HR Leads Business

Oct 16, 2018 | Barry Lawrence, MBA, aPHR, HRCI Staff Writer

National Flex Day: Are You Benefiting?

A recent survey conducted by software firm Sapling identifies the top factors that cause employees to leave. After insufficient pay, lack of flexible work perks are at the top of the list.

Today is National Flex Day, an awareness campaign led by 1 Million for Work Flexibility and Flexjobs, a website that matches workers with part-time, freelance and flexible jobs.

In 2017, about 4 million employees, nearly 3 percent of the U.S. workforce, worked from home at least half the time, Flexjobs reports. The number of such workers has more than doubled since 2005.

This is a great time for businesses to re-think and re-emphasize work-life balance benefits. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Brainstorm with employees on creative ways to promote work-life balance.
  • Find out what your employees want most. Is it flexibility? More volunteer opportunities? Or perhaps more wellness offerings?
  • Help employees with tools and techniques – such as expert speakers or webinars -- to show them how to better balance work-life issues.

Employers benefit in many ways, the experts say, from lower overhead costs, reduced turnover, increased productivity and higher morale. The disadvantages: people who work at home are still sometimes perceived as not working hard while away from work. Managers often don’t know how to accommodate remote workers. Also, flex work is not an option for hands-on jobs, such as nursing or jobs that are customer-facing.

“Overall, the advantages generally outweigh the disadvantages and a good manager can handle the disadvantages,” says HR consultant Susan Heathfield. “Flexible scheduling has become part of what employees are looking for in their comprehensive employee benefits packages.”

The U.S. Department of Labor provides a Workplace Flexibility Toolkit. The toolkit includes links to case studies, fact sheets, articles and much more.