Workplace flexibility, fact or myth?

edited August 2015 in HR Documents Vote Up0Vote Down
Tony sent me a link to an interesting article (link below) at [url][/url] about workplace flexibility.

It's about how in some companies with flexible work arrangement policies the culture undermines the policy, resulting in an employee perception that the company talks-the-talk but fails to walk-the-walk. According to the article's author it creates "flexibility stigma" when employees are penalized for using the benefit provided in the policy.

I am fortunate that I work for a company that walks-the-walk. In fact, I'm working at home today. But, I'm curious about other companies.

Does your company offer flexible work arrangements? If so, do very many employees use them?
Do supervisors intentionally, or inadvertently, punish employees who ask to use flexible schedules?
Do you offer training to supervisors on how to respond to such requests?
Does your organization have a flexible work arrangement agreement for employees to sign.

Your thoughts?



  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • We have a flexible work policy, but it only extends to flexing the hours that you come into work, not working from home. Since we are open to the public seven days a week, working from home is not an option. We have public service desk hours that have to be covered and materials to be put back on the shelves.

    Our rules are that the revised schedule must continue to support the operational needs of the library and allow for appropriate oversight of an employee’s work. You do not have to supply a reason for asking. We do have one employee who comes in later because they have such difficulty with morning hours. This actually gives us more coverage during the right after work and supper rush, which is helpful.

    We have many employees that have used it: from coming in early so that they can attend class after work to coming in later because they have children to get to school. We have a “first come, first served” policy so that we never run out of employees to cover public service areas, but it have never been an issue.

    The use of flexible scheduling does not effect the chance for promotion. Most of that is based on education (librarians have to have a master’s degree in library and information science). We have one librarian who used it when they were full time and that employee has returned to us (after moving back) part time. Their need for flexible scheduling will not stop us from hiring her back to full time when she is ready and she will still have a flexible schedule at that time.

    It has been a morale booster.
  • Sounds like a workable system that meets employees needs as well as the company's.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Anyone else want to chime in?

  • I can speak of my own experience. We do not have a formal flexible work policy but do have a policy on alternative work schedules that allows employees to work non-traditional hours. My recent personal experience was my employer allowed me to work remotely from a medical facility while my mother was in hospice care. This allowed me to be where I felt I needed to be and also work when I was able. I am grateful for that opportunity and feel fortunate my employer allowed that, policy or not. I believe such flexibility builds employee loyalty and is essentially a no-cost benefit.
  • I just finished a huge proposal to the CEO and CFO on this very issue - it took about 6 months to put together, so keep your fingers crossed!

    Currently, only certain departments have flexible work arrangements, depending on job duties. Of those departments who offer it, I'd wager 75-80% of those employees take advantage of them. I haven't seen any backlash, and in fact, our supervisors/managers use flex just as often as their employees, which I feel is a good thing - it shows that the managers value it, therefore employees may too.

    Eventually I would like to include formal training for supervisors on how to respond to flex requests, but currently we don't have anything. Generally these requests will go from the supervisor/manager to my department, where we help the supervisor/manager field the request.
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