Whether called telecommuting, teleworking or mobile work, flexible work arrangements are highly valued by today’s workforce. They are equally beneficial for companies because they create engaged employees and individuals who are more productive and loyal. Flexible work arrangements are here to stay and should be a critical element of any company’s employee engagement, employer branding or diversity initiative. Are they a part of your initiatives?
Flexible work arrangements are beneficial to companies
Many companies believe that flexible work arrangements are a great tool for increasing the number of women and millennials in their workforce. Flexible work arrangements are actually an incredible motivator for all employees! The average teleworker is 49 years old, man or women, a college graduate, works for a company with 100 or more employees and earns $58,000 a year.[i]
For many employees, flexible work arrangements is a key tool for managing the complexity and hectic nature of modern life. Americans work an average of 47 hours a week, and even more if they are salaried workers – 49 hours week.[ii] Roughly 60% of two-parent households with children under the age of 18 have two working parents. Among dual income households, when you combine paid work, childrearing and household chores, each parent works an average of 58.5 hours a week[iii]. Adding to that, many American workers have a very long commute. The average commute time in the US is 25.4 minutes, which takes 50.8 minutes of possible work and family time out of each workday.[iv] No wonder that flexible work arrangements are increasingly important for today’s workforce!
Teleworking is strongly supported by a vast majority of workers
A study by Global Workplace Analytics showed that 79% of U.S. workers say they would like to work from home at least part of the time.[v] In 2014, the Indeed Hiring Lab saw a preference for flexible work across generations and warns that this benefit will become even more important as the labor market tightens. “Search terms associated with flexible work are consistently among the top terms used by job seekers of any age. This will become increasingly important for employees as the labor market tightens, and companies compete for talent.”[vi]
Form follows function
You can learn more about the benefits of flexible work arrangements for both companies and employees by reading my white paper, “Form Follows Function: Flexible work arrangements and tailored office design improve productivity, morale, and your ability to attract and retain critical workers!” It provides strong evidence in support of allowing employees, depending on their job responsibilities, to work from home or be mobile workers. It also discusses the pitfalls of open office plans and cube farms in terms of lost productivity and privacy.
Finally, the white paper presents a case study on the successful implementation of “flexible work place,” which I co-led at one Medtronic location. Flexible work place is a customized work approach, where each company creates the flexible work arrangements and office design that best fits its culture and business strategies. Its goal is to provide the right technology and workspace to support where, when and how employees and teams work.
As a result of its flexible work place implementation, this Medtronic location improved employee productivity, morale, and its ability to attract and retain critical workers. It also maintained the cultural alignment of employees while cutting real estate costs and carbon emissions. Moreover, it provided a return on its investment within two months of its implementation!
Download “Form Follows Function” by going to my website, http://www.victorhrconsultant.com and to the Papers/Presentation column on my Home Page.
Victor Assad is a strategic human resources consultant and coach who works with key decision makers and human resources leaders on talent management, accelerating change, leadership development, and other strategic initiatives such as mergers and acquisitions, strategy implementation, and flexible workplace. Please e-mail Victor at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Victor’s website at www.victorhrconsultant.com.
[i] Alina Tugend (March 9, 2014) “The Rise of the Telecommuter. Studies show out-of-office work, though still ill-defined, can lead to better, happier employees.” The New York Times.
[ii] Lydia Saad “The ’40-Hour’ Workweek Is Actually Longer – by Seven Hours. Full-time U.S. workers, on average, report working 47 hours weekly.” (August 29, 2014). Found at http://www.gallup.com/poll/175286/hour-workweek-actually-longer-seven-hours.aspx.
[iii] Kim Parker and Wendy Wang (March 14, 2013) “Modern Parenthood: Roles of Moms and Dads Converge as They Balance Work and Family.” Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends. Retrieved from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/03/14/modern-parenthood-roles-of-moms-and-dads-converge-as-they-balance-work-and-family/.
[iv] “Average Commute Times,” WNYC. Retrieved from http://www.project.wnyc.org/commute-times-us/embed.html#5.00/42.000/-89.500
[v] Global Workplace Analytics, by Kate Lister. www.globalworkplaceanalytics.com/telecommuting-statistics. May, 2014.
[vi] Tara Sinclair (January 22, 2015) “Wake-Up Call. Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer Candidates Aren’t Really So Different”. Retrieved from www.ere.net/2015/01/22/millennieal-gen-x-and-baby-boomer-candidates-aren’t-really-so-different/.