Best in Class Companies Offer Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements take advantage of workplace technology to provide employees flexibility and freedom in the workplace.

 

Defining Flexible Work Schedules

According to the 2011 Work+Life Fit Reality Check, eight out of 10 full-time employees currently use some type of day-to-day, work-life flexibility. Among the specific types of work life flexibility, 62% report that they use “ad-hoc flex”, 55% use “day-to-day flex hours” and 46% use “formal flextime.”

Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) increase company productivity and business resilience.  When employees feel they have a say in how they approach their jobs, customer service and morale improves, staff retention goes up, and the overall value of the business increases. In some cases, by utilizing FWAs, companies even reduce the line item expense of on-site office space. What better way to move forward in 21st century!

At The Hartford, we support flexible work arrangements because we recognize the diverse needs of our employees.  We believe that with greater flexibility and work-life integration, our employees are better able to achieve their business and personal goals.

Flexible Work Arrangements and Workplace Technology

Flexible Work Arrangements are often associated with life needs.  Ever changing kid’s schedules, unpredictable health issues, or a change in your partner’s work environment will definitely impact your need to “flex!”  Maximizing current workplace technology taking advantage of virtual, mobile, or VPN technologies while managing the work-life integration allows individuals to adjust their lives as needed and still get the job done!  Why should you have to be boxed into a corner trying to meet everyone’s needs?  Best-in-class companies say – make it work based on YOUR dreams. 

BUT…. the key is to keep employees CONNECTED using collaboration tools.

Workplace Flexibility Starts with Internal Collaboration Tools

Next-generation businesses leverage expertise wherever it resides and allow knowledge to flow quickly and freely to the right people, at the right time, and with the proper context.  Organizations from all industries, who turn to internal collaboration tools, enable work to be done from anywhere.  Collaboration tools open the floodgates to provide knowledge and document management capabilities, discussion boards, calendaring and photo sharing. (Many companies are even including the vendor partners!)

For example, one of my remote work colleagues likes to take his coffee in the morning cafe style while the sun comes up. Collaboration technology allows him to work where ever, when ever and on his terms.  And guess what – he works harder and more hours because of it!

Work is no longer a place you go, its what you do.

Is your organization ready for change? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how to gain buy-in…

PS- Last Spring I participated in a Think Tank on the virtual workforce.  Key findings and best practices were summarized in a white paper, “Virtual Workforce: The Changing Face of Absence and Productivity in the Technological Age.”

Lisa Bonner is the Assistant Vice President of Contemporary Work Practices at The Hartford.  She is the proud mother of very active 14 year-old twin boys and resides in Suffield, Connecticut. Connect with her on LinkedIn.  The opinions expressed are personal and not related to The Hartford.

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