entailed the ease of labor market institutions in enabling labor markets to reach a continuous equilibrium determined by the intersection of the demand and supply curve. In the words of Sievert labor market institutions were seen to inhibit.
“the clearing functions of the market by weakening the demand for labor, making it less attractive to hire a worker by explicitly pushing up the wage costs or by introducing a negative shadow price for labor; by distorting the labor supply; and by impairing the equilibrating function of the market mechanism (for instance, by influencing bargaining behavior).”
The days when all jobs consisted of 40 work hours spent in eight-hour chunks Monday through Friday are over. Today, an increasing number of employees work flexible schedules from a variety of locations and even share jobs. Employees like these arrangements, and they can be advantageous for the right entrepreneur as well.
Features Of FWH
Fixed working hours implies working a fixed number of hours at an imposed time, on a fixed number of days of the week. The current international legalized average working hours are 35-45 hours weekly. The start time and end time differs from an organization to another.
Hourly wages and fixed salaries comprise the two principal ways to compensate an employee. Companies spread annual, fixed salaries over bi-weekly or monthly paychecks throughout the year. There is no “right” way to get paid, and the type of payment you receive depends on company policy.
Characteristic Features Of FLWH
Flexible working hours allow employees to start and finish work earlier or later between an agreed range of times, provided they work a set number of hours each day or week. For example, employees may be able to start an eight-hour day at any time that suits them between 7 am and 10 am and finish at any time between 3.30 pm and 6.30 pm. A supervisor might be responsible for ensuring enough coverage of business service needs. You may want to stipulate core hours to meet business demands e.g. peak client times, meeting times or deliveries. Employees usually keep track of flextime using special software. Flextime helps staff who need to take children to or from school or care, attend school events, train a sports team etc. Other staff may use flexi-time to avoid rush-hour or take advantage of quieter times at work to get things done. Giving staff this option increases your chances of recruiting and retaining skilled employees. Managing the competing demands of work, family and social life can be achieved through FLWH.
Happier workplace ignites the dormant inner energy within the human mind and creates a finer manifestation which is having a commercial value. Tension free and pressure free work zone energizes the human mind and motivates to do works in efficient way. As we know that in the womb of sea precious pearls and stones are there, likewise in the depth of human mind creative energy is there. It is nothing but an intellect of a human being. In the shoreless ocean of reality man finds only what he seeks.
During olden days it was the practice of fixed hours work in the organization of employer. As it is known that, change is the law of nature today, work space is shrinking i.e. becoming too small due to the idea of “flexible working hours”. And also the workforce is shrinking i.e. difficulty in filling jobs due to lack of suitable talent available in the market. Balancing work life concept gained weight. FLWH has widened the sphere of work. FLWH gives ample scope for this kind of employees to reach their goal and thereby helps to make their cherished dreams come true.
The latest concept promising an extraordinary shift in the way of work is that of flexible working. Flexible working has enormous potential to improve productivity, increase employee job satisfaction and bring about direct cost-savings to the business. If an employee is given a choice in the hours and place of his working, his stress and frustration level goes down tremendously. Higher the comfort levels, better the results and also fewer the chances of errors. Flexible working also results in reduced overheads and office staff achieving an improved work life balance. Employers do choose to offer flexibility to retain the right staff and to extract the best from staff.
As workers are becoming more sophisticated and global socioeconomic patterns change in today’s modern society, the way we work is also changing. In a world where consumers are demanding better products and services, employers are also faced with the challenge of finding skilled workers to suit the business needs. By instituting flexible work arrangement policies, employers are able to not only attract skilled individuals but retain them for long term.
There is no one-size-fits-all work solution for every organization, as each business or industry is different in nature. Each organization should continue to study and improvise over time on the types of flexible work arrangements that would be most suitable for their businesses.
The idea of a fixed work hour is of ancient origin. Traditionally most of the companies followed the structured environment work. The concept of flexible work hours is popular today in the era of IT and Globalization. Innovations in technology also contribute to the development of Flexible Work Arrangements. Future generations will reject traditional work practices due to the advent of new concepts like FLWH to the Work Jurisprudence.
FLWH is having multi dimensional characteristics. Even if it is observed from the human rights perspective, constitutional dimensions and labor law it is justifiable to introduce FLWH. In this situation of talent crunch this is one of the best ways to retain talented, trustworthy employees. It is the right time to cultivate FLWH culture in the work arena. FLWH strives for harmonization of work life and personal life of employees. FLWH has changed the philosophy of work as such. It is the wise decision to adopt the edifice of FLWH concept for best suitable departments of a company. With the introduction of flexible working let air of Change enters into the world of work and improve quality of life for employees and employer’s self.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FLWH FOR EMPLOYER
There is significant scope for greater uptake of flexible working arrangements in smaller businesses. Positive impacts of flexible work arrangements in recruitment and retention, enhanced employee relations, commitment and loyalty are found, together with disadvantages of operational problems and administrative burdens. It is proposed that the gap between the potential for and current practice in flexible working arrangements may be narrowed by targeting information, making some modifications and guidance on such arrangements.
With flexible work schedules, employers experience these benefits:
- Attract Skilled & Motivated Staff – Retain Talent
As well as attracting more talent, providing flexibility helps employers keep trained, skilled people whose changing circumstances may otherwise have led them to leave. Higher retention rates of staff and increased return rates from parental leave. Employers are even able to expand their talent pools and attract talent from further locations when individuals are given the option to work remotely.
- Motivate & Energized Staff
Staff morale is higher and this increases your bottom line, productivity and profits. Today’s evidence shows that flexible and enlightened working practices are good for business. Achieving a work life balance between the needs of home and work is a win win for the employee and the employer.
- Increased Employee Satisfaction
Employee satisfaction improves as workers gain work-life balance by being able to prioritize their daily lives, and perhaps spend more time caring for their families or pursuing a hobby. The well-being of our future society is dependent upon the present young generation growing up in a stable, learning environment. In some cases, financial burden on the employee is also lifted if daycare expenses are reduced because a FWA allows the mother and father to juggle parental duties with work. A happier workplace is created, teamwork improves, stress levels are reduced, motivation increases and knowledge and enthusiasm are shared.
4. Reduced Absenteeism
Staff stress levels drop, unplanned absences are reduced as employees are able to balance their work and family responsibilities. As the world of work becomes more sophisticated, the focus becomes lesser on the conventional time-oriented performance but rather goal-oriented performance.
5. Increased Management Skills
Managing a more diverse workforce as leaders and managers you are compelled to “look outside the square”.
6. Employer Will Become an Employer of Choice
This develops an image as an employer of choice with family friendly flexible work schedules. Attract new talent and recruit hard to fill positions as you are known as an Employer of Choice. Flexibility will give your business a bigger pool of talent to draw from and a real competitive advantage.
Customers are also attracted by the favorable image and employee motivation can be easy to maintain because of a shared pride. People who work for best employers let others know about it.
7. Reduced Operating Costs/ Cost reduction
Office space can be reduced and used more effectively which lowers accommodation costs. Desk sharing can be introduced if employees work remotely and flexibly. A flexible and remote working plan enables companies to retain valued staff by offering them choices to suit their lifestyle demands. Expenditures on space and utilities can be reduced as organizations need not have the entire workforce at the office premises. Cisco conducted a study and found that the average utilization of assigned work space is only 35 percent. Even though employees clock in at work, they do not actually spend a lot of time at their desks.
8. Improved Business Performance
Flexible working times can help businesses to better meet customers’ needs as working patterns can be matched to when the service is required with the ability to match work provisions closely with customer/product demand.
Contact time with clients is increased as a result of reduced travel. Giving employees more control over their work life balance also means they are more productive during each working hour.
9. Good for Small Business
Smaller businesses often offer flexibility as a successful recruitment tactic. It is one of the ways they can stay competitive with bigger companies. In addition, many businesses provide flexible work schedules because they think such policies simply make good business sense. Flexible schedules provide a work-life balance which is favored by many potential employees, and instating such policies can help small businesses to attract and retain the best of the best.
10. Reduces Business Expenses
Companies can save substantial amounts of money through flexible working. Reduces business expenses: sick time (less is used); productivity (employees are more productive); resources(less computer space and access are needed, increased hours of customer service; employee safety (fewer accidents at the job site and commuting); environmental requirements (reducing the number of commuters) and relocation of employees (tele-working may avoid relocating workers.
11. Research has shown that many businesses experience a number of benefits when they introduce flexible working. This includes increasing productivity and the ability to reduce travel. Some of the time saved on travel to the office can be spent working.
12. Increased employee morale, engagement, and commitment to the organization.
13. Reduced absenteeism and tardiness.
14. Increased ability to recruit outstanding employees.
15. Reduced turnover of valued staff.
16. Allows people to work when they accomplish most, feel freshest, and enjoy working. (eg. morning person vs. night person).
17. Extended hours of operation for departments such as customer service.
18. Access to a talent pool which might otherwise be unavailable thus improving recruitment.
19. Ability to allow employees to continue to develop and grow in their career and to match the natural cycle of family commitments that everyone experiences.
20. Employees who enjoy flexible working are better at meeting tight deadlines. They will put in the extra mile when the business needs it and take the time off when more convenient, improving personal productivity.
21. Some staff will work better at different times of day – flexible workers can work when they are at their peak, increasing productivity.
22. To tap untapped potential
23. Under-represented populations such as women, older workers, retirees and people with physical disabilities hold great potential if they can be integrated into the workforce. In recent years, efforts are being stepped up globally to tap into this talent pool which possesses the required skills and talent for businesses.
24. Punctuality is no longer in need of being watched in FLWH.
25. Being an interactive system means employees keep a permanent and personal check on worked time.
Disadvantages of FLWH work philosophy are very less. However, they are as under –
- Flexible working hours are complicated and that it could lead to a flood of impossible demands from employees.
- Individualized flexible arrangements if not monitored well, can put pressure on the workplace.
- There is a fear of non availability of staff in the office as and when needed.
- No daily report sent to the employer in this FLWH fabric. Status of the work will only be informed to the employer.
- It may lead to operational problems together with administrative burdens.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FLWH FOR EMPLOYEE
In business today, flexible working isn’t an option – it’s a necessity. There are a number of employees who want to work flexibly in order to achieve a work life balance. FWH can lead to better work/life balance and result in a happier workforce. The traditional 9 to 5 pattern of working hours may present problems for men and women who have to combine work and family responsibilities. There are benefits therefore in introducing flexible working arrangements which permit individuals to better balance the needs of home and company commitments.
With flexible work schedules, employees experience these benefits:
- Flexibility to meet family needs, personal obligations, and life responsibilities conveniently.
- Reduced consumption of employee commuting time and fuel costs.
- Avoids traffic and the stresses of commuting during rush hours.
- Increased feeling of personal control over schedule and work environment.
- Reduces employee burnout due to overload.
- Allows people to work when they accomplish most, feel freshest, and enjoy working. (e.g. morning person vs. night person).
- Depending on the flexible work schedule chosen, may decrease external childcare hours and costs.
- Employees, who can gain access to FLWH employment, explore new career opportunities, raise their incomes, reduce their living costs and balance more effectively the demands of work and home.
- In Flexi time work where employees work extra time when needed by employers and bank the extra hours/ days off for ranging their personal commitments.
- Ability to balance work and home commitments more readily
- Increased quality of life
- Reduced Stress
- Greater levels of job satisfaction
- Ability to continue to work
- Access to more interesting and better paid work
- Ability to maintain career development and personal growth during a period of temporary increased family commitments
- Ability to balance work and one’s natural life cycle during which personal commitments outside work will increase.
Comparing advantages and disadvantages of FLWH, advantages are more in number.
Disadvantages of FLWH for employees are –
- Along with salary no other beneficial packages like LTA, Bonus etc. in FLWH.
- Due to negation of other lucrative packages employee’s budgeting may cause problems to some extent.
FLWH is the most popular flexible work option with both employers and employees. It lets employees set their own starting and quitting times within limits determined by management.
By comparative and critical analytical study it can be concluded that advantages in the FLWH work jurisprudence are more than that of its disadvantages and also from the FWH system. Hence, it is the wise decision to adopt the edifice of FLWH concept for best suitable departments of a company. With the introduction of flexible working let air of Change enters into the world of work and improve quality of life for employees and employer’s self.