Flexible work hours

Work hours have a significant effect on both companies and employees.

Work time and its length have always created a lot of passionate conversation. For companies, work time is a profitability-related lifeline. For employees, it creates the living conditions. An employee's work time dictates the rhythm of his or her whole life both at work and during free time.

Functional work time arrangements are flexible and take into account both personnel's and customers' needs.

Customers expect reliability from companies. Products must be delivered on time and changes due to the variation of the demand require quick reactions. Companies have a varying amount of job vacancies.

Labour markets are expected to be flexible, both with different ways to use work force and with work time arrangements. Work demand and supply must be made to meet effectively. Many people also hope for work that suits their life situation as well as possible in both contents and hours.

Employers are expected to have a plan and the ability to control the varying workload. If trade cycles and seasonal variation can be foreseen, it's useful to think of work time usage during a longer time period. A preliminary plan on the situation of annual leaves and potential work time compensation days may prove useful.

Theoretical annual work time is shortened by annual leaves and other absences. Completed work time usually ends up being only about 80% of theoretical work time on average. Moreover, this work time is unfortunately only partly productive: in other words, time spent on doing actual work. Raising the performance level and eliminating unnecessary disruptions and waiting time naturally leads to significant results in making work time being spent more effectively. Grounds for absences should also be analysed and clear goals for reducing unnecessary absences should be set.

Functional work time arrangements can have many criteria:

  • they meet customers' and personnel's needs
  • they are versatile and flexible: work is done when there is work
  • they are financially effective
  • personnel has contributed to creating work time goals, so they are well understood and accepted
  • they are followed without justified exceptions.

Work time systems can vary a lot for different parts of the organisation and different people. Employees may also move from one system to another within the same year. Detailed calculation of annual work time on employee level is therefore not possible. Annual work time is merely a mathematical quantity varying between systems that can be utilised in planning the work load.