At my company, unpaid overtime is a common thing, so people end up working really late. Due to the late nights, the start time is relatively late compared to other companies.

As it is now, people are somewhat regularly late anyway (10-15 minutes or so), so I think that having a flexible time schedule would be ideal. I have looked up stategies and think that having a flextime with a core time might be a good way to offset some of this. The majority of work is people working on their own, with occasional meetings, so the core time would be used for those meetings when needed. If there is some reason that someone is needed outside of core hours (due to a client), they would be restricted for that day to come in earlier/later, and that is fine on occassion, I think -- much better than how it is now.

What I want to accomplish:

  • Allow people to basically choose their own schedules so long as they put in the hours.
  • Have an accurate log of hours worked in case we are audited (Japan only?)
  • Have overtime be paid since it is now tracked.

Bonus mission:

  • Reduce overtime hours. Most of them are due to culture of not leaving before others, rather than actually being needed.

What is a good way to manage this system? The president would likely come in later, and a few of us would likely elect to come in earlier, and I don't expect him to want to do it on completely a trust basis. Is there any tool or process that are popular with companies that do flextime?

Note: I am not the president of the company, but I am in upper management, so I need to present the idea.

  • 2
    You already have (practically) flextime. Why do you need the extra effort? I would understand if you would have an initiative to reduce extra hours...
    – virolino
    Mar 7, 2019 at 7:00
  • @virolino It is okay to come like 10 minutes late, but if you come in early it is impossible to leave before the official time, which is well into the evening. I have a one month old and can't sleep in the late mornings at all, and could sleep in the evenings if I were home. I would really prefer to leave the office earlier. I am not the only one who feels this way. Mar 7, 2019 at 7:02
  • I also want an official policy put in place. The president always says stuff like the rules must be kept, and things must be done properly, but he breaks them himself sometimes. Having an official policy would make things clear. (I was a few seconds too late to edit, so I made a new comment) Mar 7, 2019 at 7:08

2 Answers 2


I think you're coming at this from the wrong angle. You've said

As it stands we don't have a process of keeping hours of people as we all come in at the same time, and the overtime hours are free...


unpaid overtime is a common thing

Yet in order to implement a flexi-time system you want to start tracking peoples hours. I've worked at plenty of places where I put in overtime, yet the moment someone starts tracking time, I stop and just do the hours required - this is a process that works both ways. Right now it seems that your staff are trusted and do more than the required hours, but in order to give flexi-time you want to erode that trust?

My suggestion would be to take a light touch on this. Perhaps send an email to everyone along the lines of:

"Hey everyone, we're aware of overtime/coming in early/other, so from now on we're going to be more flexible with our working hours. As long as you put in X hours a week/day and you're available between :start_core_hour and :end_core_hour feel free to manage your time as best you see fit"


Only if problems arise would I start looking at more official policies.

  • This essentially touches points that I was considering. Honestly, I want to get rid of the 'unspoken overtime' culture in our company. If it is really needed, I trust people to work it, but I would honestly prefer to pay for that overtime -- we are profitable enough to pay. As it is now, people stay after even when it isn't busy because others are. With a more 'free' schedule, people wouldn't feel pressured to work the same hours as others. The other reason I want to track hours is because the president of the company is really 'strict' with rules unless he can abuse something like he is now. Mar 8, 2019 at 7:50
  • In Japan, businesses under 3 years old are rarely audited, so unpaid overtime is pretty much standard. As we are already halfway through our third year, I feel it time to properly log hours (as is required when an audit comes). I don't mean for this policy to become more restrictive than now (as if someone is more than 30 minutes late they usually get scolded) but to be more flexible. Mar 8, 2019 at 7:53
  • 1
    Have you thought about using the looming audit as an excuse? "Hey guys we are about to get audited, lets start tracking hours before that happens"
    – Borgh
    Mar 8, 2019 at 9:29

There is no unique answer to the question - each company can make their own rules.

A "policy" could be made of a few statements like:

  • The company shall implement "flexible working hours";
    • An employee must be on the premises for no less than 9 hours, 8 working hours + 1 hour lunch break;
    • the employee must be on the premises between XX and YY (start time and end time), in order to facilitate better communication.

Of course, you can change any of the details and add new details, but that should be enough. You add these statements:

  • in a special document, and the company rules will refer to that document;
  • directly in an existing document, dealing with company rules.

MANDATORY: after you have a (more or less) rough sketch of the flextime rules, get the approval of your boss / CEO / whatever.

Companies which track employees' time usually provide a (contactless) electronic card (the size of a banking card). The face of the card has key information about the company and about employee (names, pictures, ...), and the electronic memory has some unique ID. The company will install some card readers, which employees have to use every time when going in and out. There are solution available for this on the market already.

Alternatively (maybe even cheaper), there are software solutions for that also.

  • 1
    My question was how to go about managing people's hours. How to keep track of who worked what hours. What time each person will be in the office. Of course I will get the approval, I plan on presenting the idea, but don't have this one detail worked out. (I am just under the CEO in the company) Mar 7, 2019 at 8:30
  • 1
    @さりげない告白: If you use an off-the-shelf electronic card reader as described in the answer, it will usually come with software that does all the tracking, and automatically calculates each employees "time balance", as information visible to both employee and employer. This is called "time accounting".
    – sleske
    Mar 7, 2019 at 10:44

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