What is Flextime?

Flextime, short for flexible time, is a work arrangement that allows employees to choose their workday's starting and finishing time. As employees seek a better balance between work and home, flextime offers an opportunity to better manage time. However, flextime may mandate that employees be in the office during certain hours to accommodate customers and allow for meetings and collaboration.

Understanding Flextime

Ordinarily, flextime requires that employees work a certain number of hours within a specific period (e.g., 40 hours per week). However, more progressive work systems may disregard work hours as a measure of productivity and only require that employees fulfill their work duties within a specific period. Flextime works best when work is either highly individual or when information technology allows opportunities for asynchronous collaboration. Flextime is used with exempt employees, meaning salaried workers who are exempt from minimum wage, overtime rules, and other rights and protections afforded to non-exempt workers.

Key Takeaways

  • Flextime is a work arrangement in which employees can choose the starting and finishing times of their workday.
  • Flextime employees are typically required to work during their employer's core hours.
  • Flextime work arrangements are popular as they help employees achieve a positive work-life balance.
  • Flexplace, similar to flextime, allows employees to choose where they accomplish their work, such as from home.

Requirements for Flextime

A flextime work arrangement gives workers the right to start and end their workday as desired or within a specific window. For example, some companies require flextime employees to be present during core hours, such as from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They may also require that all work be conducted and completed during the hours between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m., known as bandwidth time. The shoulder hours outside of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the flextime hours. This is in contrast to the traditional workday of roughly 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Flextime Benefits

Workers have consistently rated workplace flexibility more important than compensation and advancement. Employers are often willing to reward workers with flextime because it is easier and less expensive to implement than issuing raises and promoting workers. Workers are also more likely to remain at a job that offers greater flexibility because it allows for a better work/life balance. Women tend to appreciate the flextime benefit more than men, but both report higher levels of happiness working under such a policy. Flextime may also play a role in reducing healthcare costs, stress, and burnout.

Flextime vs. Flexplace

Like flextime, "flexplace" is a work arrangement in which employees make adjustments to how work is accomplished. Flexplace gives workers a greater say in how they schedule their workday by allowing them to determine where they work. These work arrangements are common and popular among people with long commutes to work, and thanks to advancements in technology, many organizations where office presence is not required are adopting this concept. Workers with children, disabilities, unique or demanding childcare or eldercare needs, long commutes, or other time- and place-related challenges may benefit the most from flextime and flexplace. However, when their presence is required, the employer may request the employee to report to an office location for work or meetings.