Flexible work has an image problem. Too often, people associate flexibility with compromise and free riding (and pyjamas).But studies have shown that flexible working conditions are a win-win for employers and employees alike.
So is flexibility a good thing? All roads lead to yes.
I became a bit obsessed with the benefits of flexibility while reading Annabel Crabb’s latest book ‘The Wife Drought’. It is such a smooth and original read you won’t even notice that it is jam packed with statistics and research. Like this one: a study of 25,000 IBM employees found that people given the flexibility to work from home and manage their work hours were able to produce 30 more hours of work PER WEEK than their desk-bound colleagues before they reached their ‘breaking point’ (the point at which their work began to negatively impact on their life). Flexibility alone bought IBM 30 more hours of work per week for their money. Isn’t that amazing?
My mate Annabel and I are not the only ones banging on about the economics of workplace flexibility. In 2014, the Whitehouse published a paper on the subject citing a number of studies in support of the positive flexibility/ productivity correlation. The paper went on to to explore the effect on profitability. The best example was this: A study tracked the announcements of new work-life balance policies by Fortune 500 companies in The Wall Street Journal. It found that, on average, firms’ stock prices rose by 0.36 per cent on the days following the announcements of the flexible work initiatives.
So the idea that flexibility is a gift or privilege is a bit outdated. Employers should embrace it simply because it is good economics.
What do you think? Is flexibility good business? What sort of flexibility do you need?
Thought leader(s): Annabel Crabb
Source(s): Crabb, A (2014) ‘The Wife Drought’, Random House; The Whitehouse Council of Economic Advisers (2014) ‘Work-life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility’, via link.