Category Archives: Flexible Work Arrangements

Inflexible jobs also make non-parents miserable

Source: Jared Wadley, Futurity, April 30, 2018

Work-life balance is not an issue exclusive to women, particularly mothers, new research shows. Men and people without children can suffer when they feel that their workplace culture is not family-friendly, as well.

When employees think their careers will suffer if they take time away from work for family or personal reasons, they have lower work satisfaction and experience more work-life spillover. In addition, they are more likely to intend to leave their jobs, say researchers…..

….People typically think only women and moms experience work-family issues, and need flexible work arrangements, like telecommuting, part-time work, or job sharing. Society believes it’s women who bear the brunt of unfriendly work cultures, when it actually impacts all genders, says Lindsey Trimble O’Connor, lead author and assistant professor of sociology at California State University Channel Islands…..

Related:
Not Just a Mothers’ Problem: The Consequences of Perceived Workplace Flexibility Bias for All Workers
Lindsey Trimble O’Connor, Erin A. Cech, Sociological Perspectives, Online First, April 13, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Flexibility bias and the “ideal worker” norm pose serious disadvantages for working mothers. But, are mothers the only ones harmed by these norms? We argue that these norms can be harmful for all workers, even “ideal” ones—men without caregiving responsibilities who have never used flexible work arrangements. We investigate how working in an environment where workers perceive flexibility bias affects their job attitudes and work-life spillover. Using representative survey data of U.S. workers, we find that perceived flexibility bias reduces job satisfaction and engagement and increases turnover intentions and work-life spillover for all types of workers, even ideal workers. The effects of perceived bias on satisfaction, turnover, and spillover operate beyond experiences with family responsibilities discrimination and having colleagues who are unsupportive of work-life balance. We show that workplace cultures that harbor flexibility bias—and, by extension, that valorize ideal work—may affect the entire workforce in costly ways.

Why are more people doing gig work? They like it

Source: Cheryl Carleton, The Conversation, March 29, 2018

….The share of Americans doing everything from accounting to driving as independent contractors rose from 10.7 percent in 2005 to 15.8 percent in 2015, according to a study by economists Lawrence Katz at Harvard University and Alan Krueger at Princeton University. The trend was more pronounced among women, they found, rising from 8 to 17 percent.

Based on my prior research regarding labor markets and job satisfaction, I wanted to know if this number was rising so fast partly because Americans enjoy the flexibility these jobs offer….

….The approximately 3,600 people in this nationally representative sample included workers holding down regular jobs, as well as independent contractors and self-employed workers with some degree of control over their schedules. It also included contract employees lacking autonomy and flexibility, such as those working for temp agencies or with on-call obligations.

We also contrasted job satisfaction for employees in managerial or professional roles with workers in blue-collar occupations, and checked whether there were any differences for men and women.

As you might expect, we found that people with more control over their schedules and who could choose to some extent which tasks they would take on are significantly more satisfied with their work than their peers who hold regular salaried jobs – despite losing out on benefits and security…..

Organizing On-Demand: Representation, Voice, and Collective Bargaining in the Gig Economy

Source: Hannah Johnston, Chris Land-Kazlauskas, International Labour Organization, Conditions of Work and Employment Series No. 94, 2018

…. We begin with an overview of gig and platform work and the structural and institutional challenges that gig- and platform-based workers in building collective, group agency. This is followed by a review gigworker organizing strategies based on the institutions or organizations that workers have formed or joined for the purpose of building agency. We stress the importance of workers’ organizations – broadly defined – as a site to agglomerate the economic, political, and cultural resources necessary to provoke change. The tenure of organizations allows workers to experiment with various tools and strategies to improve conditions and adopt those that are effective. The four organizational structures we explore (union renewal strategies and new organizing initiatives, worker forums, worker centres, and cooperatives) represent a comprehensive list of organizations that are actively organizing and supporting gig economy workers. Given the rapid turnover of the on-demand workforce, we view the tenacity and adaptive strategies of workers’ organizations as vital to developing a sustainable and dynamic labour movement. Each initiative examined has its own section delineated by a heading and a summary of the principle strategies used. We then turn to efforts by employers’ organizations to support their members in adapting to, and influencing these new realities.

The paper ends with a discussion of barriers that self-employed platform workers face to effectively achieve collective bargaining and efforts to achieve effective representation and collective bargaining for workers in the gig economy. In this section we discuss important steps that could be taken to ensure the right to freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining among independent contractors, who often find their these rights curtailed by anti-trust legislation. This section also highlights a number of recent efforts at collective regulation undertaken by workers and platforms in the gig economy…..

Examining the Impact of Federal Employee Wellness Programs and Employee Resilience in the Federal Workplace

Source: Stephanie A. Pink-Harper and Beth Rauhaus, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Vol. 40, No. 3, Winter 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The term “family-friendly” has been broadened to “employee-friendly” to encompass employees who may not benefit from traditional familial benefits. This change in terminology, focusing on employees in a general sense, has not necessarily resulted in policies that are beneficial to a dynamic, diverse public service. As demographics and lifestyles of federal government employees change, human resource policies will need to adapt to meet the needs of this population. This research explores the impact that employee-friendly policies (i.e. family, health, and socio-economic) have on the employee, and the workplace environment. This project attempts to bridge the gap between the theory- driven creation of employee-friendly policies and the practice of beneficial policies that employees will take advantage of. Results suggest that as demographics of the public service change, the need for human resource practices to be modified becomes even more apparent to achieve an appropriate work-life balance. In order to address these challenges, this work offers policy recommendations for increased levels of job satisfaction, which focus on benefits useful in improving federal public servants’ wellness.

Federal Work-Life Survey Results

Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM), March 2018

From the memo:
The key findings of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Federal Work-Life Survey administered January 25 to March 10, 2017. This memorandum highlights the Federal workforce’s use and impact of work-life programs and provides guidance for agencies. OPM’s analysis indicates a significant relationship between participation in work-life programs and optimal organizational performance, retention, and job satisfaction. These outcomes emphasize the value of work-life programs as strategic tools that support organizational effectiveness. At the same time, there are opportunities for improvement through expanding support and reducing barriers to utilizing these programs…..

Flexible Work Hours Are Most Valuable Perk for Two out of Five Employees

Source: Elizabeth Ballou, Clutch, Press Release, February 22, 2018

Flexible work hours are the perk that can most influence employee satisfaction, according to a new survey by Clutch, a B2B research firm. More than 40% of full-time U.S. employees surveyed say that flexible hours are the most important perk they receive, and over half (54%) say it’s the perk that matters most to their job satisfaction. ….

Future Workforce Report: How Companies are Embracing Remote Teams to Get Work Done

Source: Upwork, February 2018

From the press release:
Upwork, the largest freelancing website, today released the results of its second annual Future Workforce Report, which explores hiring behaviors of over 1,000 U.S. managers. As companies struggle to fill the skills gap, they’re embracing agile, remote teams to get work done. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of companies today have remote workers, yet a majority lack remote work policies. ….

Companies have the resources, but lack the policies to support remote work
While companies feel confident they have the resources in place to support remote work, many lack a formal policy. Sixty-four percent of hiring managers feel that their company has the resources and processes in place to support a remote workforce, yet the majority (57 percent) lack a remote work policy.

Companies with work-from-home policies have become more lenient & inclusive
As companies increasingly embrace remote work, they’re evolving their work-from-home policies. Nearly half (45%) of hiring managers said their company’s work-from-home policy has changed in the past five years, with 60 percent saying it has become more lenient and inclusive. This increased inclusivity is making it easier for companies to find the talent they need. Over half (52%) of hiring managers that work at companies with work-from-home policies believe hiring has become easier in the past year.

Findings indicate remote work is likely to become the new normal
Over half (55%) of hiring managers agree that remote work has become more commonplace as compared to three years ago. Five times as many hiring managers expect more of their team to work remotely in the next ten years than expect less. In the next ten years, hiring managers predict that 38 percent of their full-time, permanent employees will work predominantly remotely…..

Related:
Results Deck
Infographic

The Gig Economy Is Especially Susceptible to Sexual Harassment

Source: Nathan Heller, New Yorker, January 25, 2018

…..Slowly, and in drips, though, data are trickling in. This afternoon, HoneyBook, a platform for freelance events-industry workers—photographers, caterers, stationery designers, and so forth—released results from a sexual-harassment survey it ran, in December, among users. The sample is limited, and hardly random. (The company sent a survey invitation to thirty-eight thousand of its users; a thousand and eighty-seven participated anonymously, and ninety-seven per cent were women.) But it’s not nothing, and the data start to light a candle in a room that has been dark.

The harassment numbers in the HoneyBook report are—one wishes this were a shock—high. Fifty-four per cent of the freelancer respondents reported being sexually harassed in the course of their work. Of those, seventy-seven per cent cited “unprofessional comments” about their appearance, three-quarters were called “demeaning nicknames” on the job, and a horrifying sixty per cent reported physical intimidation. Eighty-seven per cent never brought these incidents to anyone’s attention, even though eighteen per cent say they were harassed by the same person more than four times. (More than eighty per cent, in fact, continued working on whatever the harassment-filled project had been.) Those who did lodge complaints found their claims ignored more than half of the time…..

What Does Telecommuting’s Rise Mean for Traffic and Transit?

Source: Mike Maciag, Governing, October 30, 2017

…. Americans primarily working from home recorded its largest ever year-over-year increase in 2016, climbing to 5 percent of the workforce. Using the Census estimates, we compared each metro area’s average share of workers telecommuting in 2015 and 2016 with averages for 2006 and 2007. In 186 of the 252 areas with comparable data, the share increased. If this trend continues, Americans working from home will soon overtake the share of people who use public transportation, as it already has in many regions. The slow but steady shift carries numerous potential implications for transportation systems…..