Category Archives: Flexible Work Arrangements

Pulse of the American Worker Survey: Is This Working? A Year In, Workers Adapting to Tomorrow’s Workplace

Source: Prudential, April 2021

From the press release:
From remote work to company culture and benefits, the pandemic has highlighted the things workers value most in employment. And if they do not have them, they’re preparing to seek them out when the time is right, according to a newly released Prudential survey.

The Pulse of the American Worker Survey: Is This Working? A Year In, Workers Adapting to Tomorrow’s Workplace was fielded in March 2021—one year since many workplaces shut down on-site operations and employees began working remotely. The survey, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of Prudential, polled 2,000 adults working full-time and found that 87% of American workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic would prefer to continue working remotely at least one day a week, post-pandemic. Among all workers, 68% say a hybrid workplace model is ideal.

…According to the survey, 42% of current remote workers say if their current company does not continue to offer remote work options long term, they will look for a job at a company that does. This signals that a “war for talent” may be looming if companies don’t address workers’ needs….

Where Will Remote Workers Go?

Source: Dante DeAntonio, Evan Carson, and Matt Colyar, Regional Financial Review, March 2021
(subscription required)

Remote work increased dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article considers the effect of remote work on migration decisions. To this end, we develop an empirical model of domestic migration to better understand how increased acceptance of remote work may impact the U.S.

What to Do If Your Team Doesn’t Want to Go Back to the Office

Source: Liz Kislik, Harvard Business Review, January 18, 2021

From the summary:
As offices continue to open up, there are ongoing discussions in many organizations about when and how employees should return to work. What should you do if your team wants to continue to work from home and senior leadership wants everyone to start showing up in person? You can advocate for your team, as long as you do it tactfully. Focus on what your leaders care about and find ways to show that remote work is beneficial to the company, not just to individuals. Demonstrate that your team is engaged no matter where they are located. For example, you might invite leaders to video meetings that include both in-person and remote workers. And encourage employees to treat company leaders as their most important customers. An emphasis on formal respect and personal interest can mitigate some leaders’ concern that employees aren’t taking their work seriously when they’re at home.

Supervision of Telework: A Key to Organizational Performance

Source: Taehee Kim, Lauren Bock Mullins, Taewon Yoon, American Review of Public Administration, OnlineFirst, Published February 10, 2021
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Many employers, including the federal government, have introduced or extended their telework arrangements because of the associated advantages, which include cost-efficiency, personnel pool enlargement, and employee well-being and motivation. Despite the continued interest from both academics and practitioners, little understanding has emerged about this work arrangement, with scant studies in public administration and organization literature. Among those studies, consensus has not been formed as to the organizational benefits, especially on performance or employee motivation. Previous studies have also overlooked the heterogeneous characteristics of teleworkers, the dynamics between teleworkers and nonteleworkers, and especially, the role of supervisors in managing telework to achieve proposed benefits. This study adds to previous literature by empirically examining the role of supervisors in managing/motivating teleworkers toward improving organizational performance, using data from the 2011 Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) Telework study. Findings suggest that supervision which includes results-based management and trust-building efforts improves performance of organizations that have telework arrangements.

A Post-Pandemic Antidiscrimination Approach to Workplace Flexibility

Source: Michelle A. Travis, Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 64, 2021, Date Written: December 17, 2020

From the abstract:
The dramatic workplace changes in the wake of the global pandemic offer courts both an opportunity and an obligation to reexamine prior antidiscrimination case law on workplace flexibility. Before COVID-19, courts embraced an essentialized view of workplaces built upon a “full-time face-time norm,” which refers to the judicial presumption that work is defined by long hours, rigid schedules, and uninterrupted, in-person performance at a centralized workspace. By applying this presumption to both accommodation requests under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and to disparate impact claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, pre-pandemic courts systematically undermined antidiscrimination law’s potential for workplace restructuring to expand equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities and for women with disproportionate caregiving responsibilities. This Article demonstrates how employers’ widespread adoption of flexible work arrangements in the wake of COVID-19—including telecommuting, modified schedules, temporary leaves, and other flextime options—undermine these prior decisions and demand a new analysis of antidiscrimination law’s potential to advance workplace flexibility.

What Jobs are Being Done at Home During the COVID-19 Crisis? Evidence from Firm-Level Surveys

Source: Alexander Bartik, Zoe Cullen, Edward L. Glaeser, Michael Luca, Christopher Stanton, Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Working Paper No. 20-138, June 2020
There are 2 versions of this paper

From the abstract:
The threat of COVID-19 has increased the health risks of going to an office or factory, leading more workers to do their jobs remotely. In this paper, we provide results from firm surveys on both small and large businesses on the prevalence and productivity of remote work, and expectations about the persistence of remote work once the COVID-19 crisis ends. We present four main findings. First, while overall levels of remote work are high, there is considerable variation across industries. The Dingel and Neiman (2020) measure of suitability for remote work does a remarkably good job of predicting the industry level patterns of remote work – highlighting the challenge of moving many industries to remote work. Second, remote work is much more common in industries with better educated and better paid workers. Third, in our larger survey, employers think that there has been less productivity loss from remote working in better educated and higher paid industries. Fourth, more than one-third of firms that had employees switch to remote work believe that that remote work will remain more common at their company even after the COVID-19 crisis ends.

From Face Time to Flex Time: The Role of Physical Space in Worker Temporal Flexibility

Source: Leroy Gonsalves, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 65 no. 4, December 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Despite the great potential for flexible work policies to increase worker temporal flexibility—the extent to which workers control when and where their work tasks are completed—organizational scholars have found that employees rarely use them for fear of career penalties. This study sheds light on this flexibility paradox by drawing attention to the overlooked yet crucial role of physical space. Using 14 months of field research during an office redesign at a large professional sales organization, I find that a reconfiguration of physical space intended to reduce costs had the unintended consequence of disrupting taken-for-granted greeting practices, noticing practices, and evaluative beliefs. Changes to social practices led employees to feel less concern about trait inferences of dependability and commitment arising from their physical presence and to experience greater temporal flexibility. The findings contribute to a model in which the relationship between flexible work policies and temporal flexibility is moderated by the physical space. By identifying the physical space as a novel determinant of temporal flexibility, the study reveals the structural underpinnings of the flexibility paradox and more generally contributes to our understanding of how physical spaces structure social life in organizations.

Study Finds Productivity Not Deterred by Shift to Remote Work

Source: Roy Maurer, HR News, September 16, 2020

Recent research shows that the skepticism many companies had about working from home may be eroding. Ninety-four percent of 800 employers surveyed by Mercer, an HR and workplace benefits consulting firm, said that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, even with their employees working remotely…. Looking ahead, 83 percent of respondents said that even after the health crisis has passed, they plan to put more flexible work policies in place, such as allowing more people to work from home or letting them adjust their schedules….

Collective Sensemaking Around COVID-19: Experiences, Concerns, and Agendas for our Rapidly Changing Organizational Lives

Source: Keri K. Stephens, Jody L. S. Jahn, Stephanie Fox, Piyawan Charoensap-Kelly, Rahul Mitra, Jeannette Sutton, Eric D. Waters, Bo Xie, Rebecca J. Meisenbach, Management Communication Quarterly, Volume 34 Issue 3, August 2020

From the abstract:
Uncertainty is at the forefront of many crises, disasters, and emergencies, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different in this regard. In this forum, we, as a group of organizational communication scholars currently living in North America, engage in sensemaking and sensegiving around this pandemic to help process and share some of the academic uncertainties and opportunities relevant to organizational scholars. We begin by reflexively making sense of our own experiences with adjusting to new ways of working during the onset of the pandemic, including uncomfortable realizations around privilege, positionality, race, and ethnicity. We then discuss key concerns about how organizations and organizing practices are responding to this extreme uncertainty. Finally, we offer thoughts on the future of work and organizing informed by COVID-19, along with a list of research practice considerations and potentially generative research questions. Thus, this forum invites you to reflect on your own experiences and suggests future directions for research amidst and after a cosmology event.

ollective Sensemaking Around COVID-19: Experiences, Concerns, and Agendas for our Rapidly Changing Organizational Lives
Source: Keri K. Stephens, Jody L. S. Jahn, Stephanie Fox, Piyawan Charoensap-Kelly, Rahul Mitra, Jeannette Sutton, Eric D. Waters, Bo Xie, Rebecca J. Meisenbach, Management Communication Quarterly, Volume 34 Issue 3, August 2020

From the abstract: https://doi.org/10.1177/0893318920934890
Uncertainty is at the forefront of many crises, disasters, and emergencies, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different in this regard. In this forum, we, as a group of organizational communication scholars currently living in North America, engage in sensemaking and sensegiving around this pandemic to help process and share some of the academic uncertainties and opportunities relevant to organizational scholars. We begin by reflexively making sense of our own experiences with adjusting to new ways of working during the onset of the pandemic, including uncomfortable realizations around privilege, positionality, race, and ethnicity. We then discuss key concerns about how organizations and organizing practices are responding to this extreme uncertainty. Finally, we offer thoughts on the future of work and organizing informed by COVID-19, along with a list of research practice considerations and potentially generative research questions. Thus, this forum invites you to reflect on your own experiences and suggests future directions for research amidst and after a cosmology event.

Sensemaking Around COVID-19: Experiences, Concerns, and Agendas for our Rapidly Changing Organizational Lives
Source: Keri K. Stephens, Jody L. S. Jahn, Stephanie Fox, Piyawan Charoensap-Kelly, Rahul Mitra, Jeannette Sutton, Eric D. Waters, Bo Xie, Rebecca J. Meisenbach, Management Communication Quarterly, Volume 34 Issue 3, August 2020

From the abstract: https://doi.org/10.1177/0893318920934890
Uncertainty is at the forefront of many crises, disasters, and emergencies, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different in this regard. In this forum, we, as a group of organizational communication scholars currently living in North America, engage in sensemaking and sensegiving around this pandemic to help process and share some of the academic uncertainties and opportunities relevant to organizational scholars. We begin by reflexively making sense of our own experiences with adjusting to new ways of working during the onset of the pandemic, including uncomfortable realizations around privilege, positionality, race, and ethnicity. We then discuss key concerns about how organizations and organizing practices are responding to this extreme uncertainty. Finally, we offer thoughts on the future of work and organizing informed by COVID-19, along with a list of research practice considerations and potentially generative research questions. Thus, this forum invites you to reflect on your own experiences and suggests future directions for research amidst and after a cosmology event.

Working Remotely: A Guide for the Public Sector

Source: Rob Roque and Elizabeth Fu, Government Finance Review, Vol. 30 no. 3, June 2020

While some state and local governments have allowed employees to work remotely for years, many are now being thrust into a remote work environment as a result of COVID-19 response. Employees who are used to easy access to physical resources are now faced with make-shift operations at home. These rapid transitions to remote work are proving their own challenges to public sector operations and technology requirements.

The following are key considerations for governments when supporting remote workers. Items were selected based on general public sector requirements. Consider your organization’s unique situations to establish a complete list of your own.