Flexible Work Arrangements Benefit Employers And Employees

Flexible Work Arrangements Benefit Employers And Employees

Most flexible work arrangements are successful, and human resource professionals predict that telecommuting and other employer-offered flex options will increase substantially during the next five years, according to new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The 2014 Workplace Flexibility–Overview of Flexible Work Arrangements found that three-quarters or more (73 to 92 percent) of human resource professionals from organizations that offer flexible work say 16 types of flexible arrangements are somewhat or very successful.

Flexible work arrangements range from compressed workweeks, flex time and phased retirement to job sharing, break arrangements and shift flexibility. Sabbaticals, an additional type of flex arrangement, were defined as somewhat or very successful by fewer (66 percent) of respondents. Of the two-fifths (39 percent) of respondents who offer telecommuting, 26 percent said the practice increased productivity of employees and 32 percent said the absenteeism rates of those who telecommute decreased.

Employee requests for flexible work arrangements increased in the past year, 32 percent of HR professionals said. Respondents were most likely to report that less than 26 percent of their workforce currently uses each of the flexible arrangements offered.

The vast majority of respondents said telecommuting (83 percent) and other flexible work arrangements (89 percent) would be more prevalent in the next five years. But less than one-half said a larger portion of their workforce would be likely or very likely to telecommute (39 percent) or become eligible for flexible options (48 percent) in the next five years.

HR professionals also reported that flexible work arrangements have a positive impact on their organizations. More than one-half of respondents said that flexibility had a positive impact on attracting and retaining employees, turnover, absenteeism rates, productivity, quality of employees’ work, quality of employee’s personal life, employee health, company culture, company public image, and employee morale and job satisfaction. When asked what makes flexible arrangements work, HR professionals ranked buy-in from top management, commitment from employees, and a supportive organizational culture as very important.

The survey polled 525 HR professionals from April through June 2014. For more information, visit http://www.shrm.org.

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