Workforce reports that despite the troubled economy – and partly because of it – there has been a 25 percent increase in workplace flexibility programs among employers with more than 1,000 workers. According to a recent survey conducted by the Families and Work Institute of New York, 81% of the 400 companies surveyed have maintained flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting, compressed workweeks, phased retirement and voluntary reduced hours, and 13% have increased such programs. Only 6% of the surveyed companies have eliminated flexibility programs. Companies are using flexible work arrangements to minimize layoffs and to bolster productivity and retention. You can learn more by downloading a copy of the study: The Impact of the Recession on Employers (pdf).
Employers that are interested in exploring or benchmarking best practices in workplace flexibility can look to Twiga Foundation as a resource. Triga is a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring, promoting and maintaining family-consciousness at home, in the workplace and in the community. One of the central tenets of the organization is that to be an effective employer, work should work for both the employer and the employee. Among its many resources, it offers a handy chart explaining the most common variations in flexible work arrangements (pdf).
Twiga also issues an extensive guide profiling organizations that have developed innovative approaches and new models in how, when and where work gets done, When Work Works (pdf). Profiles featured in this report are comprised of organizations that were winners of the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility in 2007. This award recognizes exemplary employers of all types and sizes in participating communities across the U.S. for their innovative workplace effectiveness and flexibility initiatives. Some of the common characteristics these organizations share include:
- These employers don’t see looking over employees’ shoulders as the way to ensure good work. They trust employees, but hold them accountable and focus on results
- They don’t see the individual employee in potentially heroic terms. It is the team that must deliver performance.
- They don’t think that automatically putting “customers first” above employee concerns is the best way to succeed. They have learned that a workplace that addresses staff issues has a staff that is more responsive to customers
- They don’t think that killer hours are the only route to profit. They try to ensure that their employees have the time and space for renewal to do their best work
- They don’t say that “only work-centric employees need apply.” They find that dual-centric employees – who contribute to their communities and are involved with their families – are among their most committed and productive employees