Getting hired by a company that believes in workplace flexibility is a dream come true for many people, whether you're a new mother or are just starting out in the workforce. Workplace flexibility allows you to easily blend your career with your personal life, which is especially ideal if you're raising a family while working. Flexible workplaces take many forms, but the key to each is the lack of a traditional, rigid structure.
Companies approach the concept of workplace flexibility differently, but the key to this term is that the workplace doesn't follow many traditional rules regarding scheduling. In a flexible workplace, employees can often create their own hours and schedules, work from home on occasion and even take time off to deal with family or personal situations. A common trait of a flexible workplace is a compressed week; an employee can make up her 40 hours in a number of ways to allow her to take a day off as needed.
A flexible workplace has morale and financial benefits. This type of working environment often attracts quality candidates, who might choose this type of business over one without flexible conditions. According to Open Forum, people who work in a flexible workplace will often have higher morale, as they see this philosophy as beneficial to them. With better, happier employees, productivity can increase. Open Forum reports that Cisco saved $195 million in 2003 by allowing employees to work from home.
One of the most important keys to ensuring a flexible workplace thrives is communication, reports Ernst & Young's Karen Wensley, as quoted in the "Financial Post." An organization that institutes flexibility for its staff must ensure that communication doesn't suffer, even with employees working from home. For example, a method of keeping communication intact could be that employee who work from home must check in with the office hourly, Wensley says.
Benefits for Women
Although flexible workplaces are appealing to both genders, this type of working environment has additional perks for women. After their maternity leave, many women face the difficult choice of quitting their job or going back to work and placing their child in day care. Women who wish to exit the workforce but re-enter at a later date can often do so in a flexible workplace, according to the Sloan National Initiative. For example, if you want to take more than a year off after the birth of your child and then work a couple days from home, it's often possible in a flexible workplace.
- Georgetown Law: Definition of Workplace Flexibility
- The Wall Street Journal: Is a Flexible Workplace a Better Workplace?
- Forbes: How a Flexible Workplace Saves Money and Lifts Morale
- IBM: Achieving Success With a Flexible Workplace
- Families and Work Institute: Workplace Flexibility: A Guide for Companies
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.