Companies offer it, but few take them up on the offer – flexible work arrangements

Companies offer it, but few take them up on the offer – flexible work arrangements – Brief Article

A closer look at surveys about flexible work arrangements reveals some paradoxical results; employees want flexibility, companies are offering it, but few are taking advantage of the offerings.

Because most organizations put the decision in the hands of the manager, it all seems to come down to the supervisor’s relations with the employee, says Dave Stum, president of AON Consulting’s Loyalty Institute, “or the employee’s reading of the supervisor.” This article describes three studies — one by AON, one by Mercer/Bright Horizons, and one by SHRM, all of which show the number of employers offering flexibility has grown by nearly 10% in four years (68% now offer flextime and 50% offer compressed workweek, says Mercer). But even though another Mercer study showed 74% of 24,000 employees wanted flextime and said they would probably use it, the vast majority use it very little or not at all. So if managers are the gatekeepers, what can companies do to open the gate? Only a fourth of employers polled by Mercer issue guidelines, and guidelines can make a difference for managers who are hesitant, as long as they’re not so lengthy and detailed that they end up being more rigid than 9 to 5. It will also he lp, says Stum, if an organization has clear job descriptions, competency models and goals, and a structure for deciding if a job is appropriate for flexibility. Otherwise, he suggests, you’re allowing thousands of supervisors to come to that conclusion “whichever way they want to.”

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