FLEXIBLE WORK SCHEDULES:Purpose of Tool:
Allowing employees to have some flexibility in their work schedules, also known as flextime or variable work hours, can result in benefits to the individual, their employer, and the community at large. Flexible work schedules can help reduce the level of commute period traffic and encourage more people to share a ride in buses, vanpools, or carpools. Flextime can be sponsored by public or private sector employers who see the program as a means of attracting and keeping talented workers, and improving employee satisfaction, while not negatively impacting productivity. There are three main variations of the flextime concept that employers can use:
Benefits of Using Tool:
Flextime programs can have the following benefits for a community or region at large:
Steps Involved to Use Tool:
Flextime programs are usually implemented as part of a commute trip reduction program and in conjunction with other trip reduction strategies, such as ridesharing or parking cash-out programs [transportation and mobility\transportation demand management\car-sharing programs].
Special Requirements to Use Tool:
Not all employers or individual positions can accommodate flexible work schedules, and not all employees who could participate in a flexible work program choose to do so. For example, in a study of University of California workers, two-thirds of the employees surveyed were allowed flexible hours, yet less than 20 percent actually shifted their commute times to avoid congestion. This suggests there might be significant challenges to implementing alternative work schedules for congestion management purposes.
Specials Resources Needed to Use Tool:
If flextime or compressed work weeks are coordinated well with alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle commutes, such as rideshares, casual carpools and public transit, and the time savings to the worker prove to be significant, this strategy may be very effective in ‘flattening’ the peak of the traditional travel times and improving conditions for all commuters.
Communities / Agencies that Have Used Tool:
The University of Pennsylvania has had success with implementing a number of flextime and alternative work schedules to both improve quality of life and encourage alternative commuting choices to campus. The UPenn Flexible Work Options Program is conducted as part of the University’s “Work Life Balance” campaign, designed to help employees improve the quality of their work life by striking a better balance between work and personal commitments. This program includes a detailed guide for managers and staff which outlines model guidelines and agreement documents for implementing a successful flextime program.
University of Pennsylvania
Quality of Work Life Programs
3401 Walnut Street, Suite 527A,
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Metrics to Use to Monitor Tool Effectiveness:
A wide range of research and studies have sought to determine the effect of flexible and alternative work hours on commute trips and trip times. A Transportation Research Board study published in 1991 determined that flexible work hours resulting in a compressed work week (CWW) produced a significant decline in single-occupancy vehicle trips (from 82 percent to 77 percent) and ridesharing at the workplace increased from eight percent to 13 percent. Additionally, a study released in 2000 determined that workers with flexible schedules saved an average of seven minutes per day in commute time, and that a compressed work week schedule can reduce total vehicle travel by as much as 10 percent. However, with a compressed work week schedule, a separate 1995 investigation observed an increase in additional trips made on non-work days by CWW participants. Additionally, compressed work weeks may encourage workers to move further from work sites and drive to them, rather than seek alternative commute modes such as rideshares or transit.
List of Resources to Obtain Additional Info:
See the following sources for more information:
Citations:1 Rosella Picado, A Question of Timing, Access Number 17, Fall 2000, page 6. Online: http://www.uctc.net/access/access17lite.pdf
2 Freas and Anderson, The Effect of Variable Work Hour Program on Ridesharing and Organizational Effectiveness, Transportation Research Board, 1991. Online: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/5000/5600/5647/tdmvwh.pdf
3 TDM Encyclopedia, Alternative Work Schedules, Online: http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm15.htm