Category Archives: Flexible Work Arrangements

Increasing Employee Motivation and Organization Productivity by Implementing Flex-Time

Source: Trish A. Petak, Gabbie S. Miller, American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences, ASBBS Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference, 2019
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From the abstract:
Businesses are more efficient when employees are motivated and productive. This study investigated the correlation between flex-time and motivation in employees, as well as flex-time and productivity in employees. The research methodology used for this study was correlation research designed to examine the relationship between flex-time and motivation and the relationship between flex-time and productivity. This quantitative study consisted of 63 voluntary participants. The findings of this study illustrated a very strong positive correlation between flex-time and employee motivation and a strong positive relationship between flex-time and employee productivity.

Family-Friendly Policies, Gender, and Work–Life Balance in the Public Sector

Source: Mary K. Feeney, Justin M. Stritch, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Volume 39 Issue 3, September 2019
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From the abstract:
Family-friendly policies and culture are important components of creating a healthy work environment and are positively related to work outcomes for public employees and organizations. Furthermore, family-friendly policies and culture are critical mechanisms for supporting the careers and advancement of women in public service and enhancing gender equity in public sector employment. While both policies and culture can facilitate women’s participation in the public sector workforce, they may affect men and women differently. Using data from a 2011 study with a nationwide sample of state government employees, we investigate the effects of employee take-up of leave policies, employer supported access to child care, alternative work scheduling, and a culture of family support on work–life balance (WLB). We examine where these variables differ in their effects on WLB among men and women and make specific recommendations to further WLB among women. The results inform the literature on family-friendly policies and culture in public organizations.

Work–Life Program Participation and Employee Work Attitudes: A Quasi-Experimental Analysis Using Matching Methods

Source: Sun Young Kim, David Lee, Review of Public Personnel Administration, OnlineFirst, January 13, 2019

From the abstract:
Work–life programs (WLPs) have been widely adopted and implemented by public organizations as a means of providing employees with greater choices and flexibility in coordinating their work and personal lives. Although previous research has shown that these programs are positively related to various employee attitudes and behaviors, empirical evidence about whether and how such relationships vary by type of WLP is relatively scant. In this study, we categorize WLPs into two different types—work-oriented and life-oriented programs—and explore whether and how participating in distinct types of WLPs has varying impacts on employee work attitudes. A series of Mahalanobis distance matching is conducted using data from the 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The results indicate that the use of life-oriented programs has a positive and substantive impact on employee satisfaction and commitment, while the effect of participating in work-oriented programs is not statistically significant

On the Grid 24/7/365 and the Right to Disconnect

Source: C. W. Von Bergen, Martin S. Bressler, and Trevor L. Proctor, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 2, Autumn 2019
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From the abstract:
Technological developments over the past few decades in laptop computers, smartphones, wifi connectivity, and other digital communication approaches have made it easier for people to work remotely. While many appreciate the flexibility and increased productivity these technological advancements provide, some lament that the ability to work anywhere, anytime has transformed into the expectation to work everywhere, all the time. The authors of this article discuss the issue and examine domestic and international right to disconnect practices.

Treading Water: The Current Challenges of Women’s Work

Source: Shilpa Phadke and Diana Boesch, Center for American Progress, January 18, 2019

…. This column reviews how women’s work is segmented and undervalued; how workers at the margins—such as domestic workers, farm laborers, part-time workers, and gig economy workers—face persistent barriers and inequality; and how policymakers must prioritize centering workers’ voices and holistic needs and experiences as they craft meaningful economic policy. While this column does not detail the myriad ways in which women often struggle to maintain their economic security to the detriment of their health, it is important to emphasize that women do not live their lives in silos, and access to a range of programs and policies, such as comprehensive reproductive health services, as well as access to affordable education and skills-based learning, are critical to women’s economic success. ….

Understanding Trends in Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States

Source: Lawrence F. Katz, Alan B. Krueger, National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 25425, January 2019
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From the abstract:
This paper describes and tries to reconcile trends in alternative work arrangements in the United States using data from the Contingent Worker Survey supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS) for 1995 to 2017, the 2015 RAND-Princeton Contingent Work Survey (CWS), and administrative tax data from the Internal Revenue Service for 2000 to 2016. We conclude that there likely has been a modest upward trend in the share of the U.S. workforce in alternative work arrangements during the 2000s based on the cyclically-adjusted comparisons of the CPS CWS’s, measures using self-respondents in the CPS CWS, and measures of self-employment and 1099 workers from administrative tax data. We also present evidence from Amazon Mechanical Turk that suggests that the basic monthly CPS question on multiple job holding misses many instances of multiple job holding.

Related:
The economists who predicted a surge in gig jobs say they were wrong
Source: Steve LeVine, Axios, January 7, 2019

Home is Where the Job Is … The Pros and Cons of Alternative Work Arrangements for Employers

Source: Daniel K. Miles, FordHarrison, 2018

From the summary:
Whether you blame advances in technology or the influx of millennials into the modern workplace, the age of time cards and punch clocks is inching ever closer to extinction. In research recently conducted by ADP, “freedom” was identified as a basic human need, and 81 percent of modern employees felt they should be able to work from anywhere in the world. As a result, employers now find themselves facing the reality of “alternative work arrangements.” As the title implies, alternative work arrangements are those structured outside of the traditional 9-5 office environment. Perhaps the most prevalent alternative work arrangement impacting employers today is remote workplaces. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, at least 43 percent of American workers are working remotely at least part of the time. That number is unlikely to decrease and, accordingly, employers would be wise to determine how best to address this evolution of the modern workplace sooner rather than later. In reality, alternative work arrangements – including allowing employees to work from home – is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. Still, an understanding of the pros and cons of these types of arrangements is imperative to protecting employers and maintaining a happy and productive workforce.

Low Pay Has Teachers Flocking to the Sharing Economy

Source: Alia Wong, The Atlantic, August 17, 2018

One in 10 Airbnb hosts in the U.S. is a teacher, a new report shows.

Airbnb, the popular platform that lets people rent out their homes and apartments, released the results of a volunteer survey this week containing the striking statistic that nearly one in 10 of its hosts in the United States is an educator. In some states the trend appears to be even more pronounced—more than a quarter of all Airbnb hosts in Utah and Wisconsin, for example, work as teachers or in education (the company includes in that category administrators and college professors). This is especially noteworthy given that an analysis of census and National Center for Education Statistics figures suggests that just less than 2 percent of adults in the country work as full-time K–12 teachers.

Many of these 45,000-plus educators in the U.S. are presumably using Airbnb to supplement their regular income, as teachers struggle with stagnant, if not declining, pay. The average annual salary for K–12 public-school teachers is roughly $58,000, and they typically spend a sizable chunk of that on classroom supplies integral to their jobs. Teachers’ frustration with the situation has become so acute that it drove educators en masse to the picket lines in certain parts of the country this past spring.

New Benefits—Time to Address Benefits for Alternative Work Arrangements?

Source: Lori Welding Jones, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 44, No. 1, Summer 2018
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On February 6, 2018, the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on “Exploring the ‘Gig Economy’ and the Future of Retirement Savings.” Although the title would suggest a focus on gig workers only, some of the testimony addressed the retirement security of a broader group of individuals engaged in alternative work arrangements, i.e., all workers employed other than as common law employees.

Four-Day Working Week Trial

Source: Perpetual Guardian, 2018

Perpetual Guardian is embarking on a world-first: we are running an unprecedented productivity trial for six weeks, starting 5 March. As part of the trial, all our staff – more than 200 people around New Zealand – are being offered a free day off every week. All other employment conditions, including remuneration, are unchanged. Andrew Barnes, our founder and CEO, says the decision to test the new way of working is “the right thing to do.” He was inspired to conduct the trial by several global productivity reports and our recent internal survey, which asked staff how productivity, innovation and engagement can grow. …..

Related:
A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Result
Source: Charlotte Graham-McLay, New York Times, July 19, 2018

A New Zealand firm that let its employees work four days a week while being paid for five says the experiment was so successful that it hoped to make the change permanent. The firm, Perpetual Guardian, which manages trusts, wills and estates, found the change actually boosted productivity among its 240 employees, who said they spent more time with their families, exercising, cooking, and working in their gardens…..
Four-day working week trial at New Zealand company so successful its boss wants to make it permanent
Source: Tom Embury-Dennis, The Independent, July 19, 2018

A four-day working week trial at a company in New Zealand was so successful its boss wants to make it permanent. The firm, which deals with wills and trust funds, conducted the eight-week experiment earlier this year. It saw its 240-strong workforce, in 16 offices across the country, retain full pay alongside a three-day weekend. Andrew Barnes, chief executive of Perpetual Guardian, said he had made a recommendation to the board to continue the policy after an analysis revealed a “massive increase” in staff satisfaction with no drop in productivity. The research, Mr Barnes said, was conducted by two independent academics drafted to ensure an objective analysis of the impact on the company and workforce.

Research suggests there’s a case for the 3-hour workday
Source: Chris Weller, Business Insider, September 27, 2017
– The average worker spends most of the eight-hour workday doing many other things beside work, including eating, socialising, or reading the news.
– Psychologists have found the brain can’t focus on tasks for more than a few hours at a time.
– Some companies have started adjusting their schedules to help employees maximise their efficiency.

In Sweden, an Experiment Turns Shorter Workdays Into Bigger Gains
Source: Liz Alderman, New York Times, May 20, 2016

Arturo Perez used to come home frazzled from his job as a caregiver at the Svartedalens nursing home. Eight-hour stretches of tending to residents with senility or Alzheimer’s would leave him sapped with little time to spend with his three children. But life changed when Svartedalens was selected for a Swedish experiment about the future of work. In a bid to improve well-being, employees were switched to a six-hour workday last year with no pay cut. Within a week, Mr. Perez was brimming with energy, and residents said the standard of care was higher. …. The experiment at Svartedalens goes further by mandating a 30-hour week. An audit published in mid-April concluded that the program in its first year had sharply reduced absenteeism, and improved productivity and worker health. ….