What characteristics of flexible work arrangements

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Reference no: EM131228376

The Pursuit of Happiness: Flexibility The management team at Learner’s Edge, an online continuing education company, decided to adopt a ROWE (results-only work environment) policy, developed by Best Buy employees and summarized in its slogan, “Work whenever you want, wherever you want, as long as the work gets done.” Kyle Pederson was one of only three Learner’s Edge employees who showed up the first day of the experiment. And the second day, and the third. “For almost a month, everyone cleared out,” Pederson said. “It was just me, my co-founder and our executive director all wondering, ‘What on earth have we done?’ ” Clearly, they were testing the outer limits of workplace flexibility, from which even Best Buy pulled back when it recently canceled the program. But while Best Buy reported continuing financial woes as one reason for canceling their ROWE program, employers like Learner’s Edge report “better work, higher productivity” after the initial phase of the program in their companies. Employees have learned the ways they work best. In fact, some of Pederson’s employees have returned to the office, while others gather at Starbucks or over dinner . . . whatever gets the work done. Suntell president and chief operating officer, Veronica Wooten, whose risk management software firm adopted the ROWE program a few years ago, is also a fan of the flexible workplace. “We made the transition, and started letting go and letting people make their own decisions,” Wooten says. Her company’s customer base increased 20 percent, meetings were reduced by 50 percent, and expenses decreased 12 percent (Wooten used the savings to give everyone a raise). It seems that everyone should be happy with this degree of job flexibility, from the night-owl employee to the board of directors. But happiness, like job satisfaction, is a complex construct. Employees worldwide do seem to increasingly value flexible work environments, with roughly two of three workers of all ages wanting to work from home, at least occasionally. Eighty percent of the U.S. female labor force finds a flexible work schedule very or extremely important, 58 percent rate work–life balance as their number-one goal, and flexibility is the single most important part of that balance for them. Southeast Asian employees are most interested in flexibility, while workers in North America, Europe, and the Australia/New Zealand region place flexibility in their top three wants. Yet research correlates job satisfaction most strongly with the nature of the work itself, not where it is performed. Thus, while as employees we say we want flexibility, what actually makes us satisfied is often something else. Then there are the costs of such work arrangements. Employers like Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer are concerned that flexible workers will become detached from the organization, communicate less, be less available, and lose the benefits of teamwork. Employees have similar concerns: Will out of sight mean out of mind? International research suggests that employee and employer happiness depends on correctly motivating the individual. For ROWE or any flexible arrangement to work, companies need to create clear job descriptions, set attainable goals, and rely on strong metrics to indicate productivity. Managers need to foster close connections and communicate meaningfully to keep flexible workers engaged in the company, its culture, and its processes. And employees need to get the work done, no matter where and when they do it.

1. Briefly describe the job attitude of Job Satisfaction.

2. What characteristics of flexible work arrangements might contribute to increased levels of job satisfaction?

3. How might flexible work affect a company's bottom line?

Reference no: EM131228376

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