Flexible hours create productive, satisfied
Nine to five isn't
the only way to have your employees make a living.
A two-year study of 1,353 employers by the Boston
College Center for Work & Family concludes that increasing workplace
flexibility in most cases "is a win-win situation for both companies
and the individuals they employ."
Both workers and managers agree in the survey
that increased workplace flexibility had a positive impact on work
quality, productivity and retention.
The study looked at three types of work flexibility:
- Traditional flextime, in which the employee
has a say over when the work day starts, but the day includes
certain core hours determined by the manager;
- Daily flextime, which lets workers vary
their work hours on a daily basis; and
- Telecommuting, in which an employee's work
schedule includes off-site work, usually performed from home.
Because the pace of everyday life is quickening,
daily flexibility holds the most promise, the study concludes. When
employees have a say in which hours they work -- and which they
can use to run to the dry cleaners or pick up children from school
-- employers gain more productive and satisfied workers who are
less likely to leave.
Telecommuting was the most problematic of the
types of workplace flexibility. The survey found a widespread belief
among managers that the work-at-home arrangement has a negative
impact on the employee-supervisor relationship. The workers also
were wary of telecommuting. They were more likely to feel that they
are not viewed as committed to their jobs, and suspect they are
losing out on challenging assignments.
Regardless of the type of workplace flexibility,
the study says, it's important that companies address head-on the
issues of communication, equity and clarity of objectives that are
raised by a more open policy toward work hours.
Have you considered flexible work hours or telecommuting
at your business?
Jan. 24, 2001