This article throws light upon the three main alternatives to traditional work schedules. The alternatives are: 1. The Compressed Work Week 2. Flexible Work Schedules 3. Job Sharing.
Alternative # 1. The Compressed Work Week:
The compressed work week is a work schedule in which the employee works 40 hours in fewer than five days. The typical arrangement is for work schedules to be staggered, with the organisation remaining in operation five full days a week.
The rationale for the compressed work week is to allow the employee an extra day off (for doing personal work, including business, leisure time at home, and so on) with the expectation that absenteeism and tardiness will drop.
However, this arrangement creates two problems. Firstly, fatigue at the end of the workday tends to increase. Secondly, managers have difficulty interacting with other organisations maintaining a traditional schedule.
Alternative # 2. Flexible Work Schedules:
Compared to compressed work weeks that require employees to be at work during specified hours, a flexible work schedule (a flexi-time) provides employees with more flexibility with regard to which hours they work. As a general rule, organisations that use flexi-time divide the workday into two components: core time, when everyone must be present, and flexible time, when employees choose their own hours.
The most important advantage to be served for this arrangement is that flexi-time gives employees the opportunity to balance their work life and their personal life. Studies called out so far have indicated that flexi-time often results in lower absenteeism and turnover and improved performance.
However, this method has one disadvantage also. More controls may be needed to monitor employee hours and operating expenses may increase owing to increased hours of operation.
Alternative # 3. Job Sharing:
Job sharing means that two (or possibly more) people literally share one job. An example of this arrangement might involve one person working from 8.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and the other working from 12.30 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. However, if the job is complex, the two employees may need to spend some time communicating and coordinating their activities.
Individuals often prefer job sharing when they want more leisure time or more time with their families. Or a husband and wife might like this arrangement to be able to look after the growing children and elderly person(s) in the family.
The organisation, in its turn, is able to draw on a broader spectrum of talent and maybe less dependent on single individual. If, for instance, a person suddenly falls sick, the organisation loses only a half day than a full day. One disadvantage is the need to maintain more personal files and conduct more performance appraisals.
Job sharing is a relatively new technique. So reliable and up-to-date estimates of how many people are currently involved are not available. However, it appears to be a potentially valuable as an alternative work schedule.