In order to attract and retain a qualified workforce, employers need to offer employees certain benefits. Benefits can come in many forms, ranging from paid time off and insurance plans for different scenarios to retirement plans (Nigro & Kellough, 2014). Yet while monetary benefits are certainly valuable, one could argue that the most important perk a public employer can offer is flexible work hours. The specific ways of introducing a flexible work program do not matter as much – it can come either as flexitime or as compressed time (Nigro & Kellough, 2014). What is more important is that the employees could have more control over their schedule, ultimately providing a more satisfying work-life balance and, thus, a better-motivated workforce.
The primary reason why a flexible schedule is not merely one of the possible benefits but the most important one is the ongoing trend toward flexible hours and remote work. As of 1987, only 15 percent of American workers had flexible schedules, yet this figure rose twofold by 2004 (Nigro & Kellough, 2014). It is also important to remember that remote working and flexible hours go hand in hand and reinforce each other. One may reasonably assume that, with the advances in communication technologies, the current percentage of those who work flexible hours would be higher than it was in 2004. The COVID-19 pandemic specifically has demonstrated the existing technological and organizational potential for remote working, which is also likely to increase the demand for flexible work hours. With this in mind, public employers that do not offer flexible schedules in one form or another could easily find themselves unable to compete for a qualified workforce with those who offer such a benefit.
Nigro, L., & Kellough, J. (2014). The new public personnel administration (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.