Flexibility at Work—What's Really Going On?

July 8, 2013Recent press coverage of flexible work options at major U.S. companies hasn’t been encouraging.

Earlier this year, Yahoo, following Bank of America's flex-reducing footsteps, ended its telecommuting option. Just a week later, Best Buy terminated its decade-old flexible work program.

But if you’re worried that flexible work arrangements are disappearing, Catalyst’s latest report, which surveyed 726 high-potential employees about their experiences with these arrangements, will put your mind at ease.

Our revealing new research busts through the headlines and hype and gets down to what today's workplaces are really like—including what both women and men say they want, and actually do, at work.

At Catalyst, we believe organizations that offer greater flexibility are more likely to attract and retain top talent who are passionate, committed, loyal—and able to achieve their full potential both at work and in life.

Flexible work arrangements are no longer the exception.

81% of our respondents reported that they currently work at companies offering flexible work arrangements of some kind. This includes telecommuting, flexible arrival or departure, flex time, compressed work weeks, reduced work/part-time options, and job sharing. This is true at global and local organizations of all sizes and in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

Men are as likely as women to use certain types of flexible working arrangements.

Men and women report using flex options to the same extent. But this is only true of flex time and flexible arrival and departure—the flexible work options that do not affect face time. Women are more likely than men to telecommute over the course of their careers. Companies should be mindful of the stigma that workers who take advantage of flex options still face—especially since that stigma is more likely to impact telecommuting women than men who work flexibly.

Organizations wishing to attract top talent would be wise to offer flexible work options.

High-potential employees—especially women—whose companies do not offer flexible work options are less likely to aspire to top leadership roles.

What can you do to help promote flexible working arrangements within your organization?

  • Consult Catalyst's Flex Works to bust myths that still drive the conversation, even in today’s tech-savvy workplace.
  • Look at your company’s flexibility options and determine which suit you best. You can promote the use of flex work options among colleagues and direct reports by using them yourself.
  • Check Catalyzing regularly for new flex-related content—we'll be addressing many related issues in the weeks to come!

Stay tuned for more!

The views expressed herein are solely those of the guest blogger and do not necessarily reflect those of Catalyst. Catalyst does not endorse any political candidates. The post and the comments are presented only for the purpose of informing the public.