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Flexitime & clocking in software

Not a technical question but opinions appreciated! Does anyone operate flexi-time in their firm?

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We are thinking of offering flexi-time to staff, however I am struggling to see how this will work and how it will be tracked. Currently everyone is in 9-5 but we are flexible if someone needs to leave early/come in late/switch some days around.

Does anyone offer this in their accountancy firm, how well does it work and how do you track it? Do you have core hours everyone must be in for and do you use a clocking in system/software? There are only 7 staff and they are trustworthy, however at some point we will recruit new staff and theres no guarantee they will be in at the times they say they were! 

Any opinions are appreciated! 

Replies (13)

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By Cloudcounter
20th Sep 2018 16:18

We've offered it for more than 25 years. A few rules, but no core hours and no coming in for an hour - if you are working it must be half a day. No working more than 4 hours without lunch or a break of at least 30 minutes.

No software and it's not specifically tracked but if a newcomer misunderstands the rules, a quite word has been enough.

If you can't trust the people working for you, why are they on the payroll?

Thanks (4)
Replying to Cloudcounter:
By Christina_2014
20th Sep 2018 16:22

Thank you! So do staff submit the hours they are working ahead of time or do you allow them to come and go as they please?

Obviously untrustworthy people aren't employed, but you don't know this until they are employed and they break that trust. Surely some of your staff may have in the past claimed to be in at 8am when it was actually 8.15am. Not necessarily something to sack someone over but basically we don't want anyone taking the mick!

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Replying to Christina_2014:
By Cloudcounter
21st Sep 2018 11:15

No hours submitted in advance, so basically they come and go as they please. In practice people rarely deviate from their "new" choice of hours. There are those that come in at 8, and those that come in at 9. Should have mentioned that when we introduced this the staff had to cover absence for doctor, dentist etc within the flexi hours, so a gain for us as well.

We've probably had people turn up 15 minutes late, but we've also had people stay on 15 minutes to finish what they were doing. I wouldn't regard one or two instances of lateness as taking the mick and as I said if somebody "misunderstands" the system a quiet word has always been enough.

I've probably erred on the side of softness over the years but I think that's repaid in spades in other ways. Never had any big problems with flexitime (unlike smoking breaks, alas.)

There's a further benefit for the bosses as well - nobody can grumble if I shot off an hour before the end of the day to play golf. Flexitime for partners as well!

Thanks (3)
By lionofludesch
20th Sep 2018 18:13

I was on flexitime in my last job in 1991 and we had proper clock-cards. Which didn't work all that well when we were working off site.

Hours were any time between 8 and 6. Core hours 10-12 and 2-4. Min 30 mins dinner time to be taken between 12 and 2 (if you hadn't clocked off by 1.30 the machine did it for you). You could build up your flexitime into two half days a month. Max carry forward (up or down) 7 hours.

Whatever rules you set, the employees will play them. We used to have flexidays on Fridays because you only used 7 hours instead of 7½, for instance.

Thanks (2)
By marks
20th Sep 2018 20:16

Our staff can start between 8am and 10am and finish between 4pm and 6pm (depending when start) so can start at 8am and get away at 4pm if they want or come in at 10am and work to 6pm (plus any times in between). 1 hour lunch break between 12pm and 2pm.

We use BrightHR Blip to manage. Basically staff have a QR code at their desk which they scan in when they start and scan in when they leave. (same also when they are starting and finishing their lunch).

Staff like the flexibility that it gives them and giving them this flexibility buys me credit in the bank when I need them to put in extra time eg with a deadline job or around 31 Jan.

Thanks (1)
By SteveHa
20th Sep 2018 20:18

Not my firm - but we are pretty relaxed around hours. As long as you put the time in, and get the job done, it's good. Very much an honor system, but because it's a small firm, abuse is quickly noticed.

Thanks (1)
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
21st Sep 2018 08:03

We’re far too small. (2 dir, 3 e’ees) It’s something I want to offer in the future - love Maslins QR codes!

Thanks (1)
By accountantccole
21st Sep 2018 11:33

Our team get "ski days", can flex their days so they can take a half day off to ski (we are in the Alps). They do extra hours in the rest of the week to cover the hours. Timesheets track timings, we just need to make sure that the office is manned when clients call in and that not everyone is off at once.

Thanks (1)
Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
21st Sep 2018 19:44

I know of loads of small firms that operate a flexi time policy. It inevitably requires a degree of trust.

The 8am or 8.15 start at home can be tracked by ref to computer use/access time for servers and specific programmes etc.

NB: Arrival and departure times in the office shouldn't be the key comparison. It's all about the time spent providing valuable work for the practice. Do you track how long everyone spends on personal emails, social media etc during the working day?

Timesheets have been a notoriously poor way of tracking time really spent working on clients. You have to trust people here too.

Thanks (1)
By Tom 7000
25th Sep 2018 10:47

Work when and where you want. Just get the work done. We have people 5am to 1pm for example. If you want the afternoon off... what does it matter?

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By djn24
25th Sep 2018 11:12

We offer it and have done for around 5 years.
Staff can work anytime between say 8 and 6.30 as long as the hours are made up by the end of the week. 30 mins minimum for lunch.
Pretty much on trust as we don't have software to monitor it.
Seems to work well and staff appreciate it.

Thanks (2)
26th Sep 2018 08:26

Interesting topic, hopefully more employers will open up the possibility of flexible hours and part time hours. Speaking as one who has run their own Accountancy practice for many years and worked flexibly, there are so many advantages. Dentist appointments, or going to see your kids in the school play etc.. but you make up those hours by working early or late another time as ong as the job gets done and deadlines are met. But flexible working in a larger organisation needs to be visibly seen as fair to all, I think a lot of it is done on trust... but just because you are in the office from 9am to 5pm every week doesn't necessarily you are being productive for all of those hours .. Accountancy is a world of peaks and troughs and speaking as one who is looking for a part-time role but being blocked by the mindset that full time hours are essential, I am hoping that times will change! more flexible part time working please!

Thanks (2)
Replying to JWB:
By Christina_2014
26th Sep 2018 11:07

Totally agree! At the moment everything is done on trust and it works. If there's dentist/doctors appointments etc we allow everyone to take the time off and make it up at another time. It all works well but as we grow we might want to look at a more formal method of recording things just to keep track. I know I work better after 5pm when everyone has gone home!

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