11 Aug 2023

Flexible working glossary

Flexible working is more than just a buzzword in today’s employment landscape, it is becoming a mainstay of workplaces all over the world, with 63% of professionals working flexibly.

wooden dices spelling the word "flexibility" on orange background

That being said, it can be confusing for people operations professionals and employees alike to get adapted to lots of new lingo. Find below our comprehensive glossary, filled with every term you need to understand the world of flexible working!

Annualised hours

An employee’s total working hours over a year are calculated and agreed upon, but the distribution of those hours across the year can vary. Instead of a fixed weekly schedule, employees might work more hours during busy periods and fewer during quieter times. This approach provides businesses with flexibility in managing labor resources based on demand, while also offering employees a degree of autonomy in scheduling their work.

Compressed hours

Employees cover their total agreed-upon working hours over fewer days. For instance, instead of working a standard 5-day week, an employee might work the same number of hours over 4 days. Another popular example is the ‘9-day fortnight,’ where two workweeks’ hours are completed in nine days.

Condensed hours

This is another term for compressed hours, where employees complete their standard weekly working hours in fewer days.

Flexible working

A work arrangement that allows employees to alter their standard working hours, days, or location, catering to both individual and business needs. This is an umbrella term, and can encompass various setups including compressed workweeks, flexitime, job sharing, remote work, and staggered hours, among others. In the UK, a new flexible working bill recently came into affect, allowing workers to make flexible working requests from day one of employment. Keep an eye out, this trend is bursting onto our working landscape!


A work arrangement that allows employees to choose their own start and finish times, as long as they work core hours, and complete the number of hours they are contracted to work. For example, an employee may work 10AM-6PM versus 9Am-5PM.

Summer Fridays

A workplace perk often offered during the summer months, where employees are allowed to leave early on Fridays or take the entire day off to enjoy extended weekends. This policy acknowledges the cultural and recreational importance of summer weekends and aims to boost employee morale, work-life balance, and retention. The specific arrangement can vary from company to company, with some offering early departures every Friday, while others might provide full days off on alternating Fridays or only specific dates.

Work from anywhere (WFA)

An employment arrangement that grants employees the flexibility to perform their tasks from any location of their choice, be it their home, a café, a co-working space, or even another country. Unlike traditional remote work, which might still tie an employee to a specific region or time zone, WFA emphasises complete geographic flexibility.

4 day week

Employers work four days a week versus the usual five. They are trusted to work extra efficiently during their four day week, in order to make sure employee productivity does not plummet. The practice seems to have originated via a pilot programme in Iceland.

9 day fortnight

Employees complete their standard two-week workload in nine days, typically by extending the length of eight of those days and taking the tenth day off. This results in employees having an extra day off every two weeks. Some employers offer the 9 day fortnight without forcing their employers to work compressed hours or suffer a pay cut.