Home Archives February 2006 HR: Flexible work schedules work

HR: Flexible work schedules work

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Flexibility on when and where work takes place makes good business sense for an organization, according to a survey of human resources professionals.

“Employers are realizing that allowing employees to work flexible schedules and handle some of their personal needs at work can improve both employee satisfaction and bottom-line results,” said Anne Ruddy, president of WorldatWork, which conducted the survey along with the Regional Research Institute for Human Services at Portland State University and the Alliance for Work Life Progress.

The Work-Life Flexibility and Dependent Care Survey found that there were strong business reasons for allowing employees to have a flexible schedule (defined as having choices about the time and/or location that work is conducted), most notably that such flexibility improved employee retention; increased employee commitment, productivity and job satisfaction; and decreased absenteeism.

The study found that the factors most important to employers when considering a flexible work request were impact on coverage, the ability of the employee to complete their duties and the impact on customers.

Eileen Brennan, associate dean at PSU’s Graduate School of Social Work, predicted that with the workforce growing older and the attendant need to deal with illness and family issues, work fl exibility will become so crucial that it will determine where people choose to work.

The study noted that while employers appreciate the boost in productivity and morale and workers reap the benefits of structuring work around their lives, it goes against the traditional work culture, which in the United States has meant long hours and face time at the office. The study found that flexible work requests due to medical, child care or other urgent personal matters are likely to be approved, “perhaps because a ‘good enough reason’ is required to trump the traditional presumption about when, where and how we work.”

Parents whose children experience behavioral difficulties at school might find their employers somewhat ambivalent about granting flex time, according to the survey. And employers were least likely to grant fl exible schedules for those training for a marathon or for a worker to care for a sick animal.

“There is a growing expectation that you can have work and family,” said Julie Rosenzweig, PSU associate professor of social work. She added that the aging baby boomers will redefi ne the need for flexibility beyond just dealing with medical and family issues.

Brennan, who advocates for paid family leave, emphasized that formal fl ex policies are still needed, referring to the survey results that determined the most common way for workers to ask for a fl ex arrangement is to informally contact an immediate supervisor. Also, one in three participants said that their work culture does not encourage employees to work flex schedules.

The good news found by the survey was that 56% of the companies surveyed allowed employees to deal with personal issues on company time, indicating an increasing accommodation of work-life balance issues.

WorldatWork is a not-for-profi t association focused on human resources disciplines; the Alliance for Work-Life Progress is a not-for-profi t association for work-life professionals. The survey respondents were from a mix of organizations and industries. — Robin Doussard

THE SURVEY SAYS...

From the perspective of your organizational leadership, how strong are the following business reasons for allowing employees to have flexible work schedules? (Percentages of respondents who answered “strong” or “very strong.”)

Improves job satisfaction: 77%

Improves morale: 77%

Improves work-life balance: 73%

Improves quality of life: 73%

Improves retention: 72%

Improves commitment: 72%

Source: Work-Life Flexibility and Dependent Care Survey

 

 

More Articles

Closing the gap: Community colleges and workforce training

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
03.27.14 thumb collegeBY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.


Read more...

Wheel man

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 33 Small Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

The future of money

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JAKE THOMAS

An ancient institution moves slowly into the digital age. 


Read more...

The more they change, the more they stay the same

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
100-best-collageBY BRANDON SAWYER

The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.


Read more...

How to handle the unexpected

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 28, 2014
03.28.14 thumb disasterBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

The next mysterious (or disastrous) event could be one that you or your team might suddenly need to respond to, probably under intense scrutiny.


Read more...

100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Monday, March 03, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 11.26.47 AM

Check out interviews with employees from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners and find out what makes their company a great place to work.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS