flextime, system of assigning hours for work that permits employees to choose, within specified limits, the hours that they will be at their place of employment. In many companies, there is a "core time" when all employees must be present each workday. By allowing employees to stagger hours or by changing from five eight-hour days to four ten-hour days (a "compressed work week"), traffic and commuting problems are eased, parents can adjust work schedules to school schedules, and expensive office equipment, such as computers, can be used more efficiently. In 1997 about 25 million full-time workers (about 15.1% of the U.S. workforce) had flexible schedules. One variation on flextime is job sharing, in which two employees share the duties of one job by splitting the weekly work hours associated with the job. Some flextime programs permit employees to work some hours at home; this can include telecommuting, that is, using the telephone and a home personal computer equipped with a modem to conduct business and stay in contact with the office.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.