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Flextime is a scheduling option in which employees choose their own work hours, usually working within approximate limits set by the employer or by the government. There are a number of advantages to flextime, a concept which originated in Germany, and many employers all over the world offer this option to their employees. Employees who work in facilities where flextime is not provided may want to consider discussing the idea with their supervisors and employers to see if an arrangement can be reached which will satisfy the needs of everyone.
For employees, there is a clear advantage to flextime, because it allows them to make changes to their work schedule which will accommodate their lives. For example, people can use flextime to create schedules which will allow them to go to school, handle childcare, assist relatives, and perform other tasks. Employees may also opt to use their flextime to create a schedule which optimizes creativity, as in the case of someone who would prefer to work earlier in the day to get more accomplished.
Employers benefit from this type of scheduling because it tends to increase employee satisfaction and retention, making the company a better and more productive place to work. In addition, flextime can allow companies to serve clients for a greater portion of the day, as employees will be around at varying hours to answer phones, attend meetings, and so forth. A company which offers flextime might be able to answer phones from six in the morning until nine in the evening, for example, with the same number of employees as a company which only has the phones staffed from nine in the morning until five in the evening.
Most flextime schedules include core time, a period of the day in which everyone is expected to be at work, although core time can be scheduled in shifts, as in the case of a company which would like to increase efficiency by allowing employees to share spaces such as desks. Employees are also usually given a daily or weekly hourly limit to ensure that they do not violate laws which pertain to working hours, or because the company is only willing to pay wages for so many hours of work each week.
A classic example of a flexible time schedule is one in which someone works four 10 hours shifts a week, taking three days off. Flextime can also be combined with flexplace, in which people work in environments beyond that of the office. Home offices are increasingly common and popular among many people in the corporate world, and employers may also allow people to work in nonconventional settings such as coffeehouses as long as they demonstrate productivity.