Innovative change is transforming many aspects of modern life – from the way we communicate, to the way we shop and now, in the way we work. Traditional 9 to 5 working hours are being adapted to suit today’s workforce and forward-thinking employers are making more use of flexible working practices.

Why we’re seeking new ways of working

Drivers for new ways of working include changing workforce demographics, costs and efficiency, new enabling technologies and demands for work-life balance. For some, sustainability is a factor too when 25 million commuters go to a fixed place of work every day and of these 18 million go by car, all during a few hours in the morning and evening rush hours.

Many organisations are taking advantage of new ways of ‘agile working.’ When BT rolled out its new flexible working practices it found that absenteeism reduced by 63%. PriceWaterhouseCoopers made a property saving of approx £30m over 10 years due to new desk sharing practices.

There are lots of reasons why employees might seek to break out of the 9 to 5 working structure – some of those reasons and the new ways of working include:

  • Flexible hours – parents and those with other caring responsibilities need to be at home at key times and will sometimes want to start late and finish early e.g. flexitime or ‘core hours’.
  • Part-time hours – part time working is on the increase – 2017 figures show that those working part-time worked, on average, 16.3 hours per week, with the number of part-time workers having increased compared to same time a year ago (ONS).
  • Remote or mobile working – as today’s typical UK commuter spends an average of 8.1 hrs per week travelling to and from work it’s no surprise that regular working from home is welcomed by employees.
  • Staggered retirement – baby boomers nearing retirement don’t want to end work suddenly but, for social, health and financial reasons, often prefer to stagger their departure which can mean a period of tapered part-time working.

For businesses, new ways of working bring numerous advantages. Giving staff the flexibility in the hours they want, or need, which means happier workers leading to better employee wellbeing. It’s good for recruitment too as people seek a better work-life balance generally.

However, variation in working patterns brings financial and logistical challenges too. Employers must contend with the consequences of having their staff on a variety of working hours.

Some of the challenges for employers of new ways of working include:

  • Accurate forecasting of the payroll budget and paying the correct amount to employees.
  • Keeping up with hours worked by employees – important when you have to keep within Working Time Regulation limits.
  • Ensuring the right number and type of staff are on duty to get the job or project completed.
  • Making sure correctly-certified staff are present when necessary – this can be a legal requirement in some sectors e.g. construction.

The increased administration, the risk of understaffing and threats to productivity mean that it’s important that businesses have good rota and scheduling systems.

To maximise the advantages of a flexible workforce, employers need to plan ahead to create and manage variable working hours patterns.

An automated Workforce Management System can help businesses to easily keep track of the different hours and patterns of work completed by their employees. Keep on top of planning rotas and schedules with Chronologic’s ability to apply work schedules, ensure employee skills allocations and show workforce availability.

For more information about our solutions and products call 01761 410015 or email