Flexible Workplace = Improved Health

09Nov10

from images.businessweek.com/ss/08/12/1223_lizryan_nowork/index.htm

For most employees, working a 40-hours, 5 days a week schedule is the norm.  Yet, from time to time, employees have personal and family obligations that conflict with this strict work schedule.  Unless, an employee has earned enough Paid Time Off (PTO) or Vacation time, he or she is stuck with trying to figure out how to deal with such constraints (i.e. getting approval from a supervisor or manager, losing pay).

In today’s tough economy, its not surprising workers are stressed.  Employees worry about job security, rising cost of living, health care cost, among others.  Stressed out employees are affected mentally and physically and their job performance is likely to suffer.  Unfortunately, stress not only affects the employee, the employer loses out as well.  Employers will pay as much as 50 percent higher health care cost for employees who are stressed. 

On the other hand, some employers who are willing to allow flexible work schedules have produced a healthier and more effective workforce.  Employees who are happy in their jobs are motivated and willing to go the extra mile for their company.  For example, my department has two work schedules–those who start at 6am and the rest who begin at 8:15am.  These differing schedules allow for coverage throughout the day.  Yet, you can bet there are some employees who would rather work the earlier shift and others who would rather work a later shift than even 8:15am.  Even still, some might be interested in working four 10-hour days (*raising my hand!*)  In a position such as customer service, reps are likely more willing to help customers when happy!

Nonetheless, from a management standpoint, it is understandable to focus on traditional processes that have worked.  Besides, aren’t we employees lucky enough to have jobs especially in this economy??  Sure.  On the other hand, what happens when the economy turns around and the unemployment rate drops?  Employees who are unhappy, stressed or underpaid are going to get out the first chance they get.

Whether you are an employee, an employer, in management or HR, how do you view a flexible workplace?

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