Flexible or fixed working hours – what do you prefer most?
- August 8, 2019
- by Jakub Szyszka
- No comments
I’m sure that if you’re reading this, chances are that this happens during a workday – someday between Monday and Friday, commonly called – the workweek. Whereas the typical 9 to 5 stereotype is already ingrained in our lives as well as pop-culture, more and more companies decide to implement a flexible work schedule rather than the old fashioned, 8-hour fixed work schedule. Many people wonder about which model might suit them the most, so let’s dive in and examine the differences and cases where you should strongly consider the one or the other.
Table of Contents
Shortcuts (in case you’re in a hurry):
- The basics of a fixed work schedule
- How flexible schedule changed the way we work
- The pro’s and cons of a fixed work schedule
- The pro’s and cons of a flexible working schedule
Reasons Why Flexible Working Hours Make Employees More Productive
Why You Should Encourage Employees Flexible Work Schedule
Working Overtime Is Never A Good Idea
The basics of a fixed work schedule
This one to many of you might seem like a classic one. You get up, you do your workout (if you’re striving for some sort of fitness – I know, it’s hard) eat breakfast, grab a cup of coffee, shower, dress and then…. the long and dreaded commute to work. Once you arrive, you start working, grab lunch, attend a few meetings aaaaaaand you’re done by 5 pm. Get up from your office chair, say ‘bye’ to your coworkers, punch out and you’re done for the day. Easy. Simple, and … quite old fashioned and sometimes not the most effective. So, is there another way to manage your working hours? Let’s dive in!
👉 Read our article on how many hours you should work a day.
How flexible working hours changed the way we work
If you haven’t ever worked in a tech company, law or consulting firm, you might not be familiar with flexible working, but it’s not rocket science – you start work at any preferred time, and also, you end work once you see it fit. Oh, and sometimes you don’t even have to show up in the office. Fun stuff, huh? Do you recall these famous TV styled shots of a person writing a blog article or a piece of code while sitting in a stylish coffee shop somewhere in New York or Los Angeles? Yes, while it may be a bit exaggerated and seem like a bit of cliche, this could be you!
Okay, but which one is better? Is there a clear favorite? Before we jump to conclusions, regardless of the type of work schedule, it is quite a crucial thing to understand how we allocate our time during work. If you manage a team and you’d like to end the nightmare of manually filling out timesheets, read more about TimeCamp and stop struggling 🙂
The pro’s and cons of a fixed work schedule
Pros: Well, that’s an obvious one – you know what to expect
In terms of your daily routine, and for those who need to have a stable daily schedule – it’s a great fit. If you need to pick up your kids from daycare or kindergarten, having a job that allows you to have a stable and recurring arrival/departure time is very convenient for parents and those who also engage in other after-office activities.
Cons: The first one is best described by a quote from 1995s action classic “Heat”:
“[…] There’s a flip side to that coin […]”
As famously spoken by the villain played by Robert DeNiro – if you want to enjoy the stability of leaving the office every day by let’s say – 5 pm, you also need to be ready to show up for work each day on a set time. For those of you with a super optimized morning routine – that might not be a problem. However, if you hate the morning commute to work and don’t enjoy the delays that come with it the downside is obvious. If you show up late at work, you either will have to stay late or come in earlier another day to make up for the lost time.
The pro’s and cons of a flexible working schedule
Pros: You decide when you want to start work.
That sure sounds like a no brainer, but there’s more to that. Flexible working hours are becoming more and more popular, especially in the tech industry, where the casualness of the office space and lack of any serious etiquette favors the laid back idea behind flexible work schedules. This, combined with the rising openness to remote work speaks volumes to software engineers and any other skilled professionals that consider themselves as a night owl or simply they just have an irregular work schedule preference. Some of them might back that up with their peak performance curve assigned to a different productivity peak throughout the day that does not match the typical 9 to 5 working hours.
👉 Read also about flextime.
Cons: Lack of predictability.
One might argue that no workplace is secured from any sort of unpredictability, but if you chose to work in a flexible schedule, you’re in for a bit of irregularity when it comes to getting back from work. Project emergencies (e.g unfinished features that need to be presented, too many hours spent during a sprint), last-minute call reschedules and urgent team meetings – that might offset your arrival time by even a couple of hours, so you might want to avoid any serious schedule commitments. And of course, if you have the lifestyle and that can handle this, then great – you can fully experience the upsides coming from not having to conform to the 9 to 5 work mode. The other downside is that, with this mode, it’s really difficult to have a typical cutoff point for when you should stop working. Traditionally, you would just leave the office and be done for the day, but with the rise of mobile workspace communicators, work-life separation became a thing of the past.
Read more about how working long hours affects your health.
Although flexible working schedules are becoming more and more popular, some businesses will always rely on fixed workdays. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to experience a bus driver, mailman or baker ending their shift a bit earlier to your inconvenience. Moving some specific industries aside, either when building a company or just finding a new job opportunity – you should consider the pros and cons attached with each option to make sure that the work environment you choose will support your growth rather than have it hindered.
That’s all for today, be sure to check in regularly for more updates and stories. Oh, and if you have any thoughts or feedback that you’d like to share – let us know in the comments section. Take care!