Despite a national unemployment rate that hovers around 9.1 percent, millions and millions of Americans start and finish their days on the clock, the work clock that is.

With that being said, many of these workers operate under a standard 8-hour a day, 40-hour a week position. For some, however, they work under what is known as flex time, allowing them to have some flexibility with the hours they put in on a weekly basis.

More companies are providing the option of flex time, whereby a variety of employees are able to work the hours that best suit their schedules, especially those who are working moms, full or part-time students, taking care of a sick relative and so on.

While many employees have a set 9 to 5, 3 to 11, 11 to 7 schedule that they meet week in and week out, others must deal with rotating schedules, oftentimes leaving them in a battle to find child care, postpone and reschedule doctor appointments, arrange for transportation and more.

As we all know, a number of life events are hard to schedule outside of a typical work day. For employers, having flex time in place allows them to schedule work assignments around the availability of their employees, and permitting them to meet their required needs. Meantime, employees can select their work schedule ahead of time from the hours available, allowing them to schedule necessary appointments ahead of time.

Even though 2011 can still be clearly considered an employer’s market, more and more companies are seeing the advantages to being more flexible with their workers’ schedules, allowing individuals to work for them even in what some would consider non-traditional work hours.

There are a number of advantages to offering employees flex time, among which are:

  • More likely to find better and more excited workers
  • More likely to see a reduction in employee absenteeism and filling schedules where necessary
  • More likely to retain employees, thereby saving overhead costs on having to continuously train new workers
  • More likely to have loyalty among your workers, who in turn, will put in the extra time when necessary

For some employers, however, flex time is viewed as non-optional due to a number of reasons. They can include:

  • More likely to mess up production schedules
  • More likely to cause some friction between those employees who are offered flex time and those who are not (in cases where flex time is not a company-wide option)
  • More likely to be issues monitoring worker performance
  • More likely to be more time spent dealing with issues and relaying important company information when not all employees are on hand

The bottom line is employers and employees come to different expectations and ideas of what exactly flexible time should mean.

For many employers, they view any flexible time agreements as providing flexible time, while employees see it as having more say in their schedule.

When the two are able to meet at a common middle ground, it is oftentimes all the more better for both company and employee.

Dave Thomas is an expert writer on items like VoIP phone systems and is based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for Business.com an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.

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