Alternative work schedules is a topic in human resources that is getting increased attention and consideration because of the potential benefits it offers some firms. The increased flexibility is seen by many employees as a tremendous perk, and often leads to increased job satisfaction, which in turn often leads to greater contribution, productivity, and quality of work. Below you will find examples, benefits, and considerations of some of the more popular models.

Compressed Work Week
What it is – Employees work their required weekly hours, but in fewer days (such as four 10-hour days).

Why you should consider it – The potential energy savings is a big incentive to consider this model, not to mention many employees will enjoy having three days off per week. With the additional day off, stress levels are reduced which in turn may lead to greater productivity.

Why it might not work – Though many employees would have no trouble adjusting to these hours, for others, it could spell trouble in the way of childcare or transportation. Also, for client-based industries, it may be problematic if your firm is unavailable during a day or two during the normal workweek.

Results Oriented Work Environment (ROWE)
What it is – Employees are paid based on the results they deliver instead of hours worked. ROWE generally permits employees to make up their own hours with little or no mandatory time at the office.

Why you should consider it – Results are ultimately what you are paying your employees for anyways, right? For work that requires a great deal of mental horsepower, the flexibility offers employees the ability to work when they are most productive, which may not be during standard business hours.

Why it might not work – ROWE requires clear goals, expectations, and communication between management and the employees. Meetings and collaboration may be difficult or impossible. This scheduling model is not appropriate for many industries. ROWE may cause difficulties with healthcare or similar benefits that require a minimum workweek or job classification.

What it is – Flex-schedules maintain an existing workweek but with some flexibility with beginning and end times. For example, employees may work an eight hour day between the hours of 9-5, 8-4, or 10-6.

Why you should consider it – Flex-schedules make it easy and convenient for employees to adjust to challenges in their daily lives that involve things like doctor visits or childcare. They are great for employee morale and reduce absenteeism.

Why it might not work – The longer window of working times can be strenuous on management. The extra hours also cause an increase in energy bills.