The Business Case for Flex Work: 6 Essential Resources
As the coronavirus pandemic has required physical offices to shut down, many employers now see flexibility as a business imperative. But the current crisis only accentuates what Catalyst has demonstrated for decades—that flexibility is foundational.
Flex allows employees to choose when, where, and how they work and can include a number of arrangements such as flexible start and stop times, remote work, and compressed workweeks. Flex work is not an accommodation for individual employees, however. It is a talent management tool that emphasizes team work and productivity. It supports inclusion by recognizing the diversity of your work force.
Our research shows that companies offering flexible work arrangements are successful in retaining top talent, particularly women. Employees working from home also show improved productivity. Here are six resources that document the benefits to businesses and show why employers should adopt flex work as a long-term strategy, not a short-term need.
This research from 2019 shows that flex work is a critical way to create empowering workplaces for people of color. Employers can build environments of trust by giving their employees autonomy to work when and where it is best for them and still achieve results. By building flexibility into the business model, employers can in turn create agile and responsive workplaces. It is imperative to ensure that flex work is available and accessible to everyone and to not penalize employees who use flex or treat them any differently from those who choose not to use it.
This 2013 research report is based on a survey of 726 MBA graduates working full-time in for-profit and nonprofit firms around the world. The research showed that high-potential employees throughout the talent pipeline and across organizations want flexible work arrangements. It also revealed that these employees have higher career aspirations when working at firms that offer FWAs. Women’s career aspirations decline, however, when FWAs are not available. Catalyst was a pioneer in analyzing the benefits of flex work—and this research remains more relevant than ever.
Why Flex Works (Supporters Only)
In this 2013 report, Catalyst identifies 15 core concepts of workplace flexibility based on our decades of research and consulting experience. We illustrate these concepts with examples from our Supporters, including 2020 Catalyst Award-winner Unilever. The report also dispels common myths, showing, for instance, that industries and professions with roles that cannot be performed virtually can still include flexibility options for workers. In addition, employers prioritize flexibility even during challenging economic times, because in a globalized economy it enables employees to meet customers’ demands more effectively.
Maximizing Work-Life and Workplace Flexibility (Supporters Only)
In this 2016 webinar, three Catalyst experts explain how flexibility helps build an inclusive workplace and retain top talent. They offer takeaways for employees looking to propose a flex work arrangement with their supervisor and for managers looking to support their employees’ flexibility needs. The experts also break down employee inclusion and pinpoint where flexibility fits in. Equally key: The speakers provide solutions to common, real-life challenges, such as tips for working fathers who want to work flexibly but are afraid of negative consequences.
Flexible Work Arrangements: Key Lessons and Takeaways (Supporters Only)
Learn from Catalyst Supporters Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Dell Inc. about how their companies use flex to enable employees to do their best work, regardless of the “where and when.” This 2019 webinar, moderated by Catalyst expert Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon, includes inside details of how these two organizations have overcome obstacles and implemented successful practices.
Beyond Remote–Flexibility is Key (Supporters Only)
In this new 10-minute Knowledge Burst, go beyond remote work and embrace flexible work as your talent management strategy. Doing so will support innovation, collaboration, and a work culture that supports your entire team. Learn:
- The impact Covid-19 is having on team members, especially women.
- The meaning of Work-Life Effectiveness.
- Flexible options.
- How you as a manager can implement informal flexibility for your own team.
This is the fourth installment in our coronavirus series about inclusive remote and flexible work cultures. See our tips for first-time remote employees, resources for managers of remote teams, and case studies on flexible work policies and cultures.