There are six ways to make the workday adaptive to your employees' needs and workstyles, and while some are familiar standbys in the flexibility conversation—Remote and PartTime, for example—others may be new concepts. Enter: TimeShift.

TimeShift is one of the flex types that can give companies room to lead; and its definition is, yes, quite flexible. In short, TimeShift is all about unconventional hours. But in practice, TimeShift could take any number of forms.

For example, some employees might use TimeShift to literally shift their work hours earlier or later. Perhaps these employees have recurring medical appointments in the morning and would be more productive if they worked from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Perhaps they have family commitments in the evening and need to work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Perhaps they want to avoid rush hour on the roadways, or maybe they have a health condition that makes it advantageous to use mass transit during off-peak times.

Or maybe these workers just want to capitalize on their most productive hours—to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. Some people are night owls, after all, and others are early birds. Body clocks are influenced by a variety of factors, and the new research has shown that the "social jet lag" of being forced onto the same 9-to-5 schedule can lead to a host of health issues and lost productivity. With TimeShift, these employees can shift their workday so it has a positive impact on themselves and their company.

Alternatively, some employees might use TimeShift to split their work hours each day. Perhaps they have recurring appointments with a medical provider in the middle of the day, or perhaps they feel energized by midday workouts. (A recent study found that workers who exercised in the middle of the day got more work done, used fewer sick days, had lower medical expenses—and on days they worked out, they enjoyed improved time management, better mental performance, more success meeting deadlines, and an overall performance boost of about 15 percent.)

Unfortunately, there's a massive gap in TimeShift supply and demand. Our research shows that 74 percent of employees need TimeShift, but only 21 percent can access it. TimeShift is even more popular among millennials: 77 percent need it—and, don't forget, millennial employees are most likely to leave their jobs for a more flexible alternative.

Without TimeShift and other forms of flexibility, workers can suffer. According to our research, the current workday structure makes it difficult for 29 percent of respondents to perform optimally in their role, for 29 percent to perform sustainably over time, for 30 percent to be available for recurring health appointments, for 29 percent to manage a physical condition or chronic illness, and for 36 percent to make time for exercise and healthy living.

Think TimeShift could give your company room to lead? Before implementing TimeShift—or any new flexibility initiative—it’s important to first assess the needs of your employee population and get the data and insights necessary to identify and address key people risks. Are you ready to get started?