Flexible Work: How Employers and Employees Benefit

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Express Employment Professionals reveals survey results surrounding the definition of flexible work.

What does "flexible work" mean to you?

Of course, not every arrangement will work in every situation. But a company shouldn’t see offering flexible work as a concession to employees; they should see it as a way to build a more committed, productive team and a stronger, forward-looking business. - Bill Stoller, Express CEO

With the tightest labor market in recent history, employers are getting creative in the ways they attract talented workers. Offering flexible work arrangements, a priority of jobseekers, is one recruitment strategy. In a new Express survey, job seekers cite a “flexible work schedule” as the most important non-health benefit.

According to Express Employment Professionals franchise owner Jason Patrick of Nashville, employers who offer flexible work arrangements see other benefits beyond recruitment. It also improves morale and retention, he says.

Daniel Morgan, an Express franchise owner in Birmingham, Alabama, adds that it improves a company’s overall image.

“The company appears to be more innovative by creating a culture that supports employees,” he said.

He notes that employees will actually take less time off. A more flexible schedule allows them to respond more easily to life obstacles that arise.

Flexible Industrial Jobs?

Flexible work arrangements may come easy for “office jobs,” but what about industrial jobs? Lee Wenninger, an Express franchise owner in the Indianapolis area, explains how one local manufacturer found a way to offer flexibility when he was having trouble finding workers.

“There were a lot people he spoke with who wanted to work for him, but could not work a traditional shift,” Wenninger said.

Instead, the manufacturer opened his factory at 7 a.m. and turned out the lights at 9 p.m. Workers are required to produce a certain number of components daily; however, they can do so any time between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. So, some employees work a traditional eight-hour shift, while others work only three or four days until they reach their weekly allotment.

“This allows retirees to come in early and then have the freedom to leave for appointments or other commitments,” Wenninger said. “They return later in the day to complete their allotment. And there are parents who work while their children are in school, then leave when their kids come home from school and return after dinner to meet their quota.”

Morgan emphasizes that any job is flexible if a company prioritizes communication.

“Employees need to communicate their needs ahead of time and companies will do their best to accommodate,” he said.

Flexible Work Survey: What Do Job Seekers Want? What Do Employers Think?

In a survey of job seekers, Express asked respondents, “What benefits—not including healthcare—do you value most from employers?” “Flexible work schedule” was the number one answer. Similarly, “opportunities to work from home/remotely” was the number three answer.

  • 18 percent said flexible work schedule     
  • 13 percent said generous/unlimited vacation time
  • 12 percent said opportunities to work from home/remotely
  • 10 percent said access to training/certification classes
  • 10 percent said casual dress code

When employers talk about “flexible work,” what do they have in mind? Express surveyed business leaders and asked them, “What does ‘flexible work’ mean to you?”

  • 25 percent said “freedom to adjust your schedule to accommodate personal/family needs”
  • 20 percent said “options to work outside the traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business day”
  • 15 percent said “freedom to set your own hours/schedule”
  • 11 percent said “working extra hours to accommodate a 4-day work week”
  • 10 percent said “working from home part-time”

“Technology, communication channels, family structures, business practices and commuting habits have all changed dramatically over the last couple decades—even the last few years in some cases—so it’s only logical that work arrangements can and should adapt as well,” said Bill Stoller, CEO of Express. “It’s much easier to build a workforce that will take a company into the future if the company’s practices aren’t stuck in the past. Of course, not every arrangement will work in every situation. But a company shouldn’t see offering flexible work as a concession to employees; they should see it as a way to build a more committed, productive team and a stronger, forward-looking business.”

The poll of 734 job seekers was conducted in April via Express Employment Professionals' jobseeker blog, Movin’ On Up. The poll of 1,428 employers was conducted in June via Express' Refresh Leadership blog.

If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bill Stoller to discuss this topic, please contact Sheena Karami, Director of Corporate Communications and PR, at (405) 717-5966.

About Bill Stoller
William H. "Bill" Stoller is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 800 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Since its inception, Express has put more than 6 million people to work worldwide.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.4 billion in sales and employed a record 540,000 people in 2017. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. For more information, visit ExpressPros.com.

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