Remote work options remain the No. 1 choice for organizations implementing workplace flexibility policies and programs. According to research released in October by WorldatWork and FlexJobs, while many managers still find it difficult to estimate the productivity of teleworking employees, 48% believe teleworkers are equally as productive as in-office employees.
Six different types of flexible work options
WorldatWork, a non-profit HR association and FlexJobs, a leading online career site, released the findings of the new survey, “Trends in Workplace Flexibility.” According to the survey, on average, companies offer six different types of flexible work options.
In her blog, “Workplace Flexibility: Neither for the Weak at Heart nor the Uncreative,” Rose Stanley, senior practice leader for WorldatWork, examines the top five most popular flexibility strategies for organizations today.
“We’re continuing to see companies approach workplace flexibility from all different angles -- there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to organizational success. And what works well for one company may not be the right strategy for another,” Stanley said.
Ad-hoc, Flex-time, Part-time all important
By far, the most prevalent flexibility programs offered are telework days on an ad-hoc basis, flex time, part-time work, job sharing and phased return from leave, according to the survey. From 2011 to 2015, flexibility programs have varied according to the type of program offered and the organization’s demographics, industry and culture. Additionally, 41% of those surveyed reported that access to flexible work arrangements is not widespread to all employees. (See Figure 29.) Frequently, only a small portion of managers (42%) accept the idea that flexibility is an essential element to organizational success. (See Figure 30.) Just 3% of organizations attempt to quantify the return on investment (ROI) of flexibility programs by measuring productivity, employee engagement and performance ratings. (See Figure 33.)
“The popularity of telecommuting matches what we're seeing at FlexJobs, in terms of what job seekers are most interested in when it comes to flexible jobs,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs and 1 Million for Work Flexibility. “Professionals view working from home, whether occasionally or all the time, as a valuable method for increasing their own productivity, better balancing their responsibilities, and finding a greater sense of control and happiness at work and at home. The great news for companies is that all flexible work, telework included, offers huge benefits for them as well, because it supports both business objectives and the bottom line.”
A few additional highlights from the 2015 survey:
- More than two-thirds of managers (67%) offer flexibility to all or most of their employees at their own discretion.
- 66% of organizations cover the purchase of laptops for their teleworkers, by far the most provided expense. (See Figure 19.)
- 44% of organizations do not feature or market flexibility as a key employee benefit when attempting to attract new employees. (See Figure 23.)
WorldatWork released similar workplace flexibility program surveys in 2013 and 2011.
The Total Rewards Association
WorldatWork (www.worldatwork.org) is a nonprofit human resources association for professionals and organizations focused on compensation, benefits and total rewards. It's our mission to help total rewards professionals achieve their career goals and influence their organizations’ success. We do so by providing thought leadership in total rewards disciplines from the world's most respected experts and fostering an active community of total rewards practitioners. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork has offices in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Washington, D.C., and is affiliated with more than 70 human resources associations across the United States and around the world.
Founded in 2007 by Sara Sutton Fell, FlexJobs (www.flexjobs.com) is the leading online service for professionals seeking telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time and freelance jobs. With flexible job listings in more than 100 career categories and opportunities ranging from entry-level to executive, freelance to full-time, FlexJobs offers job-seekers a safe, easy and efficient way to find professional and legitimate flexible job listings. Having helped more than 1 million people in their job searches, FlexJobs has been featured on CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company and Good Morning America, among hundreds of other trusted media outlets.