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Making Work-Life Flexibility Work

Are your employees seeking work-life flexibility? While having flexibility in when, where and how you work is increasingly becoming the norm at companies of all sizes, a new study, the Work+Life Fit Reality Check, reveals there are still some roadblocks in the way.

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Among the findings of the study, conducted by the Flex+Strategy Group:

Flex+Strategy group offers some tips for employers to help get the most benefit from work-life flexibility. First, while employees tend to perceive their workload as an obstacle to work-life flexibility, you can help them understand how flexible arrangements can actually help them handle the workload. “Increased workloads may be here to stay but work-life flexibility can help employees strategically manage their lives while getting the work done,” the report says. Flextime and telework are key ways employees can still be productive while managing life outside of work.

Second, make sure lingering fears aren’t keeping employees from taking advantage of work-life flexibility. Even though these concerns have decreased dramatically since the study was first conducted in 2006, there are still respondents who didn’t improve their flexibility because:

If you’re going to offer flexible arrangements in your workplace, make sure everyone understands how the system works and that managers at all levels buy in.

Finally, as Flex+Strategy advises, keep in mind that work-life flexibility needs to be, well, flexible: “Include both informal, day-to-day flexibility as well as formal plans that officially change when, where or how work is done.” In fact, the survey found the most commonly used type of flexibility was “some type of day-to-day, ad hoc” flexibility (62 percent), followed by formal flextime (46 percent) and formal telework (33 percent).  As a small business owner, your company is well positioned to leverage that type of  day-to-day flexibility.