One thing is clear about the workforce of the future! Flexible work will be part of most people’s work experience at some point in their career.  People are choosing to work for companies that offer flexible work arrangements. With the coronavirus impacting so many businesses and companies asking employees to work from home, this is an opportunity to pilot flexible work programs and see how they can work in your company. So what is flexible work and how can this benefit your company?

What is Flexible Work?

Flexible work comes in various forms for both full-time and part-time employees. Here are a few of the variations that you may find:

  • Full-time remote work opportunities exist that allow employees to work from anywhere they wish home office, coffee shops, co-working space, etc.
  • Some remote work opportunities require that you live in a specific time zone, country, or close enough to drive into the office on occasion.
  • Many part- or full-time positions allow for flexible hours as long as it fits into the company’s parameters, like overlapping hours during certain parts of the day or working a set number of hours a day or week, instead of on a schedule. These types of positions require that you get the work done without relying on how long the job takes.
  • Freelancers cover a wide variety of options. They can work on-site, off-site, or a mixture of the two. They often find remote or on-site work that’s flexible, as well. This work can be temporary or long-term.
  • Job sharing is another option. A way for two people to share one job, job sharing involves options like split schedules with one person working Monday Tuesday Wednesday and another person working Wednesday Thursday and Friday. With one common day to transfer information. Another job-sharing option could be to divide work by clients.
  • You may find some positions involve a combination of everything: on-site work, remote work, and even travel.

As demand increases for flexible work, employers continue to offer new and creative solutions to keep employees happy and to keep good talent in-house.

Why should you consider flexible work as an employer?

Flexible work is gaining traction amongst employers and businesses, both nationally and internationally. There are many reasons as to why, but according to one study, offering flexible work options increases worker loyalty, a major benefit for both the employee and the employer!

For instance, one study found that employees achieved an improved work-life balance with flexible work. This balance increases employee well-being, which is good, in turn, for the company itself.

Coworking spaces are popping up to support entrepreneurs and employees alike. “Flexwork, from our experience here at Sesh Coworking, is a movement. We are seeing corporations, small businesses, students, and entrepreneurs incorporate flexible work because it allows time for collaboration, outside of the office inspiration, networking for fast resources, and provides the opportunity for meaningful breaks which has been shown to increase productivity.” – Maggie Segrich, Co-founder of Sesh Coworking.

Another study conducted by Stanford University found that flexible work increased the performance of employees by 13%.

What are companies doing in Houston?

In Houston, consulting firms such as Deloitte are leading the way. Deloitte published a recent article and infographic summary of results taken from their 2020 workplace flexibility survey.

This survey builds upon prior research that Deloitte conducted in relation to burnout and the future of work, as well as helping to showcase why flexibility should remain top-of-mind for organizations. Flexibility also contributes to inclusion by removing potential barriers to engaging in work so that everyone can connect, belong, and grow.

The findings include:

  • People are taking control of their well-being, despite some lingering concerns they have that doing so could impact them professionally
  • 90% of respondents said that they valued workplace flexibility and 82% said that they had used flexible benefits
  • Most surveyed professionals (53%) believed that flexibility does not impact team dynamics
  • There is a lingering sense of stigma, with 29% of respondents saying that they felt there were potential consequences to using flexibility options and a lack of trust from management/leadership (27%)
  • To advance flexibility within an organization, 52% of surveyed professionals believed that the CEO or another leader of the company had the greatest impact

For many years, the Oil and Gas industry in Houston have had employees working 4/10’s (a workweek with 4 days a week and 10 hours a day) (traditionally offered by EPC or consulting firms) and 9/80’s (9 days of work in 2 weeks for a total of 80 hours) (traditionally E&P or Operators). This allows some flexibility when it comes to giving employees more time for personal pursuits or the potential to save money on commuting costs or childcare, but the model still requires employees to work a set number of hours per week at certain times. We have seen new initiatives offered by some companies which include remote working options or adjusted work hours, for example, offering employees the ability to start their day any time between 6am and 9am in order to accommodate those who have other activities that need to be accomplished in the morning.

Come to the GHWCC Flex Work Committee Event: “Is Houston Ready for Flexible Work?”

April 2, 5:00-6:30pm

The Motherhood Center

Are you interested in learning more about how to incorporate flexible work in your company or how to ask for flexible work at your job? Then join us for the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce event at The Motherhood Center on Thursday evening April 2 from 5 pm-6:30 pm. Sign up here. http://ghwcc.chambermaster.com/events/details/is-houston-ready-for-flexible-work-schedules-panel-8116

 

Story By: Anna McKay, Return to Work Coach & Founder of Parents Pivot, Amy Richardson and Susan Daniels co-founders of The Dragonfly Partners recruiting company

 

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