U.S. companies are seeing benefits from workplace flexibility programs, but potential employee abuse remains a concern for many of them, a new survey of HR and other professionals has found.
Those who responded to the poll by WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory firm, cited employee satisfaction (87%), increased productivity (71%), and employee retention as the major benefits of work flex programs that allow employees to periodically work from home. More than two-thirds use their programs as a recruiting tool and 54% said work flex has a positive impact on recruiting.
Fifty-three percent of companies plan to invest more in their flex programs in 2015, according to the survey. But employers still have concerns about work flex, with 42% saying employees may abuse the policy by pretending to work when they’re not, 40% saying it is not part of their culture, and 34% reporting concerns about employee fairness.
“Technology has expanded the 9-to-5 workday into the 24/7 workday, which has made it extremely difficult for employees to have personal time,” WorkplaceTrends founder Dan Schawbel said in a news release. “Companies are being forced to react to this work life dilemma by investing more in their [flexibility] programs in 2015. In the future, every company will have a flexibility program and those that don’t will lose the battle for the top talent.”
According to other recent research, some 30 million Americans now work from a home office at least once a week and that number is expected to increase by 63% by 2018. Half-time home-based work can realize savings of more than $10,000 per employee per year as a result of increased productivity, reduced facility costs, lowered absenteeism, and reduced turnover.
The WorkplaceTrends poll also found that workplace flexibility is more important to employees than employers think and that even though 62% of millennials and 35% of Generation Xers take advantage of flexible working conditions, a mere 3% of baby boomers work from home.
“Boomers were raised with a different mindset,” Piera Palazzolo, senior vice president for marketing at Dale Carnegie Training, told MarketWatch. “We were taught not to ask personal questions and to have boundaries at work.”
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