Flexibility: It Might Just Change Your Life

Author: Cronofy

4th June 2014

Being flexible is good for your career, so says new research. Compressing our working hours, job sharing and working from home have varied and surprising benefits and can help with maintaining a reasonable work/life balance. Plus it could even enhance your career opportunities.

The study, from the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute, presents evidence on how to balance work and life, and how doing so can actually help you professionally. It looked at 3,000 professional and managerial people from the UK and US, finding that job satisfaction, retention rates and career progression are all improved with a good work/life balance.

Dr Ines Wichert, senior psychologist at the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute, gave her analysis in The Guardian.

By taking a closer look at how flexible working influences how people feel about their work/life balance, Dr Wichert found that things such as flexible start and finish times, working from home and job sharing can bring a better feeling of balance.

Using at least one of these flexible work arrangements leads to significantly higher feelings of balance than not using any at all (75% and 60% respectively).

However, not all flexible working arrangements are readily available to employees in the UK, and of those who can access such options the take-up levels can vary.

The next, and probably most surprising, finding was that those who work flexibly are significantly more likely to have had two or more promotions in the past five years.

In particular, three flexible work arrangements are linked to increased promotions; working compressed hours, job sharing and working from home for at least part of the week.

Dr Wichert explained:

“I believe there are two potential explanations of these findings. First, the small group of employers that do offer job sharing and working compressed hours, along with the more commonly available working from home, allow talented and driven employees to deliver results in career-enhancing, full-time roles in a way that still allows time for a family life, too.

“Alternatively, something else may be underpinning these results. Highly talented and valued employees, who have seen their careers advance fast in the past five years, may be in a stronger position to request job sharing or working compressed hours once the need for flexible working arises. Employers are keen to retain these strong employees and therefore more likely to agree to flexible working requests.”

So whether you can work flexibly right from the off or have to prove your worth before being offered flexible working options, the outcome is that a less rigid working week could work wonders for your career and your life outside the office.

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Date: 4th June 2014 | Category: Productivity