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Monday, September 20, 2021

Are flexwork options the new workplace norm?

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Whether due to family dynamics, mental or physical health status, or simply a desire to avoid being confined to beige cubicle farms, the demand and desire for a more flexible work schedule has increased significantly as the digital age allows for more convenience into our personal and work lives.

The number of employers allowing flexible work arrangements has consistently increased over the decades alongside demands from employees. A study by WorldatWork and FlexJobs found that in 2015, 80% of companies offered some sort of flexible work arrangement for employees.

Flexible work hours, such as a condensed work week or only working as many hours as needed to complete job duties, and flexible work locations not only add a sense of freedom for employees, but also create a stronger sense of control over their career and increased satisfaction in their jobs. Upwards of 73% of employees cited flexible work arrangments as increasing their job satisfaction, per a 2018 report, The State of Flexible Work Arrangements, from Zenefits.

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These feelings of increased satisfaction and control can manifest into more creativity, productivity and energy due to employees having a more integrated work-life structure. The integrated lifestyle created by the added flexibility allows employees to focus more on in-office issues and tasks while at work instead of spending work time expending mental energy on issues at home that they cannot take care of due to needing to be in the office for 40 hours a week.

Union+Webster, an integrated marketing agency, flourishes under a standard of flexibility by having employees establish their working hours up front with their team and utilizing tools such as Slack and Dropbox to stay productive even when some members are out of the office on a Monday morning.

The company’s CEO, Gina Michnowicz, said, “Our team is full of explorers. Employees need flexibility in their work environment. A few employees have enjoyed working from Bali, Costa Rica, Berlin, etc.  They return energized with lots of great stories.”

Returning to the office well rested is one of the biggest payoffs for employees and the increase in productivity due to higher employee satisfaction is a benefit employers gladly reap. However, these benefits do come with hidden dangers for both employer and employee that must be taken into consideration before utilizing flex options.

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