Tag Archives: Implementation

Helping men get work-life balance can help everyone

Laura Good, Deborah Towns and Jesse E. Olsen, from the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne, discuss work-life balance, workplace gender inequality, and an innovative Australian programme to encourage more men to take-up flexible working arrangements.

Women’s increased participation in the labour force over the past 50 years has outpaced changes to work organisation and social attitudes. This is true for issues of work-life balance, which continue to polarise workers and managers.

But work-life balance and gender equality are not only women’s issues. They belong to men, too. Continue reading

Presenteeism over productivity: why flexible working needs a rebrand – The Guardian

Despite the popularity, and range, of discussion about flexible working it remains viewed as something pursued only by those without ambition.

That is, flexible working is viewed, simply, as working less. This is problematic as contemporary work cultures still reward working long hours, “as if our achievements are somehow less impressive if we haven’t sweated blood and sacrificed our sanity, health and home life to get there”.

 

The stereotypical flexible worker tends to be a parent (usually a mother) trying to adapt their work schedules with childcare. However, there is a larger pool of people who don’t have family commitments and don’t want to cut their hours, but who would still like to take advantage of flexible working practices and benefits it could bring to their personal and working lives.

Yet, while flexible working remains seen as a second-class option it will not deliver its potential in promoting employee retention and productivity. Workplaces need to undergo a cultural change wherein mere ‘presenteeism’ isn’t accord special significance over more meaningful measures of employee achievement at work.

Read more at The Guardian.

Forget flexibility. What working women really want is power – The Guardian

A recent survey of professional women found that just 14% would list ‘work-life balance‘ as a benchmark of success, while 44% wanted job satisfaction and 34% wanted to be able to assume leadership roles and define their company’s direction. It thus suggests that it is ‘not more time that women want, it’s more power’.

The assumption that women want better work-life balance is linked to a kind of ‘benevolent sexism’ wherein women are assumed to be, and to want to be, primary childcare providers. However, this may not be the case. While understanding that the pressures parents face can be important for organisations, it is important that these are not assumed to be women’s issues. Organisations need to approach issues of childcare and work-life balance to allow equal participation of men and women at work and in the home.

Read more at The Guardian.

Why the gap between policy & practice in flexible work is costing women their careers – Women’s Agenda

This article notes that the last five years have seen an increase in policies providing access to flexible work in Australia. However, it points to new research that suggests policies are not being used effectively.

It suggests that the disconnect between the policy and the practice is a result of a lack of awareness among both employees and managers about the how flexible working policies are meant to operate. It notes that mangers, as gatekeepers, are blocking access to flexible work as they lack understanding of how to operationalise policy. Moreover, employee’s lack of awareness as to their entitlements also poses a barrier to access.

Read more on Women’s Agenda.

Autonomy in flexibilized working time schemes? Factors that inhibit autonomy and where it succeeds

Yvonne Lott, of the Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Institut (WSI) in Germany, questions whether working time flexibility can really deliver employee autonomy. 

Flexibility in working time makes it possible to reconcile work with the affairs of private life. Whether this is caring for children or elderly parents, or pursuing a qualification alongside work – flexible working times give employees freedom to organize their time. In particular when employees can themselves determine how to organize their working time, their autonomy at work can seem unlimited. Self-determination of work schedules promises control over one’s own working time and thus autonomy over one’s time in general. Employees with such working times should, then, have relatively stress-free (work) lives. Right? I am skeptical. Continue reading

Flexible Policies, Closed Minds: Flexibility Stigma and Participation in Family-Friendly Programs at Work

Dr. Jade S. Jenkins is currently the academic assessment coordinator at Texas A&M – Texarkana. She earned her Ph.D in social and industrial-organizational psychology from Northern Illinois University, and her research interests include occupational health psychology, stereotypes, and the self . Here she writes about how those who utilize family-friendly policies may face stigma from colleagues and managers. Continue reading

Is flexibility in the workplace actually disadvantaging women? – Daily Life

Flexible working may not reduce gender inequality but, rather, exacerbate it.

Forthcoming research, based in the United States, found that men were significantly more likely to have similar flexible working requests granted than women.

Christin Munsch, one of the report authors suggests that such results demonstrate the importance of cultural influences on gender norms: women who make flexible working requests to look after children are viewed as both bad mothers and bad employees, and are punished for their perceived failings.

The authors suggest that there needs to be a cultural shift in attitudes to gender and work for flexible working to be successful in tackling workplace inequalities.

Reader more on Daily Life.

International Flexible Working Survey 2013 – BakkerElkhuizen

This survey of flexible work in Germany, England, Belgium and Netherlands found that 64% of English firms have implemented some kind of flexible working. This more than Germany (57%), the Netherlands (48%) and Belgium (38%).

The reasons cited for not implementing flexible working were that:

1. Companies are still looking into the possibilities of flexible working;

2. Staff are tied to a fixed place and time because of their specific duties;

3. The organisation feels that the presence of staff is necessary.

Notably, the reasons for flexible working differed by country. In Belgium and England, organisations to implemented flexible ‘to satisfy the wishes of staff’. In Germany, the most important argument for flexible working was that it leads to ‘higher staff satisfaction’. In the Netherlands, ‘cost-savings on buildings, accommodation and workstations’ was key for organisation.

Read more here.

In reality new ‘flexible working rights’ could mean longer days and less family time

WAF Project Principal Investigator Heejung Chung on how flexible working may prove to be a ‘honey trap’ to lure workers into a ‘job that never ends’.

Flexible working time, once a perk for successful professionals, has gone mainstream. From June 30, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all workers in the UK. In a time where most benefits are being cut rather than expanded, this is a remarkable policy development. Continue reading