Balanced flexibility

2015 – ‘Balanced flexibility’ is a web publication of TNO. This book presents a vision, a strategy and a methodology  to realize balanced flexibility in a company. This guide starts with a vision on the subject: what is the origin of the need for flexibility in organisations, how does labor flexibility develop in the Netherlands, what are the risks and what are opportunities for employees and for employers?

The argument is supported by interviews with a trade union official and an entrepreneur. Ten practical examples show how organisations can deal consciously with flexibility in such a way that the risks are reduced and the chances increased. 

Short summary

Balanced flexibility is a deliberate choice of employers for  forms of  flexible work that suit the organisation’s strategy and at the same time taking into account the needs of  the employees.

Forms of flexibility

The quadrant below represents the four types of flexibility, which can be distinguished. 





Parttime contracts

Flexible working hours


Broad compatibility

Flexible attitude of staff



Flexibel contracts



Possibilities for balance

The analyzes and the cases show that there are good opportunities to find a balance. Wide deployment of workers and job rotation can partly meet the need for numerical flexibility. An internal flexpool can facilitate an effective response to fluctuations in demand for personnel. If temporary workers and agency staff are offered opportunities to develop and to make a career, the risks are reduced for those workers and for society. Self-employed can create more employment and income security by entering into a partnership. 


De voorgestelde aanpak bestaat uit de participatieve ontwikkeling van visie en lange termijn strategie en het uitvoeren van een analyse van de eigen flexbehoefte; een gebalanceerde en keuze uit flex opties; goede omgang met flexibele werknemers, communicatie en geduld. 


The proposed methodology consists of  1) the participatory development of a vision and long-term strategy and 2) the analysis of the flexibility requirements in the organization 3) a balanced choice out of the options for flexible forms; 4) good employment conditions and treatment of flexible employees, 5) communication and patience. 


The ten cases that are described in the book: 

1. Heurkens & van Veluw*, metallurgy

6. DichtBijZorg, Care

2. BMA Ergonomics, Ergonomic chairs

7. DIT, Employment agency in Care

3. Vanderlande, Bagage handling & Post and Parcel Warehousing

8. Jonge Honden*, temporary services

4. Elkerliek, Hospital

9. Carlton Beach Hotel

5. Full management support*, Consultancy

10. Bankbook/Addition Knowledge House

*These cases can be find separately in this knowledge bank 


‘Gebalanceerde flexibiliteit’, (2015) Sarike Verbiest, Wouter van der Torre, Friso Schous, Hardy van de Ven, Dirk Osinga, Simone Koot, Paul Preenen, Katarina Putnik, Anneke Goudswaard. Leiden: TNO Innovation for Life.

The book (in Dutch) can be down loaded by the link: ‘Gebalanceerde Flexibiliteit’.