Flexible Work Arrangements: No Longer the Exception

Telecommuting and flextime work have been in the news recently, thanks to enormous companies like Yahoo, Bank of America and Best Buy shifting their corporate policy on scheduling and location arrangements. Non-profit business research firm Catalyst has found, however, that flexible working arrangements continue to rise despite these moves from the struggling giants.

The numbers speak for themselves: 81% of the employees who responded to the Catalyst survey reported that their company offers some kind of flexible working arrangement (FWA), such as the option to telecommute, flexible arrival and departure times, a shorter work week with more work per day, or other non-traditional schedules.

One of the primary myths that the survey hopes to squash is that traditional working arrangements produce the best possible job performance, which past studies have suggested is a deep-rooted and persistent fallacy. A 2010 study published in the journal Human Relations showed that employees with increased “face time” — meaning the amount of time they’re present and able to be observed on-site — were perceived as “dependable” and “committed” based solely on their physical presence at the office.

There are a few ways in which this myth might be hurting companies who subscribe to it, but one of the biggest is highlighted in Catalyst’s findings. Their study indicates that high-potential employees are attracted to companies with at least one available FWA, so companies that cling to the old idea that face time equals productivity run the risk of driving away top talent with their policies.

Not all FWAs reduce face time, of course — most flextime schedules still call for employees to be present at the office for 40 full hours each work week, but allow them to choose which days of the week and which hours of the day they use to fulfill that requirement. This way, companies who aren’t yet ready to make the leap to a telecommuting arrangement may still have ways to lure high-potential, FWA-conscious employees into the fold.

In fact, flexible arrival and departure was reported as far and away the most popular FWA among respondents to the Catalyst survey, with 64 percent of flex-working employees using it more than any other non-traditional arrangement.

As more companies update the 20th-century model of 9-to-5 office jobs with some flexibility in schedule or location, it’s becoming clearer that flexible work arrangements can work. They may not be the rule yet, but evidence shows they’re no longer the exception.

This article was originally published on OnlineDegrees.com

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