Flexible Working Hours

Flexible working hours refers to the practice by employers of allowing employees to vary their attendance pattern. Variation is usually in terms of start and finish times, as well as hours per day. Flexible working hours are often referred to as flexitime. Employees working flexible hours are able to use flexitime credit to take time off without reducing other leave credits. Flexible working hours are usually subject to a number of operating rules.

From a transport perspective, flexible working hours are introduced to spread travel demand beyond conventional peak hours and thus, reduce congestion and/or to facilitate alternatives to solo commuting, which in turn reduces congestion. Flexible hours facilitate ride sharing, cycling and public transport use. From a business perspective, the ultimate aim is to increase efficiency through reduced congestion.

Demand impacts can be moderate, but relatively stable over time, with obvious consequences for the nature of contribution to key policy objectives.

Terminology

Flexible working hours refers to the practice by employers of allowing employees to vary their attendance pattern. Variation is usually in terms of start and finish times, as well as hours per day. Flexible working hours are often referred to as flexitime. Employees working flexible hours are able to use flexitime credit to take time off without reducing other leave credits. Flexible working hours are usually subject to a number of operating rules:

  • Bandwidth - the earliest time at which anyone may start work through to the latest possible finishing time, e.g. 07:30 to 19:00.
  • Core time - the times within the bandwidth during which all staff must be present for work (subject to authorised absences), e.g. 10:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 15:30.
  • Flexible time - the periods within the bandwidth during which a member of staff has the ability to vary arrival and departure times, e.g. 0730 to 1000, 12:00 to 14:00 for lunch and 15:30 to 19:00.
  • Accounting or Settlement period - the time over which the total hours worked are recorded and totalled, at the end of which they must fall within defined limits

Photos illustrating traffic conditions at different times of the day

Variations in flexible working hours agreements

Flexible working hours are common amongst office based occupations where there may be a need to ensure an office is staffed, but no need to ensure that expensive production machinery is operated 24 hours per day through rigid shift patterns, or ensure that a public service, such as transport, health or education, is available.

The degree of flexibility allowed can vary between organisations. It is common for employees to be able to vary their hours on a daily basis within the band widths illustrated above, whilst ensuring that they work a total of x hours per month. Some organisations allow flexicredits accumulated in one month to be carried over to the next. Other organisations are more rigid, insisting that employees select start and finish times from within the flexible time band. These chosen hours must then be adhered to unless the hours are altered through a formal request. Conversely, some organisations, such as universities, allow complete flexibility so long as key responsibilities are met. In almost all cases, use of flexible hours is not compulsory, although it may be unavoidable if overtime payment is in the form of time off through the flexitime system.

Flexible working hours are often recommended as part of a company travel plan to reduce congestion per se and facilitate ride sharing and use of alternatives to the car.

Technology

There are no essential specific technological requirements for the operation of flexible working hours. However, where an employer introduces a clocking in and out system to record hours, this may utilise some technology.

Why introduce flexible working hours?

From a transport perspective, flexible working hours are introduced to spread travel demand beyond conventional peak hours and thus, reduce congestion and/or to facilitate alternatives to solo commuting, which in turn reduces congestion. Flexible hours facilitate ride sharing by allowing co-ordination of schedules, cycling by allowing off peak travel in less congested conditions and public transport use by giving the flexibility to fit in with timetables and cope with unreliability (where the flexitime is not a rigid model). From a business perspective, the ultimate aim is to increase efficiency through reduced congestion.

There are also a number of other productivity related motivations. For the employee, flexible working hours

  • Provide family friendly working practices by allowing employees to meet dependent care responsibilities,
  • Enable employees to combine work with other responsibilities and interests,
  • Reduce the need to take un-paid leave or use holiday entitlement to meet responsibilities,
  • Allow greater job satisfaction through the above and because work can be completed when motivation and energy levels are high.

For the employer, flexible working hours

  • Increase the ability to adapt staffing levels according to seasonal demand and customer requirements, thus improving customer service,
  • Increase staff motivation and commitment because staff needs are met,
  • Increase competitive edge in attracting and retaining staff,
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Reduce overtime costs
  • Accommodate the various need and circumstances of employees.

Whilst these employee and employer benefits may not be directly related to transport, where congestion is not perceived to be a problem, they may be a means of persuading a business to introduce at least one measure with the potential to reduce traffic.

A brief survey of company flexible hours policies (University of Glamorgan, 2002; OCPE, 2002; WRc, 2002; DataViz, 2002; Carnegie Mellon University, 2002; Lucent Technologies, 2002; Monash University, 2002) available via the internet suggests that the majority of organisations do not recognise transport benefits in relation to flexible working hours. Few mentioned participating in ride sharing, avoiding traffic congestion and co-ordinating work schedules with a limited bus service as potential benefits. Transport impacts are more likely to be mentioned at a government policy level, for example Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (2002).

Demand impacts

The demand impacts resulting from flexible working hours depend on the up-take of the option by employees and whether it is used as an opportunity to use alternatives to solo driving. A study by Picado (2000) states that "in one case study, two-thirds of employees surveyed have flexible work schedules, yet less than twenty percent of them actually shift their commute times to avoid congestion" (Litman, 2002). This could be because fitting in with child care arrangements or other duties does not allow journeys outside of peak hours and the need to meet these responsibilities necessitates habitual travel.

Responses and situations
Response Reduction in road traffic Expected in situations

Where individuals merely change when they travel.

 

When the opportunity is used to facilitate ride sharing (where both individuals previously drove alone), or use of public transport that previously did not fit with work hours. Flexible working hours means that individuals are able to vary their hours to fit in with others and public transport.

Drivers may take the opportunity to use a more direct route which they would otherwise avoid due to congestion.
-
Where flexible working hours are used to compress the working week, assuming other trips do not replace the work journeys
Where the opportunity is taken to use alternatives to solo driving. Flexible working hours means that individuals can vary their hours to fit in with public transport timetables, ride share or cycle off peak when perceptions of danger may be less.
-
-
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Short and long run demand responses

Up-take of flexible working hours may increase over time as individuals alter their domestic arrangements (to something more convenient) when the opportunity arises. With regard to modal shift to public transport, walking or cycling, there may be a small shift in the short term. This is unlikely to increase over time unless congestion becomes significantly worse (but does not affect the alternatives) or incentives to use alternatives are offered.

Demand responses
Response - 1st year 2-4 years 5 years 10+ years
-
  -
  Change job location
- Shop elsewhere
  Compress working week
- Trip chain
- Work from home
- Shop from home
  Ride share
- Public transport
- Walk/cycle
  -
  -
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Level of response

The price elasticity of demand varies with context, primarily the type of trip, traveller, price elasticity of related goods and services, and whether the elasticity accounts for short term and long term demand response. In the case of response to flexible working hours it is likely that unless there are incentives to use alternatives, the elasticity in relation to mode will be low, i.e. most change will be in time of travel, rather than mode choice. Although, where ride sharing is an option, the elasticity may be greater.

Supply impacts

The introduction of flexible working hours will not affect the supply of road space or the supply of alternatives to solo driving.

Financing requirements

There are no financial requirements.

Expected impact on key policy objectives

Flexible working hours has potential to contribute to a number of key objectives through reduction in congestion, but the scale of contribution is dependent on the number of organisations in an area offering flexible hours, the scale of up take and the degree of variability.

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

 

The contribution will be greater in an area dominated by organisations offering flexitime, e.g. a city centre dominated by offices. However, contribution may be limited if staff do not significantly vary their travel time due to other commitments or personal preference. Where there is a shift to the shoulders of the peak this will increase congestion then.

 

The contribution will be greater in an area dominated by organisations offering flexitime, e.g. a city centre dominated by offices. However, contribution may be limited if staff do not use the opportunity to travel be means other than solo driving.

 

By reducing air pollution and pressure on green space. The contribution will be greater in an area dominated by organisations offering flexitime, e.g. a city centre dominated by offices. However, contribution may be limited if staff do not use the opportunity to travel by means other than solo driving.

 

There are many occupations unsuited to flexible working hours, making it an inequitable measure.

 

Through reduced car use.

 

The impact on a firms - efficiency and productivity are likely to be much greater than benefits from reduced congestion.

 

The only costs should be minor administrative tasks for human resources.

= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected impact on problems

As with impacts on objectives flexible working hours has potential to contribute to the alleviation of a number of key problems through reduction in congestion, but the scale of contribution is dependent on the number of organisations in an area offering flexible hours, the scale of up take and the degree of variability.

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion-related delay

The contribution will be greater in an area dominated by organisations offering flexitime, e.g. a city centre dominated by offices. However, contribution may be limited if staff do not significantly vary their travel time due to other commitments or personal preference. Where there is a change in travel time peak spreading could merely extend the period of congestion.

Congestion-related unreliability

The contribution will be greater in an area dominated by organisations offering flexitime, e.g. a city centre dominated by offices. However, contribution may be limited if staff do not significantly vary their travel time due to other commitments or personal preference. Where there is a change in travel time peak spreading could merely extend the period of congestion.

Community severence

Through reduced congestion.

Visual intrusion

-

Lack of amenity

-

Global warming

If congestion is reduced sufficiently to remove stop start conditions.

Local air pollution

If congestion is reduced sufficiently to remove stop start conditions.

Noise

-

Reduction of green space

-

Damage to environmentally sensitive sites

-

Poor accessibility for those without a car and those with mobility impairments

Accessibility benefits will only result where public transport is able to benefit from reduced congestion.

Disproportionate disadvantaging of particular social or geographic groups

Flexible working hours are not appropriate to many occupations.

Number, severity and risk of accidents

Through reduced congestion.

Suppression of the potential for economic activity in the area

The impact on a firms efficiency and productivity will be greater than benefits from reduced congestion, although these may be greater in an area dominated by organisations offering flexitime, e.g. a city centre dominated by offices.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected winners and losers

One would not expect everybody to benefit equally from any transport measure and this is especially true of one targeted at particular groups of employees. Nevertheless, benefits of reduced congestion will accrue to all road users.

Winners and losers

Group

Winners/Losers

Comment

Large scale freight and commercial traffic

Where there is a change in travel time, peak spreading will extend the period a road is subject to congestions, reducing utilization of freight vehicles making high value journeys.

Small businesses

Will benefit if there is a noticeable reduction in congestion.

High income car-users

High income associated with high value of time, therefore may continue to drive - those working flexible hours will benefit from ability to avoid peak hours.
People with a low income -

People with poor access to public transport

-

All existing public transport users

Where routes used benefit from reduced congestion.

People living adjacent to the area targeted

May benefit from reduced congestion.

People making high value, important journeys

These journeys will have higher values of time and may continue to be made by car, but those working flexible hours will benefit from ability to avoid peak periods.
The average car user Where they are able to travel more efficiently, saving time and money.
= Weakest possible benefit = Strongest possible positive benefit
= Weakest possible negative benefit = Strongest possible negative benefit
= Neither wins nor loses

Barriers to implementation

Certain forms of urban road charging are more easily implementable than others. The complexity of the system and the technology chosen are important factors determining ease of implementation. However, further, perhaps even more important, factors will be the way in which the policy is presented to the public, the public acceptability of the policy and whether the necessary legal powers are in place.

Scale of barriers
Barrier Scale Comment
Legal There are no legal barriers.
Finance Some support may be needed for coordinating flexible hours.
Governance The main barriers are reluctance of firms to change hours, and inconsistency in the impacts of different firms’ changes.
Political acceptability Unlikely to be contentious.
Public and stakeholder acceptability Unlikely to arouse opposition.
Technical feasibility Technology may be needed to coordinate different firms’ responses.
= Minimal barrier = Most significant barrier

The first flexible working hours experiments were in the 1950s, although it was not until the late 1960's early 1970's that the use of such practices became widespread. Schemes were usually promoted by the local authority; some as a reaction to the fuel crisis of the time, others as a means of reduce peak hour congestion on public transport (mainly in North America) and the roads (mainly in Europe). Since then, flexible working hours have become fairly standard business practice, offered as a means of providing good working conditions rather than reducing peak hour congestion. Consequently, many examples of flexible working hours to influence travel time are now rather dated. Additionally, their influence may be dwarfed by increases in employment and car use. However, the early examples do illustrate what flexible working hours can achieve. If all those who currently work 08:00 to 16:00 or even 08:30 to 16:30 were to work 09:00 to 17:00 current peak hour congestion would be even worse. Additionally, in an environment where public transport is largely provided by the private sector a measure that spreads demand is likely to ensure frequent services over a longer period.

Variable Work Hours in Ottawa

Ottawa

Context

Safavian and McLean (1975) reported a flexible working hours programme implemented in Ottawa, Canada. In spring 1974 existing flexible work hours programmes in a number of federal government departments were rolled out on a wider scale to include 33,000 of the 35,000 federal employees in Ottawa. Given that the federal government is one of the largest employers in Ottawa, the programme covered nearly 50% of employees in the city. It is not clear what form the flexible work hours took. Thus, it is assumed that a standard format of flexible bands around core hours was offered to all federal government employees. The programme was implemented "in response to a serious overtaxing of the bus transit system, particularly during brief peak periods in the morning and evening" (Safavian and McLean, 1975). It is also noted that the energy crisis was near to its peak at the time.

Impacts on demand

Safavian and McLean (1975) consider the impacts on demand from the perspective of modal split, nature of demand for public transport, car traffic distribution, demand for parking spaces and vehicle occupancy.

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comment
  By spreading demand over a longer time period and facilitating modal shift congestion will be reduced, allowing greater speeds and thus travel time savings.
  The longer peak period may have reduced liveability.
  There will have been little or no change in environmental impacts.
  There will have been little or no contribution to meeting equity and social inclusion objectives.
  There will have been little or no change in safety impacts.
  Efficiency improvements will support economic growth.
  There may be a small increase in costs to the business in terms of human resources staff time to implement the new working practices. There may be a small increase in costs to the local authority promote the new practices to businesses.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Staggered Work Hours in Manhattan

Context

O'Malley and Selinger (1973) report the introduction of a staggered working hours programme implemented in April 1970 in Manhattan, New York. The programme was implemented by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association (D-MLA). Staggered hours were introduced to establish whether they could effectively spread demand for public transport facilities in Lower Manhattan. 85% of employees in Lower Manhattan commute by rail. The need to improve efficiency was generated by the "phenomenal [office] building activity" (O'Malley and Selinger, 1973) in Manhattan in the early 1970s. Whilst the building was accompanied by new public transport infrastructure, the major elements of the infrastructure did not keep pace with the office building. Consequently, there was a need to use existing infrastructure more efficiently.

Staggered working hours differ subtly from flexible working hours in that employees choose from a choice of staggered start times - in this case, participants were given the choice of 08:30 to 09:30 with finish times adjusted accordingly. The chosen start time becomes the daily start time unless the choice is re-negotiated. Staggered hours were seen as beneficial as they ensured a change in start time sufficient to change departure time. If an employee chose to start only 15 minutes earlier or later, it was feared that any change in departure time would be too insignificant to spread demand. Interestingly, 92% of participating workers chose to start at 08:30 - the same time as that chosen by many given complete flexibility in the Ottawa experiment.

Impacts on demand

Impacts on demand were monitored through public transport passenger counts and waiting times for lifts. Lift operations are considered a form of "vertical mass transportation" (O'Malley and Selinger, 1973) in Manhattan.

"A substantial and continuing reduction in congestion [in terms of passengers using public transport] of 6 per cent in the peak 15 minutes has been observed at three of the busiest Transit authority subway stations" (O'Malley and Selinger, 1973). The number of passengers has decreased by 26% in the peak 15 minute period (09:00 to 09:15) and increased by 24% between 08:30 and 08:45. Evening peak travel was monitored at a different station and revealed a reduction in passenger numbers of 18% between 17:00 and 17:15, and an increase of 53% between 16:30 and 16:45, when additional train capacity was also available.

Changes in patronage

1 = 09:00 to 09:15 2 = 08:30 to 08:45
3 = 17:00 to 17:15 4 = 16:30 to 16:45

Lift waiting times were monitored at three bank buildings in Lower Manhattan. The maximum waiting time decreased from six minutes to two minutes as a result of the staggered working hours. The average peak period delay decreased from two and a half minutes to one.

As a result of these changes, employers reported increased punctuality amongst their employees. This is a result of "fewer and less [severe] transportation delays earlier in the morning peak" (O'Malley and Selinger, 1973). It is possible that the pattern of delays could spread with the peak spreading, as the staggered working hours programme was rolled out to more employers over a wider area of Manhattan. However, no evidence is presented in either direction.

As a consequence of the positive impacts of the staggered working hours programme in Lower Manhattan, it was rolled out to other areas of district.

Impacts on supply

The introduction of staggered working hours does not affect the supply of road space or public transport infrastructure.

Other Impacts

O'Malley and Selinger (1973) also report a number of interesting reactions from employers and their employees participating in the staggered working hours programme. The reactions may be of interest to practitioners encountering resistance from employers concerned about the impact of staggered working hours on staff management and communications (both internal and external).

"85 percent of the employees sampled had a favourable overall reaction to the project… [and] the changed hours had very few negative effects on efficiency. In fact, some organisations reported positive gains in work effectiveness. … [Additionally], a substantial majority of unit heads surveyed reported that no severe communications problems resulted from the changed hours" (O'Malley and Selinger, 1973).

Employees were asked, "on the new schedule, does the workday seem to you to be longer, shorter or about the same?" "Three times as many felt the day was 'shorter' rather than 'longer' under the new schedules. …[Additionally], four times as many were 'more satisfied' with their jobs than were 'less satisfied'. Further to this, "almost 50 per cent of those who changed their work schedules reported that they were 'more satisfied' with their trips to and from work" (O'Malley and Selinger, 1973).

Respondents were also asked whether their domestic routines had changed, and whether the changes were positive or not. It was found that, "whilst certain changes did occur, they were almost always viewed positively by the participants" (O'Malley and Selinger, 1973).

 

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comment
  By spreading demand over a longer time period passenger congestion on public transport was reduced, resulting in fewer delays and travel time savings.
  There was no discernable impact on liveability.
  There was no discernable impact on the environment.
  There was no discernable impact on equity and social inclusion.
  There was no discernable impact on safety.
  Efficiency improvements will support economic growth.
  There may be a small increase in costs to the business in terms of human resources staff time to implement the new working practices. There may be a small increase in costs to the local authority promote the new practices to businesses.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Flexible Hours at De-centralised Offices in the United Kingdom

Context

Daniels (1980) reports impacts of the introduction of flexible working hours in decentralised offices in the UK. The surveys Daniels reports were undertaken in 1976. Flexible working hours in the UK were "first adopted by firms anxious to alleviate the difficulties of getting employees to and from their premises during peak hours" (Daniels, 1980).

Daniels (1980) noted that there were differences between the up take rate by offices between regions concluding that, "on the evidence available here flexible hours seem more acceptable in offices located in provincial towns and cities". It was also noted that larger organisations are more likely to implement flexible working hours.

Impact on demand

Daniels (1980) discusses the demand impacts from the point of peak spreading, trip characteristics and mode choice.

On average, over all the offices included in the study, peak arrivals as a percentage of all trips generated decreased by 11 per cent in the first seven weeks of flexible working hours, and decreased a further two percent after 25 weeks. The morning peak 15 minutes also shifted from 08:00-08:15 to 07:45-08:00. The ability of flexible hours to spread demand was reflected by the keenness of staff to start and finish early to avoid congestion. It is notable that in both the UK and the US, fewer staff chose to start late, possible as a result of family circumstances.

It is also noted that after several months of flexible working hours, staff tend to adopt regular start and finish times (e.g. 08:30 to 16:30 every day). This could merely shift congestion problems if the majority of employees in an area are on flexible working hours and choose these times.

Daniels also notes that whilst there is "only a marginal difference between the trip times and distances of the two groups [those working flexible hours and those not] for the data as a whole, there are differences between areas. In metropolitan areas, it appears that workers are taking the opportunity to live further away from work without incurring travel time costs.

In terms of mode choice, Daniels (1980) notes "the spreading of peak hour travel is largely attributable to office workers who travel to work as car drivers or passengers. Office workers who use public transport are constrained to a greater degree by bus or train timetables". This is in contrast the US examples cited above, where flexible working hours was seen as facilitating public transport use. "There was also some evidence … of a long term trend towards a higher proportion of staff arriving at the office as car drivers as a result of the FWH [flexible working hours]" (Daniels, 1980). It is possible that either staff who previously travelled by public transport could not take advantage of flexible working hours without driving, due to timetable constraints, or that some used public transport purely because it was too congested to drive during the peak. The evidence of the impact of flexible working hours on ride sharing is ambiguous. Nevertheless, there is a suggestion that, "a proportion of office workers on flexible hours are still working with fixed starting and finishing times in mind but perhaps with earlier or later arrival times in order to miss local congestion but not at the expense of non-participation in car sharing" (Daniels, 1980).

Other impacts

Daniels (1980) also presents a number of advantages and disadvantages for employers and employees. It should be noted that all are from the perspective of the employer.

 

Advantages

Disadvantages

Employees

  • More family friendly
  • The ability to earn additional holiday
  • Ability to avoid congestion
  • Ability to coincide work and public transport schedules
  • Problems with ride sharing arrangements
  • Child care problems
  • Those using fixed schedule worksbuses cannot operate on flexible working hour
  • Those whose work is governed by the clock cannot work flexible hours

Employers

  • Ability to cope with heavy workload peaks
  • Reduces pressure for overtime
  • Reduces staff turnover as domestic commitments can be met - attractive selling point in recruitment
  • Staff will work all the hours that they are in the office
  • Goodwill and morale are improved
  • Need for tighter supervision
  • Difficulty matching activities of staff using two different systems of work
  • Restricts inter-office contacts
  • Restricted contactability is bad for the company image in the context of external contacts
  • Tendency of staff to accumulate leave, which needs to be taken at the end of the leave year

It is interesting that more efficient journeys to work and better time keeping are not seen as benefits for either employers or employees.

Impact on supply

The introduction of flexible working hours will not have affected the supply of road space or public transport infrastructure.

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comment
  In the short term peak spreading reduces congestion and improves efficiency, but there is a suggestion that the peak is merely moved and that there is a long term trend towards increased car use, which would eradicate efficiency gains.
  There was no discernable impact on liveability, but long term increased car use will have a negative effect.
  There was no discernable impact on the environment, but long term increased car use will have a negative effect.
  There was no discernable impact on equity and social inclusion, but long term increased car use will have a negative effect.
  There was no discernable impact on safety, but long term increased car use will have a negative effect.
  Efficiency improvements (whilst they last) will support economic growth.
  There may be a small increase in costs to the business in terms of human resources staff time to implement the new working practices.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Gaps and weaknesses

The most obvious weakness in the evidence on flexible working hours presented above is the fact that all of the examples date from the 1970's. Unfortunately, no recent incidences of flexible working hours being introduced in isolation to tackle congestion could be found. Indeed, whilst flexible hours can form part of a company travel plan (CTP), such practices are now so common, that they usually pre-date a CTP where they a feasible option.

Contribution to objectives and problems
Objective Ottawa Manhattan UK
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

 

Contribution to alleviation of key problems
Objective Ottawa Manhattan UK
Congestion-related delay *
Congestion-related unreliability *
Community severance
Visual intrusion
Lack of amenity
Global warming
Local air pollution
Noise
Reduction of green space
Damage to environmentally sensitive sites
Poor accessibility for those without a car and those with mobility impairments
Disproportionate disadvantaging of particular social or geographic groups
Number, severity and risk of accidents
Suppression of the potential for economic activity in the area
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

*The congestion considered in this table is road congestion, not passenger congestion on public transport. Were the table to consider this, both congestion items would have been awarded two positive ticks.

Appropriate contexts

The most appropriate context for flexible working hours implemented to tackle transport problems is now as part of a company travel plan (CTP). Congestion levels in cities have now reached levels where by flexible working hours alone would make no significant difference. This is especially so as they are already a wide spread working practice. However, their ability to facilitate public transport use by enabling employees to alter departure times to coincide with timetables and to avoid punctuality problems when faced with delays can be emphasised through a CTP. Consequently, flexible working hours can best be used in the same areas as CTPs.

Appropriate area-types
Area type Suitability
City centre
Dense inner suburb
Medium density outer suburb
Less dense outer suburb
District centre
Corridor
Small town
Tourist town
= Least suitable area type = Most suitable area type

Picado R, 2000, "A Question of Timing," Access 17, pp. 9-13. in Litman 2002, Alternative Work Schedules, Travel Demand Management Encyclopedia, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, available at http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm15.htm (as viewed on 29/04/02)

University of Glamorgan, 2002, "Scheme for Flexible Working Hours", University of Glamorgan, Human Resources department, available at http://web.glam.ac.uk/departments/personnel/flexible.php (as viewed on 29/04/02)

Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment, Northern Territory Government, Australia, 2002, "Flexible Working Hours", available at http://www.nt.gov.au/ocpe/documents/people-management/flexible-work/flexbrochure1.htm (as viewed on 29/04/02)

WRc PLC , 2002, "Jobs: flexible working hours", WRc PLC available at http://www.wrcplc.co.uk/corporate/asp/jobs.asp (as viewed on 29/04/02)

DataViz, 2002, "Employment Opportunities: benefits", DataViz available at http://www.dataviz.com/company/employment/benefits/ (as viewed on 29/04/02)