jaya sinha asked:
Flexible work arrangements are alternate work arrangements away from the normal working schedule and are designed to provide comfort and convenience both to the employee as well as the end-user.
An employee can enjoy the benefits of his home and family life while availing these work arrangements while a customer has an easy access to the better supply chain system through adoption of flexible work arrangement. Keeping in mind the requirements of the business, a flexible work arrangement is designed which is agreed upon formally or informally both by the employer and the employee. A flexible work arrangement may include â€“
Â· Reduced working hours (rather than the usual working hours of 8/day and 40/week).
Â· Compressed work week which enables an employee to extend his normal working hours to few more to avail a weekly off. This would require an employee to work for more than 8hours/day.
Â· Job-sharing where the two employees share their duties and responsibilities on pre-set terms and conditions.
Â· Annualized work hours where the employees can choose the working hours and days for a fixed period of time to be availed on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis.
Â· Gradual retirement whereby an employee rather than retiring from the company has the option of reducing his workhours.
Â· Telepresence or Video-conferencing technology, where the employer can connect with the remote access employee on video.
Â· Flextime where an employee has an option of choosing the start time and the finish time without affecting the peak working hours which lies in between the start and the finish time.
Â· Flexplace or better known as Telecommuting which allows an employee to work from virtual office. The employee should have an access to the computer and telephone facility at home or any other place from where he chooses to work.
How Effective? Letâ€™s Evaluateâ€”
Most of the surveys being conducted at high-technology companies have revealed that this kind of flexible work arrangement is primarily introduced to retain the best brains rather than to offer the end-user convenience. Employers who are in the retailing business may take up the cause of customer convenience, for example, the chemist shop which is open 24 hours, or the shell shops at petrol filling stations which supply the necessary items, edible and non-edible at the ease of the customer. The BPOs again, may have one of the flexible options like compressed work hours for their employees, and would have this option in order to increase their business prospects and growth by attending to a customerâ€™s needs. Let us evaluate each of the above mentioned flexible work arrangements one by one.
Reduced working hours: Although it offers employeesâ€™ the much sought-after comfort of working on part-time basis, but the employees may be deprived of pension plans, loans sanction etc.
Compressed work week: This is good both from the employerâ€™s and employeeâ€™s viewpoint. More hours may be required by the organizations to increase the productivity and efficiency on a daily basis.
Job-sharing: In this case, it becomes imperative that the employees should work in a team and the pay-packets, bonuses and holidays should be equally divided.
Annualized work hours: This works in emergency situations such it best works in the health-care sector where doctors and other paramedical staff are required to be on work for 24 hours a day. This arrangement is being adopted by many manufacturing companies as well where the peak work hours are necessary in order to meet demand.
Gradual retirement: An employer needs to view the viability of this arrangement as to how effective is the older employee. Good from the employeeâ€™s viewpoint.
Telepresence or Video-conferencing: Companies like Accenture follow this arrangement as this helps them to keep track of their employees.
Flextime: Ensures team work within the organization in case the productivity does not get affected.
Flexplace or Telecommuting: Reduces the cost of operation on the employer front whereas the reduced cost of transportation on the employee front.
In any kind of arrangement, these vital issues should be looked at before opting for any flexible work arrangement—
Â· Employer and employee should agree formally on a pre-set terms and conditions with standardized norms so that it is beneficial to both. The employer can expect the productivity not to suffer with some guaranteed results, whereas the employee can be secure of his job.
Â· Further, the need arises for supportive organizational culture where both employerâ€™s and employeeâ€™s opinions are heard.
Â· The extra manpower that an employer has to keep in order to check upon the work hours contributed by an employee, i.e, administrative staff or it becomes the employerâ€™s headache above all.
Â· The point of reasoning in the organization would be:how to arrange for the meetings when different employees have different working hours.
Â· Whether this kind of arrangement is encouraging employee retention or not.
On the whole, it can be concluded that the flexible work hours involve less cost factor (cost of transportation, cost of office furniture etc.), reduced time-lag on the employer front whereas effective work-life balance for the employee. But, an employer must always evaluate this kind of arrangement on grounds of organizational goals being achieved, the communication between him and an employee, safety and reliability of operation (because an employee works from home system in case of telecommuting, where there are chances of vital information being leaked).