Change in office hours being more flexible (manufacturing environment)

Not sure if this is the right category so please move if need be! 

We have a suggestion box at work and a popular one that came up was to have flexible hours in the office, our usual hours 9am - 6pm. (we're a manufacturer and Production runs from 6am - 6pm on two shifts). Meaning that as long as your core hours are done within those hours, the office staff can be more flexible. e.g. 8am - 5pm.

My manager has asked me to come up with a way we can make it fair across the business as Production staff will not be able to do this (they either work 6am - 3pm or 9am -6pm). I'm struggling to see how the two can be compared because they're completely different roles within the company with different needs.

Does anyone have any points or ideas that I might be missing to be able to make this happen please?


  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    26 Nov, 2023 20:21


    I've moved this one to  Flexible working Slight smile

  • The fact that one category of workers (production staff) will not be able to enjoy the same benefits as administrative staff is not, in itself, a valid reason to deny administrative staff the right to work flexibly.

    As ever, the primary question must be the benefit of the company. What does the company gain/lose from permitting administrative staff to work flexibly? How can that equation be shifted to ensure that it is to the maximum benefit of the company?

    That said, if you're prepared to put the work in, there are ways to make flexible working available to production line staff as well, to a different degree.

    For example, at the moment, you have two production shifts. Could you make this into three or four shifts to extend operating hours (to the benefit of the company) but reduce the length of the shifts (nine hours is a long production shift - if you reduced the length of time you might well see and improvement in quality and reduction in fail/reject cases that would save money overall - and if you kept salaries at the same level for shorter shifts you'd improve retention of production staff).

    Now I'm guessing that, like most production businesses, staff are allocated to one shift or another. And naturally there's a logical reason for this: you have to have a certain minimum number of people on each shift to sustain the required level of productivity and there's a diminishing return on investment in terms of people per shift. At a certain point it simply becomes impossible for more people to work on the production line and the improvements in production speed from more people is likely to plateau well before you reach this point, in any case.

    But you could offer people more flexibility in terms of which shift they undertook. For many people, having a predictable, consistent shift is going to be essential and they can "lock in" a place on a shift, but others may prefer the ability to switch shifts around their needs. They could choose to opt out of being locked into a particular shift in return for being able to "book" their shifts on a weekly or monthly basis, perhaps with the option to swap shifts with others - perhaps through a digital or even physical noticeboard on which people can post shifts they would like to swap with others.

    All of this is, of course, much more complicated than just introducing core hours for your administrative staff and you may decide that this or any other form of agile (rather than flexible) working for the production team is simply not worth the trouble. But that should not - as I mentioned - discourage you from permitting flexibility where it is feasible. Sometimes, one category of staff can work more flexible than another. That is merely life.
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    thank you! :)
  • In reply to Robey:

    Great points here, thank you very much!
  • I think you've answered your own question. There can be no comparison. Is each group treated equitably given what contributions they make and the nature of the work that they do? Probably, but as other replies have said there is always more that could be done. But trying to compare and make things fair is a non-starter.