What we talk about when we talk about flexible work

You may have seen the terms "workplace flexibility," "flexible work programs" or just the word "flexibility" - but what does it mean. It refers to a working schedule or work location outside the usual 9 to 5 (in some countries like Luxembourg it is 9 to 6) in a traditional office setting. Flexibility is expressed in terms of working hours, when the work is conducted and where.

Let's address the working hours first - this is the most common form of flexibility that most people may already benefit from in everyday work life. It means, for example, being able to have a flexible start and end of your workday.  You may arrive earlier or later than 9 am. Or you have the opportunity to work reduced or compressed hours. Reduced hours not only mean part-time but maybe you can work at 75% or 80% allowing you to handle your responsibilities outside of work. Compressed hours will enable you to to fit your workweek into less than five days. For example, you work Monday to Thursday for 10 hours and have Fridays off, or you split 80 hours across two weeks with longer and shorter days to give you the flexibility that you need.

Of course, we can also take it a step further, depending on your role and responsibility, to work entirely outside of the usual office hours. Maybe you are in a creative role and inspirations peaks early in the morning or late at night, and you can complete your work at the time when you most creative and productive.

Let's look at the "where" as well. Remote work has become more and more critical, especially in the startup world where office space is a significant expense. Remote work doesn't translate to just working from home. It also means working from alternative work sites like a co-working space or a different branch or satellite office of your company. It also includes working from your favorite coffee-shop (ensuring you have adequate security measures in place to protect yourself against hacking and other harms that come with using the internet) or even at the train station or airport while you wait for the boarding to start.

Flexibility is not "a one size fits all," and you may need more than just one form or type of flexibility. The American company Werk conducted a study in 2018 that showed that employees required 2.5 different types of flexibility to meet their work-life balance goals. Flexibility offers numerous combinations and opportunities to get your work done and enjoy life.

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