Flexibility in the workplace is becoming standard practice in the U.S., according to Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute.
Still, Galinsky said there is a reputation that workers who show up to the office are more productive than those who work from home.
"The notion that presence equals productivity or that the ideal worker is still the full-time worker – those mindsets are still alive and with us," she said. "But there is flexibility for full-time employees so that's much more becoming a standard of the American workplace."
Yet according to The Wall Street Journal, employing remote workers - or those who can work remotely a few times during the week - can actually lower a company's cost and increase productivity.
The Journal reported 13.4 million people, or 9.4 percent of employees across the nation, worked at least one day at home per week in 2010. That's a 2.4 percent increase from 1997 when 9.2 million could make that claim, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Lisa Horn, co-director of the Workplace Flexibility Initiative for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), told Employee Benefit News that employee engagement and the ways people go about working won't stay the same.
"We know that the workforce and workplace continue to evolve, whether we look at the complexity of the 21st century workforce or at those technological advances that enable work really to happen anywhere," Horn said. "But these changes mean organizations must adapt or must reinvent how work gets done, in our view, to remain competitive."Employers not shying from accommodating work arrangements
Employee Benefit News stated that more employers are offering flexible work schedules, with a steady rush coming since 2008.
The Society for Human Resource Management and Families and Work Institute reported that around 67 percent of employers now provide their employees with some sort of option for telecommuting, a substantial increase from the 58 percent that offered remote work options in 2012.
Galinsky said employers are now offering flexible work schedules to engage talent by allowing them a healthy mix of work, personal and family life.
Employee Benefit News cited a national survey of 1,000 employers that showcased exactly why certain companies are allowing flexible work schedules. The top reason was employee retention, which came in at 35 percent. Recruitment (14 percent) and increasing productivity (12 percent) were next in line.
Other reasons cited by employers was that it was "the right thing to do," with 11 percent believing so. Ten percent said their company offered flexible work arrangements to support employee morale and job satisfaction.Could flexible work schedules become a law?
NPR recently reported that San Francisco and the state of Vermont are trying to use the law to get their resident employers to start accommodating workers with a flexible schedule. Employees in both places now have the right to ask for a flexible or predictable work schedule without fear of being handed a pink slip.
David Chiu, the president of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, told NPR he's heard from an overwhelming number of friends that want to be good employees but are struggling to balance their work and personal loads.
"We've heard too many stories of workers who have said that there is a significant stigma," Chiu said. "Both mothers and fathers often feel uncomfortable raising these issues with their employers — there are signals sent to them that they are somehow less loyal and productive employees," Chiu says. "In some circumstances, there have been cases of discrimination and retaliation against employees that have raised these issues."
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