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Benefits of Embracing Alternative Work Arrangements

by Yvonne Nellums, PHR, SHRM-CP, on July 24, 2018

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that only 5% of employers offer flexible work to the majority of their employees.  Working flexible hours, compressing workdays and/or working remotely has been around for a while. Recently, we’ve seen an increase in companies modifying their employment model to offer this benefit, which can change the culture of the organization.  There are advantages for employers who allow alternative work arrangements. A flexible work arrangement prevents you from excluding qualified candidates because you don’t offer flexibility in how work is performed. Executives have found that by allowing employees greater flexibility with their schedules, they’ve seen improvement in recruiting, engagement, and turnover.  A recent employee benefits survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources (SHRM) stated, “offering more-flexible work arrangements – such as telecommuting (62 percent) and variable schedules (57 percent) – was one of the most effective recruiting strategies.”

While employees embrace different work schedules and believe they are beneficial in maintaining a healthy work/life balance, employers need to recognize that this change in the organization can also have an impact on the length an employee stays at an organization.  In the traditional work environment, the employee may be unhappy with the hours he or she works and begin searching for a new job.  By including alternative work arrangements as part of an overall empoyee benefits package, you help to develop commitment to your organization.  We all want happy and skilled employees. As the competition for these workers increases, consideration needs to be given to offering them desirable benefits.  Companies that have embraced this trend claim retention rates increase when this benefit is available for employees.

To make this type of arrangement successful, it is important to address antiquated attitudes that perpetuate a stigma around flexible or offsite work. These attitudes could include sentiments such as, “people don’t work as hard when they’re not in the office.”  Having a clearly defined plan with performance measurements helps create a results-driven culture. 

Here are some advantages when considering alternative work arrangements: 

  • Increased Productivity – Employees have more control over how and when they do their work.  Having the ability to work whenever they want can help them complete their tasks more efficiently.
  • Decreased Stress – One of the biggest complaints in the workplace is stress. Employees are more positive about their jobs when they are empowered to manage life’s demands.
  • Recruitment and Retention – Offering these work alternatives not only benefits the employee, but also the employer.  Flexible work arrangements attract people who prefer nontraditional hours. Currently, millions of workers are choosing to work part-time jobs so they can have more control over their work and personal lives. Making these choices available will help attract more talent and decrease turnover.
  • Healthier Employees – According to a FlexJobs survey, 79% of respondents said a flexible work schedule would make them healthier, and 87% said it would lower their stress level. Employees indicate that their greatest stressor is balancing work and family. When they get some relief from this stress, employees indicate they are much happier and healthier. A University of Minnesota study cited that employees were able to get more sleep and had higher energy levels.  Ill employees were able to take care of their health and return more quickly.  
  • Creating a Results-Driven Culture - Changing to a results-driven management style can be difficult for some employees.  Managers are accustomed to managing their employees and instructing them on how, when, and where to produce the actual work.  Managers need to be coached to allow employees the flexibility to do the work on their schedule.  It is important to provide employees with objective performance goals and measures.
  • Building Trust – When employees have autonomy and the freedom to manage their work schedules, it helps build trust with the employees, their managers, and the company. 
Alternative work schedules are becoming mainstream, and are one of the most sought-after job perks. As an employer, this is a trend to watch.  Today’s low unemployment market and stiff competition for qualified applicants makes it worth exploring. Happy and satisfied employees benefit the bottom line.

For help developing an alternative work arrangement employment model, please contact LandrumHR's Consulting division today.
Yvonne Nellums, PHR, SHRM-CP

Certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society of Human Resources – Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), Yvonne serves as Director of Human Resources for LandrumHR. She has over 34 years of experience of comprehensive human resources management. She is responsible for a team of certified HR professionals who deliver human resources expertise and training to our client customers. Her experience in the field has been acquired through focus on labor and employee relations, employment law compliance, talent acquisition, and conflict resolution. Yvonne is a Past President of the Greater Pensacola Society for Human Resources Management, past Legislative Director on the HR Florida State Council of SHRM, and served in various leadership roles for SHRM.

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