Discovering People

Alternative Work Schedules. Something to think about!

Alternative work schedules are becoming a stronger focus of employers and employees, especially with the Olympics upon us. Often employers and employees use alternative work schedules for bargaining power and negotiation in placement offers.

Most people work an eight-hour day, five days per week. They start at a fixed time and leave at a fixed time. But a number of organisations have introduced alternative work schedule options, such as the compressed work week, flexitime and job sharing, as a way to improve employee motivation and to use human resources better.

The most popular form of compressed workweek is four 10-hour days. The 4-40 program was conceived to allow more leisure time, more time for shopping and to permit employees to travel to and from work at non rush times. Management dictates the hours of the compressed workweek.

However flexitime, another work schedule option, allows employees, within specific hours, to decide when to work. Employees have to work a specific number of hours a week, but they are free to vary the hours of work within certain limits.


Flexible Hours

Common Core


Common Core

Flexible Hours

6am                     9am                       12noon      1pm                        3pm                     6pm

Each day consists of a common core, usually six hours, with a flexible band surrounding the core.

Another option is job sharing. It allows two or more employees to split a traditional 40-hour-a-week job. From a management standpoint, job sharing allows the organisation to draw upon the talents of more than one employee in a given job.

The most flexible work schedule of all is telecommuting. This allows employees to work from home on a computer that is linked to their office. This work schedule is becoming increasingly popular and is often done on a rotating basis.

Supporters suggest that such programs can increase employee enthusiasm, morale and commitment to the organisation; increase productivity and reduce costs; reduce machine down time; reduce overtime, turnover and absenteeism, and make it easier for the organisation to recruit employees. Other benefits include increased productivity, less hostility toward management, reduced traffic congestion around work sites, less lateness to work and increased autonomy and responsibility for employees, which may increase employee job satisfaction.

Why not consider alternative work schedules for your staff to keep them dedicated to your company and to alleviate difficulties, especially around the Olympic period?

Written by Corrine McDonald B.Sc  Assistant Manager.

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Source: Shortlist newsletter - issue 42, July 27, 2000.