Flexible Schedule Policy vs. Core Business Hours

flexible work schedule policy

Wishing I was this flexible

I have a lot of things I’m proud of accomplishing at work, but it’s the sum of them and the trust that my leaders and staff place in me that have the most impact on me. Below you’ll learn about one recent example of how I was able to stand up for our staff and keep a misguided manager from implementing a decision that would have had a negative impact on the culture and employees. It’s the little things like this every day that make me glad that I’m in HR.

Recently we had a discussion about moving from our current flexible schedule policy to a core business hours work arrangement. Some of our management team looked at the decision as a way to force everyone to be in the office at least part of the day in order to make sure everyone is staying on task and accomplishing their work. (Click here for the tools I use for work/life flexibility.)

However, I was more than a little bit perturbed by the idea.

See, I have this funny, old-fashioned notion that managers are there to… well, manage. And just throwing out a new policy isn’t going to change the need to manage people.

After a little digging, I was able to determine that one of the managers had a few staff who would make full use of the flexible schedule policy and come in at odd hours at times to complete projects. Supposedly there was no way to know if those individuals were actually completing their work or working their full set of hours. Therefore, they were looking to institute a core business hours policy to combat those work habits of only a few people.

The Big No-No

One of the biggest rules I have is this: don’t make policies for outliers. If you do, you’ll be making policies all day long. There’s always someone who will fall outside the “norm,” and you can’t make rules for every single possible situation.

Instead, managers need to address those few people who might be taking advantage of the policy with a short discussion on expectations.

  • It’s much easier to point to HR and say, “Hey, make a policy and I’ll make my people follow it.”
  • It’s more difficult to say, “Here’s our policy, and I think you’re taking advantage of the freedoms we are providing. Here’s what I expect you to do to fix that…”

It’s not about when or where you work, but what you get accomplished. I’ve even gone so far as to say work naked if that’s what it takes. [Disclaimer: if you come to work naked I will not be held responsible for the psychological damage to your coworkers.]

Anyone out there have a core hours policy? I’d be curious to know what your people think of it. We don’t have customers coming into the office often, so it isn’t like a call center or a retail location where people have to be there for face to face interaction.

3 thoughts on “Flexible Schedule Policy vs. Core Business Hours

  1. melissa

    Hi Ben, I’m not much of a fan of “core hours.” In my experience it’s used to constrict flexibility rather than endorse it. One company I know has core hours that are 8:30 – 4:00. So if you have anything to do outside of those “core hours” you have to get approval to come in past 8:30 or leave before 4:00. A little strict if you ask me.

    1. Ben Post author

      @Melissa Agreed. It’s just demeaning for staff to be forced to be there if there isn’t some sort of customer requirement.

  2. Robin Schooling

    We have core hours as part of our Flexible Work Schedule Policy and have for the 10 years or so since the policy (I prefer “work arrangement”) has been in place. It works well for us as we are pretty lean but also have an incredible number of public-facing positions.

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