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4 Reasons to Add Workplace Flexibility

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

 

From Baby Boomers to Gen Yers, every demographic group wants more flexibility.

What do traditionalists, baby boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Yers share in common in the workplace? All four groups seek more flexibility for a better work/life balance.

While each demographic is motivated by different factors – for example, Gen Yers want to spend time in ways that are meaningful to them while baby boomers may be sandwiched between caring for young children and parents – all feel stressed from spending too much time at work and too little doing everything else.

To keep employees satisfied, employers are increasingly meeting employees’ requests for non-traditional ways to redefine the work day.

Defining Flexibility is Flexible

Employers can define workplace flexibility in any number of ways, but at its core is alternative scheduling in terms of hours worked – and where. Popular arrangements include part-time hours or job sharing, leaves of absence, ability to move on and off the “fast-track,” telecommuting and virtual offices, and phased retirement for those employees who are not ready to completely call it quits.

Reaping Retention

According to the 2010 SHRM-EIU Global Survey, C-suite executives believe their two biggest challenges with employee recruitment over the next ten years will be attracting and retaining the best people. By offering a flexible workplace, employers will attract candidates who would otherwise not have fit the job description or been interested in the role because of its schedule. The same flexibility will enable employers to retain key talent and avoid costly turnover and retraining issues.

The Boomerang Effect

Employees who are given flexibility are more likely to give back, putting in extra time at work when needed. In a 2011 survey conducted by Staples, Inc. of telecommuters who work for U.S. companies, 76% of these employees said they were willing to put in extra time and were more loyal to their companies since telecommuting. That’s because flexibility has been shown to drive morale and job satisfaction – and more engaged employees mean more productive ones.

What Works for One …

When it comes to flexible schedules, one size does not fit all. Employers need to create workplace environments that make sense for them and their employees. With four generations of workers together in the workforce, employers need to be sensitive to this diversity and structure work options that suits each group’s needs – without sacrificing the company’s.

Amy Gallagher has over 19 years of healthcare industry experience.  As Vice President at Cornerstone Group, she advises large employers on long-term cost-containment strategies, consumer-driven solutions and results-driven wellness programs. Amy speaks regularly on a variety of healthcare-related topics, is a member of local organizations like the Rhode Island Business Group on Health, HRM-RI, SHRM, WELCOA, and the Rhode Island Business Healthcare Advisory Council, and participates in the Lieutenant Governor’s Health Benefits Exchange work group of the Health Care Reform Commission.

 

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