Knowledge Center

The Great Debate: Flexibility vs. Face Time—Busting the Myths Behind Flexible Work Arrangements

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Are flexible work arrangements (FWA) the “new normal,” or does face time still reign? In this increasingly globalized, technology-charged world, where it’s now possible to work from virtually anywhere at any time, day or night, how important is face time vs. work output?

In this report, Catalyst:

  • Separates myth from fact using data from actual high-potential employees working around the world.

  • Aims to help organizations become employers of choice in attracting and retaining top talent.

  • Establishes that FWA programs are alive and well, are widespread across all types of organizations, are desired by young and old employees throughout the pipeline, and that lack of access to FWA has serious consequences for top talent, especially women.

The bottom line is that face time doesn't lead to top performance outcomes. Employers and managers need to learn to trust their employees to get the job done and not be so concerned about when and where the work is completed as long as deadlines are met. 

Catalyst's longitudinal project, The Promise of Future Leadership: Highly Talented Employees in the Pipeline, develops timely reports on the retention and advancement of high potential women and men. The project surveys graduates of leading business schools in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, with the intent of assessing their career values, goals, and expectations, the developmental opportunities afforded them, and their strategies for managing work and family life. The reports highlight the differences in women's and men's career experiences and satisfaction, and some feature perspectives from global leaders and other experts.

Additional Information:

Research Partners: AT&T Inc.Bloomberg, BMO Financial Group, Chevron Corporation, Credit Suisse, Dell Inc., Deloitte LLP, Desjardins Group, Deutsche Bank AG, Ernst & Young, General Motors Company, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, KeyBank, Kimberly-Clark CorporationMcDonald’s Corporation, PPL CorporationSodexo, State Street CorporationUPS