With a flexible schedule allowing employees to work hours that differ from the conventional company start and stop time, Nicol Myburgh, Head of the HR Business Unit at CRS Technologies, says this approach has had a significant positive impact in the South African market.
“More organisations are adopting flexi-hours as they derive better performance from their employees. For example, flexi-hours are usually coupled with strict daily targets that need to be achieved. If these are not met, flexi-hours are removed,” he says.
Myburgh believes that apart from those who work in the service industry, office hours should not be regulated as flexi-hours contribute to staff happiness. “Not only do staff spend less time in traffic as they can commute when the traffic is lighter, but they also spend less time away from home. Consequently, staff are not as tired and do not burn out easily.”
“Of course, flexi-hours are not a legal requirement. This means that if the system is abused, companies can take away the benefit. Employees therefore need to be responsible and held accountable if such a policy is implemented at the organisation,” he says.
Despite concerns around the implementation of flexi-hours on payroll, Myburgh says the technology already exists to accommodate such a system. For example, a time and attendance system feeds the relevant data into the appropriate database. The hours are logged and the relevant pay calculations made automatically and accurately. This applies even if everyone is working different hours.
From a practical perspective companies still need to ensure there is someone at the office during its core operating hours (usually between 09:00 and 15:00 or from 10:00 to 14:00). Of course, this depends on whether the staff are responsible and do not abuse the system.
“Similarly, if employees do not take advantage of the flexi-time and deliver on their job requirements, the company may consider doing away with core hours altogether eventually. It must be remembered that as long as flexi-hours improve productivity, the system should be embraced.”
According to Myburgh, it really comes down to ensuring there are strict targets in place that must be achieved.
“With the labour law providing for the maximum number of working hours, there should be no impact on implementing flexi-hours. Of course, these flexi-hours must not exceed this maximum amount. There is so much potential for embracing this effectively at an organisation. The benefits to productivity and efficiency cannot be ignored and can be used as additional motivation for employees to complete their work on time and on spec,” he concludes.