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5 Types and Examples of Flexible Work Arrangements

Discover 5 innovative flexible work arrangements, along with examples of companies that use them, to revolutionize the way your employees work.

ActivTrak

By ActivTrak

blocks with ‘4-day work week’ written, which is an example of flexible work arrangements.

Flexible work arrangements are increasingly popular in today's workforce. People love control over their work schedules and locations — and want more of it.

In this article, we’ll examine why flexible work is so popular and provide several real-world examples of arrangements to inspire you.

What are flexible work arrangements?

Flexible work arrangements are business policies that give employees a say in how, when and where they work. This overarching term refers to a wide range of options such as hybrid work schedules, compressed workweeks, job sharing and flextime. Organizations offer flexible working arrangements to help employees achieve work-life balance and improve productivity

The rise of flexible work arrangements

While the concept of flexible work isn’t new, advancements in technology fueled its growth in recent years. Roughly 80% of companies now offer some type of flexible work, and flex jobs attract seven times more applicants than traditional roles.

The reason? Flexible work arrangements yield positive results. Rather than being confined to a traditional office setting, people are free to choose the work locations and hours that work best for them. This flexibility empowers employees to create a work environment that suits their needs, ultimately leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity. 

Benefits of flexible work arrangements

Flexible work arrangements make it easier for employees to manage personal obligations such as child care. And because they can be present for important moments outside work, there are far fewer distractions on the job. This not only improves overall well-being but also strengthens commitment, resulting in:

  • Less stress
  • Lower risk of burnout
  • Higher productivity

Meanwhile, employers can reduce absenteeism and increase loyalty simply by offering people the freedom to work in ways that best suit them. Because flex jobs accommodate different needs and preferences, organizations also use them to attract a wider pool of talent. This results in:

  • Greater diversity and inclusion
  • Higher employee engagement
  • Lower turnover

5 common types of flexible working arrangements

While there are dozens of options for adopting flexible work policies, these five have emerged as some of the most successful.

1. Remote work

When people work from home or other remote locations, employers benefit in several ways. Employees are happier and more productive, the company can hire from a broader pool of applicants, real estate costs go down and retention goes up. Remote work is so prominent that it’s a central component of virtually every other type of flexible work arrangement being offered today.

Example: When LinkedIn updated its work policies in 2021, executives embraced remote roles. The business chose to reverse previous expectations that employees would report to the office 50% of the time, instead allowing the majority of its workforce to work remotely full-time.

2. Hybrid work

The hybrid work schedule refers to any policy that lets people work from home some days and report to the office on others. For some companies, that means employees split their time evenly between working remotely and working on-site. For others, team members trade off who reports to the office each day. And in the most flexible scenarios, organizations leave it up to each employee to decide where, when and how they work best.

Example: Amazon requires employees to report to an office three days a week, with the option to work from home the other two days. But at Salesforce, it’s up to each manager to decide how often team members are physically present. And at ActivTrak, people are given the option to work at an office, but aren’t required to report on specific days. In each of these hybrid work scenarios, a combination of in-person and remote work are offered to help boost engagement and productivity

3. The four-day workweek

With the four-day workweek model, also referred to as a compressed workweek, people work four days per week instead of the standard five. Some companies have people work four 10-hour days, while others cut back on meetings and distractions to ensure work can get done within 32 hours. Both arrangements offer extended weekends, allowing employees to pursue personal interests. Many four-day workweek experiments show lower burnout, better mental health, greater productivity and higher retention.

Example: When Buffer stopped requiring employees to work 40 hours, they found that stress levels, autonomy and happiness all improved significantly. At Kickstarter, employees raved on the company’s Slack channels about how the four-day workweek made their lives fuller and brighter. And at Basecamp, leadership continues a strict 32-hour workweek every summer since it first experienced the benefits back in 2008.

4. Flextime

Flextime empowers employees to choose their start and end times, as long as they complete the required number of work hours each week. This arrangement recognizes that different people have different peak productivity times, ensuring employees can work when they’re most efficient. It gives each person freedom to change work schedules from week to week based on personal obligations and individual work preferences.

Example: Employees at Dell have long been encouraged to set their own schedules, and to use online collaboration tools to keep in touch with team members. The tech company’s pioneering flex program was so “overwhelmingly” successful that it’s still going strong well over a decade later.

5. Results-only work 

In a results-only work environment, the number of hours employees work doesn’t matter. People aren’t required to report to an office, start their days by a set time or even let employers know when they travel. All the company measures is output. Team members are evaluated solely based on the outcomes they produce, rather than their physical presence or attendance at meetings. This arrangement provides employees with the freedom to complete tasks at their preferred times and locations.

Example: At Atlassian, executives have a name for the company’s results-only work environment: Team Anywhere. Employees can work remotely as frequently as they like, and are encouraged to do whatever it takes to achieve the kind of deep work that leads to better software coding and research. Zapier's work culture is similarly autonomous. Employees are accountable for results, and are given the freedom to decide how, where and when they work best.  

While these are some of the most widely adopted types of flexible work arrangements, they’re far from your only options. Other examples include:

  • Annualized hours: With this approach, the company pays people based on the total number of hours worked over the course of a year. Employees are at work when the business needs them, and off when it doesn’t. This arrangement is used in industries where demand fluctuates, and often combines compressed workweeks and flex time to help reduce overtime hours.
  • Job sharing: With job sharing, multiple coworkers divide one full-time position into part-time work. It’s usually intended for people who want to work limited hours and don’t need traditional benefits, and lets employers achieve the equivalent of a full-time job.
  • Voluntary reduced work time: In reduced work time arrangements, employees have the option to decrease their number of working hours while maintaining full-time employment status. This arrangement helps individuals balance their professional and personal lives more effectively.

Implement and manage flexible work arrangements with ActivTrak

Flexible work arrangements are a significant aspect of modern work culture — for good reason. They offer countless benefits for employees and employers alike, and make companies highly desirable for top job candidates.

Trying to decide which flexible work arrangement will work best at your company? That’s what our workforce management software is for. Thousands of companies rely on it to understand how, where and when their employees work best — and to create flexible work policies based on objective data.

Sign up for a free account and request a demo to see how ActivTrak can help answer your most complex flexible work questions.

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