I know many of you might still be reeling from yesterday's Columbus Day festivities, but did you know today is "National Flex Day?" It's designed to encourage employers and employees to unite behind the need for more flexibility by sharing how pervasive and powerful it is. To help promote the power of flexible work arrangements, Working Mother has partnered with the Alliance for Work-Life Progress and FlexJobs, a job-searching site specializing in flexible work.

Flexible work is important to every single employee, whether to help them accommodate child care responsibilities, elder care needs or a marathon training schedule,” says Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media. “It’s time for people and companies to step out from the shadows and embrace workplace flexibility as a core business strategy that will enable employees and employers to compete and succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy—while also ensuring a healthy, productive and profitable workforce in the long run.”

This subject has been getting lots of headlines in the past few months as Marissa Mayer took back work from home at Yahoo!, Best Buy got rid of its results-oriented work environment and Meg Whitman recommended H-P employees work at the office,

Purists say the term "flextime" is not the same as working remotely or working from home. However, the ability to start and stop your workday as needed often does mean doing a portion of that work from home.

"Flex is a wonderful benefit. Every study says it's powerful, cheap, increases productivity."

"Flex is a wonderful benefit," said Jennifer Owens, editor-in-chief of Working Mother and director of its research institute, in an interview with AOL Jobs. "Every study says it's powerful, cheap, increases productivity. It's also a little hard to do. You have to do more managing if you're dealing with people who are remote."

The promoters of National Flex Day say they want to get people talking about it. Owens says too often a flexible work arrangement is offered to employees whose jobs don't work for whatever reason, and are walking out the door.  She claims companies make the offer to specific people and then say, "Don't say anything about it to anyone."

Today Working Mother released a new flextime survey of 1,516 working mothers in conjunction with professional services consulting firm McGladrey LLP.

Here are some of the highlights of the "How We Flex" report:

  • 59% say their employers allow for flexibility when work is done
  • 53% say their employers are flexible on where the work gets done.
  • 44% of respondents who use flexible work arrangements say their commitment at work is challenged by their boss or co-workers
  • 65% of working mothers report they could have a flexible schedule, while only 37 percent actually take advantage of it
  • Women whose bosses work flexible schedules report greater job satisfaction
  • Of the respondents whose managers often or always work from home, 71% report they are satisfied with their job security/stability, compared with 65% of respondents whose managers do not work from home

Right now about 53% of U.S. employers officially offer a flexible working arrangement. But even if policy isn't driving more widespread adoption, technology in the modern workplace certainly is.

Right now about 53% of U.S. employers officially offer a flexible working arrangement. Even if policy isn't driving more widespread adoption, technology in the modern workplace certainly is.

If as an employer you are considering offering this to your employees, the Working Mother Research Institute lists these 7 Steps to Flex:

  • Conduct an employee survey to assess the flex needs of your workforce
  • Appoint a planning group to develop goals and guidelines for a flexible work arrangement
  • Create flex guidelines and resource materials for both employers and managers
  • Promote the initiative
  • Educate supervisors on how to evaluate, execute and manage flexible work arrangements
  • Educate employees on expectations
  • Continually evaluate and fine tune policies and regulations

Have you had any experience with a flexible working environment either as an employee or employer? We would love to hear about some of your experiences as well as suggestions for best practices.




Tags: Yahoo, FlexJobs, Best Buy, Events, Flexible workforce, Marissa Mayer, National Flex Day, Flexible working arrangements, Hewlett-Packard, Working Mother, Alliance for Work-Life Progress, McGladrey