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Flexible working hours versus Fixed working hours : Which one should you choose?

The 21st century lifestyle constantly faces choice overload. Card or cash? Online or offline? And the question that both employees and employers face – Flexible or fixed working hours? While some employees are tied to their desks from 9 to 5, some employees are provided a more flexible work timing. Flexible work timings may allow various ranging from work from home to working remotely from any location while the former requires you to be physically present in the office space. Flexible work timings sound like the ideal choice, but they may also come with their own disadvantages and advantages which affect both employees and employers. Advantages:

# Work life balance
Flexible work timings allow ample time for employees to pursue other hobbies, higher education etc. When managed well, flexible work timings allow more control over events and in turn reduce stress. They let employees invest time in work as well as leisure.

# Increased productivity
With flexible work timings, you can arrange your schedule in a way to maximize productivity. Everyone has some hours during the day where they are the most productive which can be leveraged during flexible work timings.

# Flexibility for the business
While flexible working hours are beneficial for the employees, they are also advantageous for the business as it adds flexibility for them as well. Businesses get extended coverage beyond traditional working hours without the cost of overtime. Disadvantages:

# Minimal team interaction
Employees with flexible work timings may not have the same work timings as their colleagues making it difficult to interact with them. This can affect their interpersonal relationship with their team and make it challenging to form a rapport with them.

# Lack of focus
While some find it convenient to work in a schedule with flexible work timings, some find it challenging concentrate. These work timings allow a lot of distractions which can reduce focus and lead to poor time management.

# Challenges in employee assessment
Overseeing employee performance can be a task with such working schedules. Supervisors and team leaders might find it difficult to keep a track of the employees’ performance and might not be able to assess the employee easily. On the other hand, fixed work timings also come with their own set of pros and cons. Advantages:

# Better team coordination
Employees working within a fixed work schedule can coordinate well with their colleagues and team leads. Sharing a common work space and work timings helps them stay in touch with each other and establish a healthy working relationship.

# Systematic functioning
Fixed work timings allow for systematic functioning of workplace events such as meetings, team initiatives, trainings etc. With everyone present at the workplace at the same time, these activities can be arranged with ease.

# Proper supervision and engagement
With employees working at the same time and in the same workplace, it is easier for managers to supervise as well as keep them engaged. This also helps them keep the employees motivated and focused in the work they’ve been assigned. Disadvantages

# Rigid work schedule
Fixed working hours are rigid and do not provide the much-needed personal time to pursue interest apart from work. Many a times, fixed working hours take up majority of the time of the employee leaving them with minimal time for personal growth and needs.

# Increased stress
With a fixed working schedule, one is always time bound and expected to be productive throughout the time spent in the workplace. This might not be possible for everyone and can thus lead to stress at the workplace. Another common cause of stress can also be the lack of work life balance in a fixed working schedule.

# Absenteeism and tardiness
During fixed working hours, the chances of absenteeism and tardiness are immense. Falling sick, bad weather, heavy traffic etc. can often lead to reaching office late or taking the day off to work from home. This is a hindrance to the company as well as to the employee’s overall performance. All in all, flexible and fixed working hours have their own pros and cons. While the former is more for those employees who are more productive in their chosen environment and at certain times of the day, the latter is for those who need structure to work. Thus, what you choose between the two solely depends on your working style and what you find will work better for your motivation and productivity.