Flextime is a scheduling arrangement that permits variations in an employee’s starting and departure times, but does not change the total number of hours worked in a week. Flextime may be applied to full-time and part-time positions.
Flextime Options Available at Columbia University:
- Fixed starting and departure times, which the staff member and manager select periodically. Agreed-upon starting and departure times that continue for a specified period of time, with the same number of hours worked each day.
- Starting and departure times that can vary daily. With a personalized work schedule, a staff member may arrive at work and leave at a different time each day, provided that the same number of hours are worked each day.
- Variations in the length of the workday (e.g. a seven-hour day followed by a ten-hour day). This allows staff to work different hours each day, as long as the required number of hours in a standard work week is met.
- Compressed work schedules: Compressed work schedules provide employees with the opportunity to complete a full-time work week in fewer than five days (i.e. Four 8.75 hour days vs. Five 7 hour days). Compressed work schedules are helpful to staff facing the pressure of work and personal demands; this schedule also benefits the environment by reducing commuting time and costs. Compressed work schedules permit staff to meet external demands, such as attending school, volunteering, or caring for family, without reducing their work load.
- Customized work schedules: Unique business or personal situations may require managers to work individually with employees to establish a special schedule for a specific time period. For example, a manager may customize the start or stop time for an employee to match public transportation time tables.
- Part-time work: Many employees see part-time employment as a way to balance work and family demands. The University offers regular part-time employment for this purpose.
Staff may request a flextime arrangement, or managers may restructure work schedules to create flextime opportunities. As with all formal flexible work arrangements (FWAs), flextime schedules must be approved in advance by the department.
The University advises staff that not all tasks are appropriate for flextime. Departments will determine whether to allow a staff member to participate in flextime on a case by case basis in accordance with the needs, requirements, and constraints of both the department and the staff member.
Departments must consider the following questions to determine if flextime is a viable work option:
- How will flextime affect the unit's other work functions?
- Can the manager measure results and productivity effectively without frequent and regular supervision?
- Can the department provide accountability and clear performance expectations?
- Can the department maintain its present level of customer service without undue hardship on customers, where "customers" may be internal or external to the department?
- Can the department establish "core hours" for managing peak periods, coordinating work among staff, scheduling meetings, office events, etc.?
- Can the department apply technology (computers, FAX, voice mail, etc.) to help facilitate successful outcomes?
- How will the manager communicate assignments to the staff member?
- How will this flextime arrangement affect cross-training initiatives, team-based approaches and other such strategies?
Departments should also consider the staff attributes when evaluating flextime as an option. Certain attributes will help ensure a successful flextime arrangement. To be approved for flextime, the staff member should have excellent time management skills and a demonstrated history of satisfactory, independent work performance.