Category Archives: Flexible Work Arrangements

2017 National Study of Employers

Source:Kenneth Matos, Ellen Galinsky and James T. Bond, Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 2017

The National Study of Employers is a comprehensive look at employer practices, policies, programs and benefits that address personal and family needs of employees. The survey of more than 900 U.S. employers with 50 or more employees was conducted by the Families and Work Institute and is released by SHRM as part of the When Work Works initiative.

The study provides insight into how employers are responding to the changing demographics of the workforce over time and examines flexible work arrangements, paid and unpaid parental and other caregiver leave, and elder care assistance, among other practices. This is the sixth published study since the project was launched in 1998.

Key findings include:
• Small employers (50-99 employees) were more likely than large employers (1,000 or more employees) to offer all or most employees 1) traditional flextime, the ability to periodically change start and stop times (36% vs. 17%), 2) control over when to take breaks (63% vs. 47%) and time off during the work day to attend to important family or personal needs without loss of pay (51% vs. 33%).
• Growth of workplace flexibility has been stable over the past four years. Out of 18 forms of flexibility studied, there were only four changes:
• An increase in employers that offer telework, allowing employees to work at least some of their paid hours at home on a regular basis (40% in 2016 vs. 33% in 2012).
• An increase in employers that allow employees to return to work gradually after childbirth or adoption (81% in 2016 vs. 73% in 2012).
• An increase in organizations that allow employees to receive special consideration after a career break for personal/family responsibilities (28% in 2016 vs. 21% in 2012).
• A decrease in organizations that allow employees to take time off during the workday to attend to important family or personal needs without loss of pay (81% in 2016 vs. 87% in 2012).
Related:
Summary

Fight Trump. Work From Home.

Source: Tasneem Rajamar, Mother Jones, April 2017

Remote jobs are great for work-life balance—and democracy. ….. By 2020, Dell hopes that half its workforce will be doing at least some remote work. A report released by the company in June 2016 found that thanks to telecommuting, 35,000 US employees each saved the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon dioxide on average every year—even when you consider the extra energy required for heat and lights in a home office….. What’s more, a group of researchers found that for low-income people, the longer their commute is, the less likely they are to vote. And another study shows that no other daily activity brings out as many negative emotions as the morning commute—not dealing with the kids, cleaning the dishes, or even being at work. When you’re already stressed out and annoyed, finding the energy to engage politically is just that much harder…..
Related:
The Sustainability Benefits of the Connected Workplace
Source: John Pflueger, Sarah Gibson, Christian Normand, Dell, June 2016

The “Daily Grind” – Work, Commuting, and Their Impact on Political Participation
Source: Benjamin J. Newman, Joshua Johnson, Patrick L. Lown, American Politics Research, Vol 42, Issue 1, 2014
(subscription required)

Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being
Source: Daniel Kahneman and Alan B. Krueger, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 20, Number 1, Winter 2006

Can a Flexibility/Support Initiative Reduce Turnover Intentions and Exits? Results from the Work, Family, and Health Network

Source: Phyllis Moen, Erin L. Kelly, Shi-Rong Lee, J. Michael Oakes, Wen Fan, Jeremy Bray, David Almeida, Leslie Hammer, David Hurtado, Orfeu Buxton, Social Problems, Advance Access, First published online: 29 December 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We draw on panel data from a randomized field experiment to assess the effects of a flexibility/supervisor support initiative called STAR on turnover intentions and voluntary turnover among professional technical workers in a large firm. An unanticipated exogenous shock—the announcement of an impending merger—occurred in the middle of data collection. Both organizational changes reflect an emerging employment contract characterized by increasing employee temporal flexibility even as employers wield greater flexibility in reorganizing their workforces. We theorized STAR would reduce turnover intentions and actual turnover by making it more attractive to stay with the current employer. We found being in a STAR team (versus a usual practice team) lowered turnover intentions 12 months later and reduced the risk of voluntary turnover over almost three years. We also examined potential mechanisms accounting for the effects of these two organizational changes; STAR effects on reducing turnover intentions are partially mediated by reducing work-to-family conflict, family-to-work conflict, burnout, psychological distress, perceived stress, and increasing job satisfaction. The effect of learning about the merger on increasing turnover intentions is fully mediated by increased job insecurity. STAR also moderates the negative effects of learning about the merger on turnover intentions for different subgroups. Findings provide insights into the effectiveness of an organizational intervention, the dynamics of organizations, and how competing logics of two organizational changes affect employees’ labor market expectations and behavior.

Three Generations of Telework: New ICTs and the (R)evolution from Home Office to Virtual Office

Source: Jon C. Messenger, Lutz Gschwind, New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 31, Issue 3, November 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
‘New ICTs’, such as smartphones and tablet computers, have revolutionised work and life in the 21st Century. Crucial to this development is the detachment of work from traditional office spaces. Today’s office work is often supported by Internet connections, and thus can be done from anywhere at any time. Research on detachment of work from the employer’s premises actually dates back to the previous century. In the 1970s and 1980s, Jack Nilles and Allan Toffler predicted that work of the future would be relocated into or nearby employees’ homes with the help of technology, called ‘Telework’. Analysing technological advancements — the enabling forces of change in this context — over four decades sheds new light on this term: they have fostered the evolution of Telework in distinct stages or ‘generations’. Today’s various location‐independent, technology‐enabled new ways of working are all part of the same revolution in the inter‐relationship between paid work and personal life.

A Quasi-Experimental Examination of Telework Eligibility and Participation in the U.S. Federal Government

Source: David Lee, Sun Young Kim, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Published online before print December 4, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article examines the causal effects of telework eligibility and participation on employee attitudes, including perceived fairness, job satisfaction, and intention to stay, in the U.S. federal government. Drawing on the literatures on social exchange and organizational justice, we investigate how telework eligibility and participation influence employee attitudes and whether different reasons for nonparticipation have varying impacts. Our findings show that those employees who are eligible to telework report higher levels of perceived fairness, job satisfaction, and intention to stay than do those employees who are ineligible. On the other hand, the effects of telework participation on employee attitudes depend upon the reasons why nonparticipants do not telework. Specifically, when employees do not telework because of insufficient technical or managerial support, they report significantly lower levels of perceived fairness, job satisfaction, and intention to stay than do teleworkers. However, nontelework due to job requirements or personal choice does not have significant, negative effects on work attitudes.

Work–Family Balance and Alternative Work Schedules: Exploring the Impact of 4-Day Workweeks on State Employees

Source: Lori L. Wadsworth, Rex L. Facer, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 45 no. 4, December 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In 2008, the State of Utah implemented a 4-day workweek for their employees. This article examines the impact on employees using a postimplementation survey. For employees on the 4-day schedule, there were no significant differences by gender on work–family balance or on the impact of the schedule. However, women did demonstrate slightly more positive attitudes toward the 4-day schedule. Employees with children at home reported lower work–family balance and greater impact of the 4-day schedule. In contrast, no difference in attitudes toward the 4-day schedule was found by age, although work–family balance differed among age groups. There were differences in work–family balance between employees on the 4-day schedule and those on traditional schedules; however, the more substantial factor was whether an employee selected his or her schedule. The current study highlights the importance of engaging employees when making significant organizational changes, such as transitioning from traditional work schedules to alternative schedules.

Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety

Source: John Howard, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: 25 October 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Arrangements between those who perform work and those who provide jobs come in many different forms. Standard work arrangements now exist alongside several nonstandard arrangements: agency work, contract work, and gig work. While standard work arrangements are still the most prevalent types, the rise of nonstandard work arrangements, especially temporary agency, contract, and “gig” arrangements, and the potential effects of these new arrangements on worker health and safety have captured the attention of government, business, labor, and academia. This article describes the major work arrangements in use today, profiles the nonstandard workforce, discusses several legal questions about how established principles of labor and employment law apply to nonstandard work arrangements, summarizes findings published in the past 20 years about the health and safety risks for workers in nonstandard work arrangements, and outlines current research efforts in the area of healthy work design and worker well-being.

Collective Bargaining Database

Source: Labor Project for Working Families, 2016

The Labor Project has updated their collective bargaining database with over 1,100 pieces of work and family language. Here’s the link for the new database and examples of model language for Paid Sick Days.

Contents include:
Assistance Services and Training Related Issues
Benefits
Child Care
Committees
Definition of Family
Dependent Care
Elder Care
Fair Schedules and Flexible Work Options
Family Sick and Other Leave
Funds
Other

Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements

Source: Alexandre Mas, Amanda Pallais, NBER Working Paper No. 22708, September 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We use a field experiment to study how workers value alternative work arrangements. During the application process to staff a national call center, we randomly offered applicants choices between traditional M-F 9 am – 5 pm office positions and alternatives. These alternatives include flexible scheduling, working from home, and positions that give the employer discretion over scheduling. We randomly varied the wage difference between the traditional option and the alternative, allowing us to estimate the entire distribution of willingness to pay (WTP) for these alternatives. We validate our results using a nationally-representative survey. The great majority of workers are not willing to pay for flexible scheduling relative to a traditional schedule: either the ability to choose the days and times of work or the number of hours they work. However, the average worker is willing to give up 20% of wages to avoid a schedule set by an employer on a week’s notice. This largely represents workers’ aversion to evening and weekend work, not scheduling unpredictability. Traditional M-F 9 am – 5 pm schedules are preferred by most jobseekers. Despite the fact that the average worker isn’t willing to pay for scheduling flexibility, a tail of workers with high WTP allows for sizable compensating differentials. Of the worker-friendly options we test, workers are willing to pay the most (8% of wages) for the option of working from home. Women, particularly those with young children, have higher WTP for work from home and to avoid employer scheduling discretion. They are slightly more likely to be in jobs with these amenities, but the differences are not large enough to explain any wage gaps.

Does Satisfaction With Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Turnover? A Panel Study Conducted in U.S. Federal Agencies

Source: James Gerard Caillier, Public Personnel Management, vol. 45 no. 3, September 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article sought to understand the association between employee satisfaction with several family-friendly programs and turnover in U.S. federal agencies. It also built on previous cross-sectional studies that examined the relationship between these benefits and both attitudes and outcomes. More specifically, this article used social exchange theory to develop hypotheses regarding the effect of telework, alternative work schedules, child care subsidies, elder care, employee assistance programs, and health and wellness programs on turnover. Furthermore, 4 years of panel data were obtained from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and FedScope to test the hypotheses. Consistent with social exchange theory, results from the balanced panel model indicate that satisfaction with family-friendly programs in general had a significant, negative effect on turnover at the .10 level. The results also indicate that alternative work schedules, child care programs, and employee assistance programs reduced turnover. Child care and employee assistance programs were significant at the .10 level. Telework, elder care, and health and wellness programs, on the other hand, were not found to have an impact on turnover. The implications the results have for theory and practice are discussed in the article.