Flexible hours make workforce happy

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New report indicates that both companies and employees benefit from more flexible working hours. Bigger smiles, lower absenteeism and less paid overtime figure among the spin-offs.

A fresh study from the “European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions” convincingly argues the case for more flexible working hours.

The study, “Working time and worklife balance in European companies” published on 17 May 2006, indicate that both establishments and employees can benefit. Thus, 61% of the surveyed persons reported “a higher degree of job satisfaction’ among the establishment’s employee. 54% reported that flexible arrangements have contributed to a “better adaptation of working hours to the workload”. Lower levels of absenteeism and a reduction in paid overtime are also reported.

Flexible arrangements exist in 48% of establishments with 10 or more employees in EU. However, there’s is a wide variety of such schemes:

  • 16% of the establishments surveyed operate schemes that allow workers to vary only their starting and finishing times on the same day. 
  • 7% allow the accumulation of credit or debit hours
  • 12% offer at least some of their workers the opportunity to take full days off in compensation for accumulated credit hours. 
  • 13% offer the workers to compensate for credit hours by taking longer periods off work.

“Meeting the targets of the Lisbon agenda demands a clear understanding of the dynamics of the modern workplace and the societal factors that are impacting the way we work. The results of this unique survey demonstrate the benefits of flexible working time arrangements, benefits that can help attract more people into employment and retain them,” said Jorma Karppinen, the Foundation’s Director.

The highest proportion of companies and organisations offering flexible working time arrangements in Europe is to be found in Latvia, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom.

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