Benefits of offering alternative work schedules to employees

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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

What are the benefits of offering alternative work schedules to your employees? We explore advantages such as a better work-life balance and workforce morale.

It may make sense for your business to take a different approach to daily working life.

To do this, you can introduce an alternative work schedule (AWS). In this guide, we’ll take you through how to implement this into your business.

What is an alternative work schedule?

The technique refers to a variety of schedule options in employment that can provide alternatives to the 40-hour working week.

This arrangement permits employees to work different hours outside of the traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday bracket.

With modern-day employees increasingly attracted to jobs offering the potential for a stronger work-life balance, there are many benefits associated with the practice of offering alternative work schedules to a workforce.

However, it’s not a legal requirement to do so and you must consider if such arrangements would be possible for your business.

The types of alternative work schedules

There are several of these. One of the most prevalent examples is the compressed schedule.

This is where an employee’s daily hours increase without changing the total number of their hours weekly, which usually results in an additional day off for the employee.

For example, an employee could work four 10-hour days in one week and will have worked their weekly hours in that timeframe.

Another popular alternative work schedule examples is flexible working.

After an employee works for a company for 26 weeks or more, they reserve the right to request to alter their usual hours. You’ll have to provide sound business reasons for a refusal.

Examples of flexible working include reducing hours, changing start and finish times or even permitting the employee to work from home.

Alternative shift work schedules can be a necessity in businesses with continuous operations, who maintain production or service provision at all times of the day and therefore will need their staff to be working outside of the 9 to 5 bracket.

If your business doesn’t have this requirement, it’s down to you if you choose to allow one or more of the varied types of alternative work schedules.

Alternative work schedules pros and cons

You should weigh these up before making this decision. For example, while a compressed schedule can provide employees with additional time off, the longer days could lead to higher levels of fatigue.

Likewise, flexible working can be very popular with employees raising young families.

But take care to ensure no member of staff receives preferential treatment.

Your alternative work schedule policy

If alternative working arrangements is an area that employers wish to explore, the first thing they should do is produce and maintain your policy.

This policy can outline the entitlements available to staff to change their hours alongside the procedure for making such a request. This should address all of the elements you need to consider. Such as:

  • Employee eligibility.
  • General requirements (such as documentation or training).
  • Extra requirements for your new schedule.
  • Extra requirements for flexible schedules.

You should also introduce an alternative work schedule request form. This will lay out:

  • Who the employee is.
  • Arrival and departure times.
  • Line manager’s recommendation.
  • Employee and line manager’s signatures.

And why use this policy? Arguably, by responding to the developing needs of a modern workforce, you can work to attract and retain staff and help to encourage the development, and success, of your company.

Need our help?

For advice on the best schedule for your business, get in touch with our 24/7 helpline: 0800 028 2420.


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