Flexible Work

Flexibility Benefits Everyone

Something we wish was not a secret: Most initiatives to support caregiving employees will effectively support all employees. This is particularly true of flexible work programs. Employees have made their desire for flexible work known loud and clear, as shown in the many recent articles about employees looking to switch jobs for greater flexibility and also being willing to accept less compensation in exchange for flexibility. Studies have shown that flexibility reduces absenteeism and unwanted attrition and can improve recruiting, morale, and productivity. We work with employers to make effective, non-stigmatized flexible work available to all employees. Our  approach: uncovering the types of flexibility that would best serve your workplace, thinking creatively about how to design flexible work initiatives that meet your organizational needs, and focusing on careful implementation to make sure that employees are able to work flexibly without fear of career damage.

Work+Family Insight - Flexible Work

What Types of Flexibile Work Will Benefit Your Organization?

Individually tailored flexible work options are the key to an effective flexible work program. Part-time and remote work may be the best-known options, but they may not be enough. Other types of flexibility that support caregiving employees include: four-day workweeks, hybrid work, adaptable schedules with varied start and end times, flexible use of PTO, compressed workweeks, job sharing, floating holidays, and combinations of options such as working in the office for three hours a day during core business hours and working from home for five hours fit in around caregiving needs. Perhaps counterintuitively, some caregivers feel more supported by a fixed schedule because it allows them to arrange for childcare or eldercare. This is particularly true for employees who work in retail or hospitality where schedules vary and are typically posted with only a few days’ notice. We can help you identify the best flexibility options for your employees, draft a clear policy, and implement your new program to minimize flexibility stigma.

Work+Family Insight - Flexible Work

Supervisor Pushback and Flexibility Stigma

Fabulous flexible work initiatives can die on the vine if hit with supervisor pushback and flexibility stigma. Surveys show that supervisors do not feel equipped to manage employees who work flexibly, including those who work remotely. When they are faced with requests to work differently from how work has always been done, they resist – particularly if they are not supported by HR and higher levels of management.

Even if supervisors do agree to try flexible work, employees may opt out due to flexibility stigma – the knowledge that working flexibly will derail their career. Employees who work flexibly often report getting worse assignments, less mentoring, fewer opportunities, less money, poorer evaluations than others with comparable performance, less respect from co-workers, and no promotions. They are often the first ones picked for layoffs. To be effective, a flexible work program needs to be supported by an initiative to reduce flexibility stigma. We can help test for stigma and design a targeted remedial program.

Let’s talk about how you can work better with your caregiving employees.

Workforce 21C is now Work+Family Insight.