In the 2005 study from Simmons School of Management and Bright Horizons Family Solutions, researchers found:
“The study presents overwhelming evidence that supervisor and organizational support for work/life integration is highly valued by most employees regardless of age, gender, or race/ethnicity. Of specific note, flexibility is a key driver of employee satisfaction.”
A 2008 survey from Hewitt Associates, which polled 90 U.S. employers about workplace-flexibility programs found :
Of the companies that currently offer flexible work arrangements, 98 percent believed the benefits outweigh the costs, 66 percent said the programs increased employee engagement and 64 percent said they improved employee retention. About half (49 percent) said the programs enhanced recruiting efforts.
In 2017 Entrepreneur Magazine surveyed over 300 employees and found:
A majority (68 percent) think the availability of flexible work hours is very important, while 70 percent think it has a positive impact on team performance. So much so, that nearly half (42 percent) of respondents indicated a willingness to change jobs for 10 percent less pay if it meant getting flexible work hours.\
Although the need/desire for workplace flexibility is still unchanged in that EVERYONE would like to have control over where, when and how they meet goals, organizations are still not take the next step in providing flexibility. In fact, according to the National Study of Employers (2016) the opposite is happening:
While the years between 2008 and 2012 saw the most rapid growth in flexibility, there has been a pause in its growth between 2012 and 2016. Similarly, support for work-family assistance and for diversity showed both pauses and declines:
- The prevalence of training for supervisors in managing the work-family needs of employees has remained the same: 48% in 2005 and 2016.
- There has been a dramatic drop in management rewarding those within the organization who support flexible work arrangements — from 31% in 2005 to 14% in 2016.
- The prevalence of training supervisors in managing diversity has stayed the same: 65% in 2005 and 64% in 2016.
- Programs to support women in management are becoming a lower priority. Career counseling for women has declined from a high of 22% in 2005 to a mere 15% of employers in 2016.
Can now be the time organizations start doing?
There is a fine line between research being a helpful, proactive step in the process and being pure procrastination. It’s easy to tell ourselves that we’re just being smart and intellectually curious instead of taking steps to solve the problem we’ve been reading research about for the past decade. It’s easy to see why this happens, too. When you decide to apply research into actual action it becomes real; you can’t keep it tucked safely away. Here are my three best reasons to stop researching and start doing:
1 | THERE’S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT.
The good news about years of great research is there’s a ton of great resources. If you need help checking the readiness of your organization for change, reading about what success looks like and taking manager training out for a test drive, just check out the KNOWLEDGE CENTER at The SMART Workplace. There you will find free resources to help you move forward.
2 | THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BEING 100% PREPARED.
There is no such thing as being totally prepared and having everything 100% perfect and ready to go. Perfection is an unrealistic expectation. Unforeseen obstacles are bound to pop up, and you will have to deal with them as they come. These types of situations end up being the ones we learn from the most. Lay the best framework you can and then work forward from there, building and finessing as you go.
3 | MAKE YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES.
As great as researching and learning from other organizations’ experiences, it’s still someone else’s experience. Take the leap and start building your organization’s path to a flexible and mobile workplace, armed with the knowledge you’ve gained and the confidence in your abilities. It’s your turn to be the best practice speaker at YOUR next conference breakout session.. Ready, set, go!
To learn more about how to determine the appetite of you and your organization for trans-formative change, JOIN the SMARTworkplace community to gain access to additional assessments, tools and training workshops that will help your organization become a SMART Workplace.