What are Flexible Work Arrangements?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2019
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Flexible work arrangements are various types of work situations that are outside the scope of the traditional work setting and structure. Arrangements of this type are often employed as a means of reducing operating costs, or as concessions to valuable employees who are not in a position to work in a more traditional environment. There are several different approaches to flexible work arrangements today, including options that rely heavily on technology to make them possible.

One of the oldest examples of flexible work arrangements is known as flextime. Short for flexible time, this approach calls for scheduling work time based on need and circumstance, rather than sticking to a set schedule from week to week. For example, the employee may work afternoons and early evenings for a couple of days, then switch to working mornings and early afternoons for a day, off a couple of days, then go in at noon the following day. Generally, employees who work with a flextime schedule are considered full-time employees, and have all the benefits afforded to employees who work a set schedule each week.


Job sharing is another approach to flexible work arrangements. This concept can be used in conjunction with flextime, or as a stand-alone approach. The job sharing idea calls for two or more employees to share the same position, coordinating their efforts so that all necessary tasks are complete. A situation of this type may call for one employee to work mornings, while the second employee works afternoons, with the combined hours worked equaling a full workday. Students or other individuals who want part-time work only often find this approach an ideal fit.

Compressed work weeks are also a common example of flexible work arrangements. This method calls for working more hours each day, but fewer days each week. A common approach in the healthcare field, many nurses enjoy compressed schedules that allow them to work longer shifts three days each week, then have the remainder of the week free.

Telecommuting is another form of flexible work arrangements that has become very popular in recent years. Thanks to Internet technology, it is possible to establish a fully functional workstation away from the employer’s site. Employees have the benefit of not having to endure traffic to get to and from work, while still enjoying the benefits of employment with the firm. Employers can use this model to create a virtual office environment, eliminating the need and expense of a central administrative facility.

Reduced-time and part-time arrangements are also options with flexible work schedules. This approach can be employed as an overlay with telecommuting, job sharing, and other methods with relative ease. Part-time and reduced-time arrangements can also be utilized on a temporary basis, allowing employees additional time to deal with some type of personal emergency or crisis while still retaining their employment. Once the issue is resolved, the employee can return to his or her usual schedule.



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