Flexible Schedules

An employee who works a flexible schedule often begins and ends his or her day at non-standard times within limits set by his or her supervisor.

Types of Flexible Schedules at MIT

Fixed Alternative Work Schedule

The employee and supervisor agree upon and establish starting and ending times that differ from the department's norm, but keep the same schedule each day or each week, such as 8 am – 4 pm every day, or 8 am – 4 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and 9:30 am – 5:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Midday Flextime

Employees may take a longer scheduled break at midday (or in the middle of their usual working time) if they make up the lost time by starting work earlier or staying at the office later.

Core Hours within a Variable Schedule

The employee is present during specified core hours agreed upon and established by his or her supervisor, but may adjust arrival and departure times each day. Despite this variability, the employee is expected to work a set number of hours each week.

Variable Schedule

Employees may work variable hours so long as they achieve the expected number of hours within the week. For example, an employee may work for 10 hours on Monday and Wednesday, 8 hours on Tuesday and Friday, and 4 hours on Thursday to accumulate 40 hours.

Potential Benefits of a Flexible Schedule

  • Employee keeps full pay and benefits, unless the number of hours worked each week decreases.
  • Working and time-off hours more closely meet the employee's needs.
  • May ease commuting stress.
  • Often enhances employee productivity.
  • May facilitate recruiting and retention.
  • May reduce absenteeism and tardiness.
  • May improve coverage or extend hours.

Potential Challenges of a Flexible Schedule

  • May create difficulty in scheduling meetings and coordinating projects.
  • Supervision may not be available at all hours.
  • May cause understaffing at times.
  • Employee may be unavailable at certain times, requiring cross-training to ensure coverage.
  • May not free as much time as employee needs.
  • May make it harder for the supervisor to track or measure time worked.


An employee's proposal should address:

  • How department or office coverage will be maintained (possibly establish core hours).
  • How channels of communication will be established and effectively maintained.
  • How work hours will be tracked or measured.
  • Definition of tasks during times when supervisor is absent.

Learn more about developing a proposal.

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