Is Houston Ready for Flexible Work Opportunities?

How would Houston evolve if more flexible work opportunities were available?   Would more employees be able to work for their dream organization—without a long commute?  Would employers be able to afford their dream candidates at a reduced rate?  Would Houstonians be able to care for loved ones, without guilt?  Would productivity and job satisfaction increase?

With work flexibility around time and location, new doors open.  Employees may have healthier lifestyles, more opportunities to assist and care for family members or loved-ones, more time for hobbies or developing interests.  Employers may have options to craft part-time or shared work opportunities, reduce the number of full-time staff, thus reducing costs.  They may have less need for office space; another area for cost savings.  They may be able to attract high-quality staff by offering flexibility as a benefit. According to a study conducted by Werk.co. in 2019, “flexibility has a positive impact on how employees care for themselves, care for others, and maximize performance and productivity”.  The report continues, for organizations, flexibility can influence employee retention, happiness at work, work output and employer reputation.

What is a flexible work arrangement (FWA)?  There are many different kinds of flexible work arrangements and definitions of flexibility, including arrangements of reduced time, work from home (or remote location), job-share, part-time, and adjusted hours.  New technology has created new opportunities to make remote work possible.  For better (or worse), many people can work almost wherever they are as long as they have access to a smart device and Wi-Fi.  Some employees in the workforce today have even grown up with expectations of flexibility at work.  FWA’s are here in Houston and it is up to us to harness the potential.

To make these kinds of relationships successful several principles are critical.  Effective employees demonstrate a strong work ethic, trust, open communication and passion for the work, and employers demonstrate openness to non-conventional arrangements.

A new group has formed to help build the “FlexWork” community in Houston.  We’re interested to help grow flexible work opportunities– to match employer needs with employee needs—that will ultimately accommodate the pace and flexibility required in modern life.  The Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce has established this committee to:

  • Help companies understand the benefits of offering “FlexWork” opportunities
  • Increase the visibility of these arrangements and the positive effects for both employees and employers
  • Create awareness and empower people desiring “FlexWork” arrangements
  • Offer suggestions on how to begin engaging in conversations about acquiring flexible work arrangements
  • Create/offer a common language (defining terms/arrangements), including policies
  • Create/offer conversations about “FlexWork” across the community for both women and men

It is our hope to increase the number of “FlexWork” opportunities to help employers find the talent they need to address workplace needs while helping job seekers find work that is both personally and financially fulfilling in a flexible framework.

The benefits for Houston’s talent and organizations are huge if more flexible work arrangements become available.  If you’d like to find out more about how your company can explore if flexible work arrangements are right for you, or if you’d like to join the community of folks interested in joining the conversation, contact Ashley Dietz at the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

Submitted by Rebecca Block and Gabriela Gerhart, Co-Chairs of the “FlexWork” Committee

GHWCC

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