The hotly contested issue of workplace flexibility and its inherent benefits have swayed a new group of managers, according to the National Workplace Flexibility Study.
However, the benefits of workplace flexibility will fall wayside if managers mismanage their employees and their time, the study suggests.
The National Workplace Flexibility Study’s findings note that improved perception of flexibility policies followed a slew of training sessions and focus groups with both managers and employees.
Approximately 55% who completed the “planning tool” exercise reported progress in communication and 53% said team interaction was enhanced. Also, more managers favored flexible work policies, where only 23% felt it would be used inappropriately.
Additionally, 41% said they witnessed their team’s understanding of performance goals increase, customer service performance bettered for 24% of the managers and 20% reported advances in productivity, the study found.
Findings highlight manager concerns over how to evaluate flexibility arrangements, how to reach their team in emergency situations, and whether these schedules were “ambiguous or unclear” all decreased in percentages, the statement explained.
The National Workplace Flexibility Study was sponsored by tax services firm Ryan LLC, MedImmune, a biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Life Meets Work Inc., a workforce innovation consultancy, Career/Life Alliance Services Inc., an organization tied to work-life and flexibility solutions, and Boston College Center for Work & Family assisted in conducting the research study.
“Regardless of how well-designed a company's approach to workplace flexibility is, if managers aren't on board and don't have the skills to manage effectively, it will flounder. It's as simple as that,” says Delta Emerson, chief of staff at Ryan LLC.
The study concludes that “employees were also more likely to believe they could use flexible work without hurting their career, after manager training.”
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