Work takes up most of your day. Precisely for this reason, it is important to make the right choices and think carefully before signing a contract. Better a fixed timetable, with a rigid schedule and always the same, or a flexible timetable, to be able to manage your time as you prefer? The answer is up to you.
These types of hours are created to meet different needs, both of companies and workers. If you want to know what are the reasons for choosing one or the other, we are here to help you.
We have brought together the features and 4 advantages of both options in this article. Then you will surely know how to make the right decision for you!
Differences between fixed and flexible hours
Let’s start with what the law defines as working hours. We are talking about 40 hours per week, to which overtime hours can be added, but without ever exceeding 48 hours in total.
The difference between fixed and flexible hours is essentially in the management of working hours during the week. However, particular characteristics distinguish the two modes.
The fixed time is the most classic of the options in an employment contract. It consists of having a well-established start and ends time, usually interspersed with the lunch break. All this is agreed upon at the time of signing the contract and usually proposed by the company according to the needs of the role you have to fill.
If you are hired for an office job, for example, you will likely be asked to be present from 9 am to 6 pm, taking into account the lunch break, because these are the times you usually look for the support of the staff in the office, both from colleagues and from customers. Similarly, if you start working as a worker in a factory, you may be offered to work shifts, defining a fixed shift or a periodic change of hours.
flexible hours, on the other hand, allows the worker to organize their work differently, while still having to abide by the rules. This flexibility is the possibility of varying the distribution of the hours required on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, but we always speak of 8 average hours per day for each worker.
For example, instead of a fixed time, you can have at your disposal a time slot for entry to work, which will determine, consequently, the exit time. Or you can agree to skip the lunch break and end an hour earlier (concentrated time). Whatever modality you choose, it is necessary to make arrangements with the employer and comply with the rules provided by the CCNL for your specific sector. In short, flexible work is not synonymous with work without rules, but with flexible work, which tends to adapt to people’s lives as well as to the needs of the role covered.
The 4 advantages of a fixed timetable
Once it was normal, today it is sometimes seen as a limitation for the modern organization of private activities. Not in all cases, however, a fixed timetable is a condemnation, indeed: on many occasions, it is a certainty that should not be underestimated, even today.
We have summarized the positive aspects of a fixed working schedule in 4 points:
1. Certainty of work commitment
If by the contract you are required to enter at a certain time, you will always know with certainty what time you can go out and dedicate yourself to your personal life. The rigidity of the bond has a double face: the one that takes you 8 hours to work, but also the one that gives you the right (with the same rigidity) to switch off at a well-defined time.
2. Avoid extensions
Another advantage of having a fixed schedule is your availability in the eyes of customers or collaborators. If you enter the office every day at 8.30, stop for a break from 12.30 to 14, everyone will know that they will not find you at your desk if they look for you after 6 pm. A significant advantage, which allows you to reduce annoying extensions work.
3. Coordination with colleagues
Having a fixed and common schedule between employees allows you to better organize the working hours available. No out-of-hours meetings, no last-minute rush to resolve that unexpected event that punctually arrives while you are not at work. Often knowing exactly the time you make yourself available is essential to reduce any possibility of trespassing in your free time.
4. a Linear organization of your private life
As with work, you too can manage your personal commitments with ease knowing the exact entry and exit times. This allows you to make recurring weekly commitments, to have a clear and shareable roadmap, to better coordinate with other members of your family for every aspect of daily life.
The 4 advantages of flexible hours
Now that we have defined the advantages of fixed hours, let’s review the reasons why you might prefer flexible hours.
Also for this typology, we have identified 4 main advantages:
1. Incentive to focus on work
Granting flexible hours has a strong psychological influence on performance at work. If you can show up without having to worry about the clock, when you arrive you will feel more prepared to face the many commitments of the day. Studies have highlighted a higher performance of the worker when made free to decide the starting time of the working day.
2. Flexible family organization
One of the most important advantages is strictly practical. Especially for workers with small children, it is a blessing to be able to take morning delays, early departures, or the unexpected with serenity. Thanks to the flexible working hours it is possible to fit work and private life in the best way, with the consent of the employer.
3. Targeted breaks
You may have needed to unplug but you look at the timetable and there is still an hour left for the lunch break. This is not a problem if you have flexible working hours. With this mode, you are the only one who decides – based on your needs and work schedule – when to stop and take a break. So you can listen to your body a little more, beyond what the clock strikes.
4. Adjustment of schedules according to external factors
Many underestimate this aspect, but sometimes it would be enough to be able to enter 10 minutes later at work to avoid long queues in the middle of traffic and other recurring problems. If you can decide for yourself when to start working, you can in fact benefit from the possibility of freeing yourself from wasting time and unnecessary stress.