The topic of work/life balance is not a new one. The term has been tossed around for many years, but it seems that we’re hearing about it more than ever before. Why? There are few reasons. First, the face of our country’s workforce is changing – younger-generation Millennials, who now represent more than one quarter of our country’s population, make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, according to CMO.com. Second, a large portion of today’s workforce brings with them new perspectives about work, and a new set of priorities – with work/life balance often being more important than the size of their paycheck.
With all this in mind, employers are starting to embrace flexible work models for their organizations. These models don’t just benefit younger workers. They can also benefit older first-time parents – in their late 30s or early 40s – who have babies and toddlers at home. Flexible work models can also benefit older working adults who are the primary caregiver to an aging parent and need flexibility in their day to tend to important parental matters.
Many workplace experts and consultants sing the praises of flexible work models for many reasons. It not only encourages a greater work/life balance but it also gives employees the opportunity to be more creative, more productive and less stressed because they’re able to work when it’s most convenient to them. Basically, flexible work models are conducive to getting stuff done!
Here are some of the most popular flexible work models that companies are embracing:
Unlimited Time Off
Yes – some companies are implementing unlimited time off policies, and seeing good results from it. If you think it sounds like the perfect opportunity for employees to abuse a benefit that could hurt the company’s success in the long run, you’re not alone. But most companies that offer unlimited time off to employees have good things to say about it.
In many cases, employees end up taking the same amount of time off as they did under their former vacation policy. The benefit is in the message it sends to employees. Unlimited time off policies convey that employers understand their employees needs a flexible way to take time off from work – and they trust their employees to not take advantage of the benefit.
ROWE – Results Only Work Environment
ROWE, which stands for Results Only Work Environment, is a management strategy that was the brainchild of two HR employees working for electronics giant Best Buy in 2003. Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson developed ROWE when they were working on new HR policies for the company, and the system was implemented at Best Buy in 2005.
The premise of ROWE is that employees can do whatever they want at work – show up at the office (or not), attend meetings (or not), work from home, take unlimited time off – as long as they produce results. Managers set the goals and expectations, and employees need to deliver. Best Buy had success for several years with ROWE, but shifted away from it a few years ago.
ROWE is a radical shift for any workplace, but it does work for some. You can learn more about ROWE in Ressler & Thompson’s book.
Work from Anywhere
Perhaps the old name for this flexible work model was “Work from Home”. But thanks to technology and new work environments like co-working spaces, more employers are allowing employees to work from anywhere. As long as they’re dialed into what’s happening back at the office (if there even is a physical office!) and they’re getting their work done, that’s all that matters.
Flex hours can be carried out in different ways by employers. Flex hours might mean that an employee has the option of working a second or third shift, or maybe they have the option of working ‘banker’s hours’ (historically that means starting your day around 10am and working until 3 or 4pm). Flex hours could also mean they’re able to put in a 4-day work week, or they can start their day and end their day at whatever time they like. As an employer, they key is to determine what kind of flex model is the best fit for your business and employees. Not sure which option your employees would prefer? Send out an online survey and find out what their top picks are.
Another way to add flexibility to your company’s work model is to add temporary or contract staffing to the mix. Because flexibility is so desirable for many of today’s job seekers, some gravitate towards work opportunities that are short-term or contract-based. Adding these kinds of flexible positions to your company’s roster can make you more attractive to certain job candidates. If you want learn more about temporary or contract staffing, connect with any of our four CT offices. We can answer your questions and help get your new work model set up.