flexibility benefits both employers and employees,
according to US study
- 1st June 2014
you work here? Source: ThinkStock
MORE than two-thirds of U.S. workers feel a constant
strain between meeting the demands of their work schedules
and tending to their personal lives.
a new study shows that a little extra flexibility
on the part of employers can go a long way in reducing
from the University of Minnesota found work environments
that allow their employees increased schedule flexibility
and supervisor support are able to also minimise workers
struggles with balancing work and family time.
study has major practical value in helping organisations
imagine similar ways to resolve their employees
chronic sense of being pulled in two directions by
obligations at work and at home, study researcher
Phyllis Moen said in a statement.
study, Changing Work and Work-Family Conflict: Evidence
from the Work, Family, and Health Network, was published
online this week by the American Sociological Review
and will appear in the journals June issue.
approximately 700 employees from a Fortune 500 companys
information technology department, the randomised
field trial split the sample into two groups: The
first group was given control over where and when
they worked, along with an increase in support from
their supervisors on personal and family issues. The
second group worked within their normal conditions.
research, which was funded by the National Institutes
of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), found that, over the course of six
months, the employees with the modified work environments
not only experienced a reduction in the tension between
their work and family life, but also felt that they
were more in control of their schedule and had enough
time to tend of all of their responsibilities.
study gave us the chance to look very carefully at
how modifying the workplace can effectively address
work-family stresses, said researcher Erin Kelly
in the statement. The purpose was to help employees
work more effectively and more sanely, so they can
get their work done well but also address their personal
and family needs.
this year, the National Workplace Flexibility Study
revealed that flexibility can also do wonders for
team morale and performance. Over the course of the
research, managerial concerns that the flexibility
would be used inappropriately by employees decreased
by 23 per cent as they realised the benefits it provided
the team and workplace as a whole.
despite the mounting evidence supporting the benefits
of workplace flexibility, the 2014 National Study
of Employers from the Families and Work Institute
found that there is less support of such a model by
American employers today than there was in 2008. The
data may show that allowing employees to control more
of their work schedule ultimately benefits everyone
involved, but employers must be willing to deviate
from the traditional workday format to witness this
increase in workers health, happiness and productivity.