Creating Successful Flexible Working-Time Arrangements: Three European Case Studies

2013 – In this article in Employment Relations Today, Anneke Goudswaard, Sarike Verbiest, Paul Preenen, and Steven Dhondt argue for the benefits offered to both employers and employees by Flexible working-time arrangements (FWTAs). The article describes and examines the casestudies of five companies that successfully implemented an FWTA policy.  

A shop does not receive the same number of customers every day, week, or month. For this reason employees are sometimes required to work more or less depending on the day, week, or month. Flexible working-time arrangements (FWTAs) are arrangements resulting from a discussion about flexible working times between the employer and employee representatives. The authors argue that such an arrangement can be beneficial to both parties. FWTAs allow companies to have an appropriate number of workers needed on any given day, and it allows employees to better cope with workload fluctuations and to meet private-life obligations.  

Case studies

Colruyt, V&D, Nido, CabTec and Audi were investigated through interviews with individuals and groups from all hierarchical levels of the company, from company management to employees, as well as through studying relevant documents such as work schedules, financial figures, and results of employee surveys conducted by the company. The authors find that to create a good FWTA a mature dialogue is required between employee representation and the company. The authors argue that a crucial part of the effectiveness of FWTA’s was dependant on a mature negotiation about the balance of interests for both employers and employees.  


Implemented FWTA’s were found to be beneficial for both employers and employees alike, the companies were able to improve productivity and reduce overtime and underutilization of personnel. Employees also benefitted, and were found to have a higher job security and job satisfaction. The authors conclude that even during economically difficult times, negotiations must lead to an agreement that balances the interests of both employers and employees.  


Goudswaard, A., Verbiest, A., Preenen, P., & Dhondt, S. (2013). Creating Successful Flexible Working-Time Arrangements: Three European Case Studies. Employment Relations Today, 40(3), 19-33.

The article is attached.