PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES KNOWLEDGE BUILDING VIA FLEXIBLE WORKING TIME: THEORETICAL CONCEPTS AND EVIDENCE FROM LATVIA
Promotion of knowledge building and life-long learning are concepts set by the European Commission for several years already. Also ﬂexible working time is an issue recommended to be applied in organisations within the EU. Even more - as serious economic slowdown in the last years affect labour markets and most of the organisations and employers are forced to cut salaries or even numbers of employees, an alternative instead of ﬁnishing labour relations with employees, is introduction of ﬂexible and especially part-time employment. It allows maintaining working places and in certain cases provides greater opportunities for employees’ knowledge building.
The aim of the paper is to analyse theoretical concepts of ﬂexible working time adjustment and its interaction with knowledge building and basing on the entrepreneurs and inhabitants surveys performed by the authors, discuss possibilities for ﬂexible working time increase in Latvia that would allow knowledge building within organisations.
The article reﬂects previous research works both on organisational ﬂexibility and on employees’ knowledge building and research results of the surveys performed by the authors (entrepreneurs survey comprising of 1526 respondents representing private sector and employees survey comprising of 2194 respondents).
It is discussed that there are both positive and negative aspects for applying ﬂexible working time. Adjustment of ﬂexible working time allows keeping employees with organisations and, even more – allows more free time for employees whose salaries rates are subject to decrease, providing them more free time that may be used for their capacity building. The most important negative aspect concerning ﬂexible working time adjustment, basing on inhabitants opinion, is related to lower salary levels. At the same time one should consider that most persons due to economic slowdown are subject to wage reductions and even ﬁnishing of employment relations without ﬂexible working time adjustment. Thus ﬂexible working time, including shortened working hours is an option for the current economic situation. Besides, due to reduced economic activity employers may allow more free time for employees that can be used for knowledge building. The article concludes that there are huge possibilities for increasing organisational ﬂexibility in Latvia, since most of the employers have not even thought on the possibility to adjust ﬂexible working times.