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Bosses are ambivalent about work-life flexibility

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Most full-time workers have been granted some schedule flexibility these days, but that doesn’t mean their employers are fully committed to helping them build more balanced lives.

According to a report conducted by Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit Inc., almost all (97%) of the 556 full-time working American employees polled stated they had some form of work life flexibility in 2013.

However, a sense of ambivalence was observed when it came to their bosses’ dedication towards helping employees build flexible work environments.

According to the report, respondents were equally split between the 46% who described their employer’s commitment to work life flexibility as strong and the 45% who described it as uncertain.

Among those who described the commitment as possibly weakening, 20% said it was evident their company reduced flexibility, 5% said they heard rumors or noticed signs of a decreased commitment and 20% said their employers are committed for now, but that could change.

“It’s not just Yahoo, Best Buy and Bank of America that have sent mixed signals on flexibility in the past year or so,” Cali Williams Yost, CEO, Flex+Strategy Group, said.

“Ambivalence, however, is not a strategy. Organisations need to be intentional and deliberate about what type of flexibility works for their business.”

The report cited lack of guidance or training with regards to managing their work life flexibility as the main reason for this eroding employee confidence.

Six out of 10 respondents said they did not receive any guidance or training to help manage their work life flexibility compared to only 40% who did.

“Those who did not were more likely to say it was evident their employer reduced work life flexibility while those who did receive guidance/training were more likely to say their employer had a strong commitment,” the report stated.

The report warned, however, that the need for such guidance is critical, especially since more than eight in 10 employees cited negative impacts of workplaces without work life flexibility.

A majority of those polled agreed employee loyalty (68%), health (64%) and performance (64%) suffer without it, according to the report.

Image: Shutterstock

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