What is Job Flexibility?
Job flexibility is a business tool that involves employees and managers in making changes to the way work gets done—the when, where, and how—in order to better meet the employee’s work-life needs and the business needs of the department, lab, or center (DLC).
Why is it Valuable?
While job flexibility may not be right for everyone, it has proven to be a powerful business tool for getting work done and supporting business goals when implemented effectively. Job flexibility has the potential to not only increase employees’ work-life effectiveness and job satisfaction, but also help managers improve employee recruitment, retention, engagement, and productivity while meeting departmental and organizational needs.
Types of Flexibility
The term "job flexibility" takes on different meanings in the workplace. On the one hand, it can be occasional, such as a one-time supervisor-approved shift in hours to attend a child's school event, or approval to work from home for a day to focus on an accounting or writing task.
Occasional flexibility is generally informal, supported by an unwritten agreement between the employee and supervisor that work goals and responsibilities will be achieved regardless of the employee's work schedule or location.
On the other hand, job flexibility can be an ongoing arrangement, such as a compressed workweek that frees up a day each week for graduate school, or regular telecommuting, one or two days a week, to reduce the stress of long travel times. Ongoing flexibility is generally formalized by a written agreement between employee and supervisor so that its details are clearly understood by the employee, co-workers, clients, and supervisors.
Making it Successful
Flexibility in the workplace succeeds when employees and supervisors communicate openly, are respectful of both business and individual needs, understand their obligations and responsibilities, and work together to monitor performance, and when the employee shows flexibility in making sure the arrangement works for all parties.