It's 3 pm on a Friday. Sunshine bathes your cubicle and your mind drifts to the weekend. Air conditioning aside, your productivity can't always compete with summer weather or the long list of things you could be doing at a certain time of day.
Office work environments are changing. Trends show that employers are not only aware of this issue; they also know that addressing it is good for business.
In a recent JobsInTheUS.com poll 71 percent of employers said that flexible hours have the most positive impact on productivity.
The one thing that "flexible" work environments have in common is that they're... well... flexible. What do they look like? It really depends.
They could offer some or all of the following:
- A compressed work week (working extra time on four days, so than one weekday is shorter
- A less formal structure, allowing short periods of unplanned personal time away from the office as needed
Big Companies Set Big Trends
As technology improves, companies with a global reach are increasingly changing the way people work. Here are three examples:
1. Best Buy's corporate offices have successfully and boldly piloted ROWE - a Results Only Work Environment. A radical shift in what most people think of as a traditional work environment, under ROWE, employees control their own calendars and do not need to be in the office if their work can be completed somewhere else.
2. Sun/Oracle's "Open Work" program saves the company $70 million per year in real estate costs that would have been spent on building or leasing traditional office space.
According to Ann Bamesberger, Sun VP of Open Work Services, many factors are forcing companies to re-think the work environment, including: rising real estate costs, recruiting and retaining employees, business continuity and pandemic planning, eco-responsibility, and information security.
3. At IBM, 40 percent of its 386, 000 employees do not work in a traditional office. IBM follows these six flexibility principles:
- The enterprise doesn't stop
- Balancing the needs of clients, the business, work teams and employees
- Trust and personal responsibility
- A range of options to choose from
- Understanding differences world-wide
- Focusing on results instead of office setting
Does your current employer offer any flexible work arrangements? If not, it may be time to start looking elsewhere. Unemployed? Not all companies advertise their flexible schedules; ask for details once you have a job offer in hand.