Bruce Dévernois

Gouvernance du temps de travail et des ressources humaines

How to utilize work-life balance and flexible working to increase productivity

• Un article de la rubrique English corner

Organizing a "flexible working market" inside a company

There are new opportunities to adapt a company’s activity to turmoils, increase profitability and competitiveness by developing a flexible working market inside a company without modifying the headcount. It also allows, on one hand to instil creativity and innovative spirit, and on the other, to modify progressively the firm structures and organization to motivate, inspire and engage workers in their work.

In the UK, employers can relatively easily vary their overall work force and work volume on short notice and at their own initiative (overtime, opt out, dismissals …), but these techniques do not implicate workers in their work. However, in this environment, some new rules are progressively implemented to give more choices to employees, and in particular the possibility to adjust their schedules according to their wishes like part-time, time offs, …, which is commonly known as « work-life balance and flexible working ».

In France, the labor laws concerning the working time are relatively rigid, and employers have difficulties in quickly varying their work force and volume at their own initiative while, on the employee’s side, many rights exist (part-time, rest days, maternity and post maternity time adjustments, bringing up holiday, …).

However, provided a collective agreement is signed, there is a great number of derogation granted by the labor laws to implement very large variations of working time according to business needs (without modifying the number of employees).

Organization of a flexible working market inside a company

Organizing a « flexible working market » inside a company, through a collective agreement allows to adjust the demands of a varying working volume for business needs, to what workers wish to offer in terms of working volume according to their family situation, their ages, their investments, their needs, their wealth, …

Experience in France shows a possible variation of + or – 35 %, even more, regarding working volume and wages amount without modifying the number of employees. This is organized with a variation of working time over the legal or conventional working duration on a voluntary basis. On top, it is the occasion to display new responsibilities and new productive attitudes among workers and management.

Our law firm accompanies industrial or services companies, on how to proceed to adjust flexible supply and demand of working time inside a French company in a « win-win » arrangement (win for the company ads win for the employees). The organization of this « flexible working market » is relatively new and not widely known by business investors in France, although it gives new opportunities to develop growth and results.

Furthermore, it should be noted that similar flexible working market techniques can be implemented in companies of other countries, with respect to the different law systems. In particular in the UK, it can be proceeded through unilateral charts, since it is not necessary to implement, like in France, a specific collective agreement.

Bruce Dévernois, Avocat
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