Flexible working hours have been found to lead to a happier workforce, and to far better customer service and share valuations. However, there is a fear that implementing flexible working hours is complicated and that it could lead to a flood of impossible demands from employees.
Before we look at flexible working hours in more detail, let us take a brief look at the standard working hours.
Working Hours for Employees
Working hours for employees have changed dramatically over the last two centuries. Back in the nineteenth century when industrialization started in Europe, workers were compelled to work even 16 hours a day. In twenty-first century France, however, the government had fixed working hours at 35 hours a week.
Most industrialized countries have regulated the workweek by stipulating the maximum number of working hours per week, minimum daily rest periods, annual holidays and sickness pay. The standard is around 40 working hours per workweek, typically Monday through Friday. Paid vacations range from three to five weeks a year.
Long working hours can lead to stress-related health problems, less time for busy parents to attend to child-rearing, and less leisure to enjoy consumer products and services. Henry Ford introduced low working hours so that his employees would have the leisure to buy and enjoy the cars he produced.
Flexible Working Hours and its Impact
One major problem with fixed working hours is that employees find it difficult to balance the demands of their personal lives and work lives. Flexible working hours can lead to better work/life balance and result in a happier workforce.
Flexible working hours can come in different forms such as:
- Part-time working that enables an employee to be free during business hours to attend to personal matters. For employers, it could mean engaging employees during peak workload hours, and reducing overall payroll costs
- Flexi-time working where employees work extra time when needed by employers and bank the extra hours/days off for arranging their personal commitments
- Annualized hours is an arrangement where times worked and times off are balanced across the year as a whole. Extra hours are worked during peak business seasons and less during lean seasons. Employers can retain experienced employees instead of hiring inexperienced casual or contract staff
- Customized flexible working hours during special events to enable employees watch, say, world cup matches and yet meet their work time requirements
Studies have indicated that flexible working hours produce tangible benefits to employers in the forms of:
- Reduced absenteeism and employee turnover
- Lower recruitment costs as they can retain their existing staff
- Higher staff morale leading to better work performance, customer service and even company stock performance
A survey even revealed that employees preferred flexible working hours to substantial additional pay.
Implementing Flexible Working Hours
Employers must know when they have peak workloads, needing more employees. This is not too difficult to assess with today’s technologies like EPOS and computerized systems that can record transaction times.
Once the requirements are identified, flexible rostering software can generate rosters to fit the workload. This software would then help to optimize the rosters to meet:
- Work contract requirements
- Sociability factors, and
- Employee work preferences to the extent possible
Where employee preferences cannot be met in full, the software would show the employees why this happened. This creates greater trust in the employees that their needs are being genuinely attended to.
The standard practice so far has been fixed working hours arranged in different shifts. This can lead of difficulties in balancing employees’ personal and work life demands. Flexible working hours help better work/life balance and lead to a happier workforce. A happier workforce results in less absenteeism, better customer service and higher stock performance.
The new word in Search Engine Optimization is “Authority.” Google has been making a shift in their algorithm over the last two years. Now they are emphasizing websites with Authority. What this means is that a web site is given Authority from other web sites and from Google itself. There are 3 ways to get Authority.
1. Web 2.0
Everyone knows about the Web 2.0 explosion. Socially oriented networking web sites (My Space, Facebook, etc), You Tube for video, blogging and social bookmarking web sites. Using these types of web sites is the newest way to increase the Authority Google gives to your website.
One huge determining factor in Google page rank is the number of links from web sites with high Google page ranks. When these links are one way inbound links they give your website authority. This is a powerful statement that says your website is high quality and good enough for them to link to you. Link exchange can be useful as long as you are exchanging with websites that have high ranks with Google. The more, quality links your website has, the higher you page rank will become..
Targeted content is essential. Know what your target market is looking for and provide the solution with your targeted key words and key word phrases. Your web site should consist of minimum 250 words of content that is continually being updated. Google will see your web site as a fresh resource for the keywords you are targeting. This will give you upper hand over many websites that allow their information to become irrelevant because they don’t update on a regular basis. This will give your website Authority in the eyes of Google.
Invoice factoring refers to the practice where smaller companies sell invoices in order to receive money today. IN this case they do not have to wait for a credit period of 30, 60, or 90 days. Thus by selling invoices smaller companies do not create debt. This practice of invoice factoring is basically used as a finance management tool.
This practice of invoice factoring is usually adopted to avoid any loans or giving any collateral against availing any loan. The fee for invoice factoring is paid in terms of discount. This discount can ranger anywhere between 2.5% to 7%. As a result of invoice factoring the smaller companies avoid exhibiting any loans on their balance sheets plus they also do not have to pay any interest for the money taken. This results in better profit figures.
Various agencies also help small companies in invoice factoring. These agencies set up the company with the right factor for a particular factoring situation. If someone has an invoice or any receivable to be factored then these agencies come out to help in the same.
These agencies help the manufacturers, distributors, importers, exporters, wholesalers, contractors, suppliers etc equivocally. They also help truckers in construction invoice factoring. These agencies help to locate best factor for a particular situation within the area or can also help to choose from nationwide factoring companies to avail the best rates. They usually customized solution as per the clients need. To avail the services of such companies firstly a form needs to be filled out stating the type of receivables and other details required for invoice factoring. Then these companies approach the probable paying parties that avail invoice factoring. Some of these agencies assume the risk in the deal for non-recourse factoring where the client is not required to pay back.
There are different types of companies with different types of rates for factoring. Any invoices or receivables to the amount of $100,000 can be factored immediately. The average rate payable for discount in such cases is 2-5%.
Some agencies specialize for a certain category of invoice factoring. For example, some agencies indulge only in invoice factoring for medical industry. Some agencies, which cater to small and medium businesses for invoice factoring, create invoices online and receive immediate funding. They usually give a 24 hours turnaround. Other types of agencies also give funds to small businesses for their day to day operations against collateral of their invoice or purchase order. These kinds of agencies also buy mortgage notes, structured settlement annuity or medical receivables.