Flexi-Work Options for Work-Life Balance

Many organizations in the contemporary scenario have realized the importance of work-life balance for the employees, so that they remain healthy and happy, which will directly reflect on their productivity at work and overall job satisfaction. Research has proven that by compelling the employees for achieving higher targets/production, may yield results in the short run but might lead to long term complications or challenges such as high employee turnover and discontentment with the job.

Organizations have now come up with creative ideas and appreciable measures for fostering a sense of belongingness amongst the employees in the workplace. One of the best ways is by providing ample freedom and control to the employees for dealing with their work assignments, which will make them feel valued. Various initiatives from the company's end in the forms of flexi-work options, flexible timings, project contracts, work from home, telecommuting, job sharing, sabbaticals, unlimited vacations, etc, have helped in strengthening the employee-employer relations immensely.

Flexible work options has gained importance recently, in terms of improving employees work-life balance and overall productivity at work by reducing their stress level and providing them a sense of flexibility to carry out their work from any geographical location and as per their convenient time. By curtailing the time spent on commuting for reaching the workplace, employees can dedicate quality time on strategic matters and address work related issues much more efficiently. Apart from this, flexible work options equally contribute to environmental conservation, resource optimization, pollution control and reducing the evil effects of greenhouse gas emissions by controlling time and expenses incurred in transportation from one geographical location to another. Flexible workers have a better opportunity to stay healthy by finding time for exercising and maintaining a disciplined health regime, they can take required breaks during the work hours to move around and stretch a bit instead of remaining glued to the seats for long hours. One more benefit of flexi-work options is family bond and relationships grow stronger as a result of which employee motivation and involvement in work will definitely increase.

The organizations in the contemporary scenario may follow diverse work strategies or solutions. Each strategic alternative is described below:

Unlimited Vacations: Companies like Mammoth HQ, Netflix, LinkedIn and a lot more adopt this flexi-work strategy. Unlimited vacation is based on the principles of mutual respect and trust. If the organizations select and hire the best of the talent pool by conducting an extensive review of their talent and personality traits, such employees can prove to be assets for company and need less interference or stringent regulations to ensure higher productivity. Such employees work for the benefit of the organization and also take care of their personal interests. Unlimited vacations will suit such organizational conditions, where the employees are self-motivated and have a clear idea about their accountabilities and work expectations. Unlimited vacations on the other hand can have many benefits for the employers as well by saving on the cost spent on each employee, reduce the absenteeism cost and improve organizational productivity as a whole.

Results-Only-Work-Environment: The main proponents of this strategy were Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson and their work was published in the book “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix it”. As per this method, an employee’s performance is evaluated in terms of their contributions towards the realization of the organizational goals and in meeting the desired results or output, which should be measurable. Mere physical presence at work or number of hours worked isn’t the focus, but only measurable or quantifiable outcome is given due importance by the employers. Organizations like Mindtools, departments of Gap use ROWE to accomplish their work related goals and promote maximum employee productivity.

Remote Working: The employees work entirely away from the office premises. Since the employees can operate remotely and need not visit the office at all, they can work from any part of the world by depending heavily on the tools like video conferencing and virtual communication methods regularly. Remote working strategy can be effective if adequate attention is given to strengthening of relationship with the employees, using various technologies for remaining connected, by providing training and development opportunities, setting clear goals and aligning performance with rewards and recognitions.

Job Sharing: Organizations like Qualcomm and a lot more depend a lot on Job sharing programs in which two or more than two professionals collaborate on some mutual agreement to perform one job. It can be interpreted that the professionals engage in a part-time engagement by working for 2-3 days a week, which is then carried on by the other professional accordingly for another 2-3 days of the week. But they handle a full time job by working as part-timers and based on their mutual understanding plan or allocate their working hours.

Condensed Workweeks: This is also one of the flexible working options in which an employee can plan and distribute his work hours for few days of the week. A professional may prefer working for long hours (approx. 10 hours) for around 4 days of the week, instead of distributing the 40 work hours around the whole week. But care should be taken for implementing this kind of a work schedule for the employees by assessing the feasibilities and acceptance from the employees or new hires.

Work Hours Customization: As per this method, the employees are granted complete freedom to choose their preferred hours for working. This provides the employees ample opportunity to schedule their time accordingly, decide upon their most productive hours for working by choosing their own personal hours for work (example 3pm-8 pm), deal with their personal commitments, health and profession too.

Part time opportunities: The biggest limitation of this kind of work option is most of the employees do not continue a job or quit because of salary issues or perks limitations.


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