In a report on NPR’s Marketplace today, Jennifer Ludden gave the first in a three-part series discussing flexible work arrangements (FWAs) and creative solutions employers are finding to create work-life balance for their employees.
The piece, titled “More Employers Make Room for Work-Life Balance,” illustrates examples of how local employers are raising productivity and engendering employee loyalty and retention by allowing them flexibility in where and when they work. She describes one local Northern Virginia software company, List Innovative Solutions, that has 100 employees. In 16 years of business, the owner, Katie Sleep, has had a 95 percent retention rate, mainly due to the flexibility the firm offers.
For those with families and personal obligations outside of work, flexibility becomes ever more attractive, and even more important in some cases than compensation.
“Work cannot be everything,” Sleep says. “People who have their lives are far better workers.”
Increasingly, flexible work arrangements are becoming more common, as the business community responds to the needs of changing demographics. Today, women hold half the jobs in the U.S., and need flexible work arrangements to be able to manage the multiple demands of both family and work.
Luckily, today’s communications technology makes it possible for people to telecommute without sacrificing productivity. People can now work and communicate from home, in transit, or from a remote location, tearing down the traditional barriers of the workplace.
Indeed, some say that we are experiencing something like another industrial revolution, although this time it is a “work/time revolution.” While U.S. labor laws are still suited for the workforce of the 1960s, the business community and civil society are leading the way toward a new era of work.
Corporate Voices for Working Families advocates for flexible workplace arrangements as a beneficial talent management tool. Studies show that FWAs help create a more engaged, productive, and loyal workforce. Corporate Voices recently released two toolkits— one for managers and one for employees– offering helpful and practical tips and guides on how to implement or request a flexible workplace program, how to manage a dispersed team, and other useful practices.
Do you enjoy a flexible workplace arrangement or do you know of a company considering implementing a flexibility program? Feel free to share your views of FWAs here.