What is a Flexible Work Schedule?

Phil Borman / Getty Images

Flexible schedules allow employees to vary their arrival and departure times from work, or choose the days that they work. For example, an employee might be allowed to come in any time between 9 am and 11 am, and leave any time between 5 am and 7 pm. Or, they might be allowed to take off Friday if they agree to work Sunday.

Alternative to a Traditional Work Week

An alternative to the traditional 9 am to 5 pm, 40-hour traditional work week schedule, flexible work schedules are becoming more and more common in the workforce.

Flexible schedules are especially popular at start-ups and smaller companies, where employees are allowed to choose the dates and times they work as long as they get all of their work done.

A survey from YouGov.com reports that 69 percent of the Americans surveyed would prefer an earlier work schedule. 17 percent preferred an 8 am to 4 pm schedule, while 14 percent would like to work from 7 am - 3 pm. Almost 20 percent would prefer a later schedule. Twenty percent of millennials wouldn’t mind coming into work after 9 am and working into the evening. A later start time is slightly less popular among Gen X (19%) and those 55 and over (17%).

Benefits for Employees

Employees value flexible schedules as a way to balance work and non-work responsibilities. Flexible schedules are helpful for workers who are raising families, attending graduate school, commuting long distances, traveling, or balancing multiple jobs.

Benefits for Employers

Employers value flexible scheduling as a method for recruiting and retaining employees and for increasing job satisfaction and productivity. A flexible schedule also helps build trust between employees and their managers, as employees are often expected to manage their own schedules (with their employer's supervision) and take ownership of getting the job done even while on an irregular schedule.


When an employer provides the option for a flexible schedule, the schedule is approved by the employee’s supervised based upon the needs of the workplace and the employee’s request for flexibility.

Also Known As: flex time, flexible work schedule

Read More: What is a Part Time Job? | What is a Full Time Job? | How Much Do I Get Paid for Overtime? | Types of Work Schedules | How Many Hours a Week is Full Time Employment?