Some of the nation’s leading employers are throwing out the old rule book and experimenting with flexible work arrangements in an effort to attract, retain, and motivate the best employees. Here are a few related stories we noted this week:
Smashing the Clock by Michelle Conlin, Business Week Online:

“At most companies, going AWOL during daylight hours would be grounds for a pink slip. Not at Best Buy. The nation’s leading electronics retailer has embarked on a radical–if risky–experiment to transform a culture once known for killer hours and herd-riding bosses. The endeavor, called ROWE, for “results-only work environment,” seeks to demolish decades-old business dogma that equates physical presence with productivity. The goal at Best Buy is to judge performance on output instead of hours.

Hence workers pulling into the company’s amenity-packed headquarters at 2 p.m. aren’t considered late. Nor are those pulling out at 2 p.m. seen as leaving early. There are no schedules. No mandatory meetings. No impression-management hustles. Work is no longer a place where you go, but something you do. It’s O.K. to take conference calls while you hunt, collaborate from your lakeside cabin, or log on after dinner so you can spend the afternoon with your kid.”

Work less, gain more, an article in Management-Issues:

“Offering key employees the opportunity to work fewer hours at reduced pay and benefits might seem like heresy—particularly in U.S. corporations. But a new study has revealed that some household name employers have woken up to the very real benefits that such flexibility can bring.

According to Dr. Ellen Ernst Kossek of Michigan State University’s School of Labor and Industrial Relations, flexible work schedules that offer reduced workloads could be a key way of attracting, retaining and motivating top-performing employees. She and colleague Mary Dean Lee of McGill University in Montreal looked at a number of American and Canadian firms that had been experimenting with reducing workloads for at least six years.

Their study included such big names as IBM, Starbucks, Deloitte & Touche and General Mills, where they talked to employees, managers and executives to get their thoughts on how the arrangements were working. Kossek says the study showed that reduced-load work arrangements can reap several key benefits for employers, including greater productivity, less turnover and cost savings.”

Most Women Aren’t ‘Opting Out’ of the Work Force, Simmons Study Finds – Women are Leading the Way to a New Career Model – a press release discusses this recent study:

“Noting that more than 60 percent of the women surveyed said they would be more loyal and “go the extra mile” for an organization that offered flexible work arrangements, Shapiro said that organizations can benefit significantly by encouraging flexible work arrangements for women and men.

“There’s a workforce shortage on the horizon,” she said, “and flexible work arrangements may be the main strategic advance in the coming decades in attracting and retaining male and female essential talent.”


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