Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Tag Archives: Human resources

Tips for Employees Requesting an Alternative Work Arrangement

During a conversation about employee engagement consulting and promoting alternative work arrangements someone once asked me, “How does any of this help people? How can any employee use this information or call in consultants to help improve their working conditions?” My conversation partner asserted that a consulting business didn’t seem very helpful overall as employees have to wait around for leaders to decide to change everything around of their own accord. Back then, I was also under the impression that this kind of change tends not to happen from the bottom up.

Contrary to our beliefs, The Custom-Fit Workplace: Choose When, Where, and How to Work and Boost Your Bottom Line, states that more employees than managers or leaders initiate new flexible work arrangement programs. Although, as depicted in these accounts of employee-initiated programs, the arrangement tends to be for the individual employee concerned rather than an organization-wide makeover. Read more of this post

A Less Mentioned Benefit of Telework: Why Pet Owners & Animal Lovers Should Be All Over This

There are a number of benefits to teleworking that may already be familiar to you because they are reiterated time and time again. However, I will quickly summarize them for those who are new to this subject matter:

For employees who can telework and work well this way:

  • Can save thousands of dollars annually that would otherwise go towards gas and office clothes
  • Improves work-life balance by freeing up 1-2 hours (or more for those who commute even further) so that employees have the option to get right to work instead of wasting time in rush hour traffic as well as being able to get necessary errands done without a hassle (e.g., picking up kids from daycare/school)
  • Under a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) where work can be done anywhere, anytime as long as the work is done on time, employees can lead a healthier lifestyle by not having to stay sedentary for 8-10 hour time blocks (includes commute time).

For employers:

  • Reduces real estate costs (for the physical space itself as well as additional costs of maintenance and utilities)
  • A more decentralized workforce allows business to continue during emergencies such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc.
  • Employees who are well-suited to telework are more engaged and productive working from wherever they want, instead of at the office, which adds to the bottom line
  • When recruiting, employers can hire the best people for the job regardless of their geographic location
  • Having this option for employees enjoy more freedom and flexibility at work improves recruitment and retention, reducing the cost of turnover

For environmental conditions:

  • Less congestion for those who must travel to work as well as reduces wear and tear on deteriorating freeway infrastructure from having so many people utlizing it during rush hour
  • Although there’s some debate over whether or not teleworking employees make up for not having to commute to an office by driving elsewhere, a reduced need to build additional office building space and expand freeways does mean a decreased carbon footprint
  • The more we can curtail the growth of our freeways and buildings as our population grows, the more space we leave for wildlife Read more of this post

Mass Career Customization: Aligning The Workplace With Today’s Nontraditional Workforce

Before delving into Mass Career Customization, I’d like to address a paper titled The Hidden Work In Virtual Work (click to download). It describes the high personal costs some remote workers have borne while trying to achieve work-life balance and maintain professional connections. I imagine that this paper can scare many away from the prospect of telework. However, note the limitations of this study. Like any good researcher, Heimrich Schwartz describes the methodology for collecting data. This study was based on information gathered from twenty-three informants who were recruited from the researchers’ social network. Therefore, like most qualitative studies, this study has a low sample size. Furthermore, participants were not randomly selected. Having drawn from their own personal network, participants are more likely to share similarities than if drawn from a pool that represents all remote workers. It is quite possible that their recruitment method did not capture the experiences of successful remote workers who thrive under this working condition. Read more of this post

The Virtual Manager: Cutting-Edge Solutions to Hiring, Managing, Motivating, and Engaging Mobile Employees

If you are looking for a guide to managing a virtual workforce that expands upon human resources procedures beginning from hiring the right people, to helping them succeed in a virtual position, to helping someone transition back onsite if the arrangement doesn’t work out, The Virtual Manager by Kevin Sheridan does exactly that. This book opens up with a thorough explanation of the advantages of having a virtual workforce (e.g., the business case – enhancing the ability to recruit and retain talent as well as increasing worker productivity). However, it also addresses the inherent challenges of effective communication. Read more of this post

The Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce

In The Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce, authors Christopher Rice, Fraser Marlow, and Mary Ann Masarech provide a thorough guide for organizational leaders interested in improving work engagement. At the outset, they establish that engagement is a unique construct that is distinguishable from satisfaction, motivation, and commitment. Furthermore, employee engagement is an individualized equation expressed as the combination of maximum satisfaction for the individual and maximum contribution for the organization. From there, they discuss particular industries (e.g., where there is a high degree of interaction with customers) in which employee engagement particularly impacts results. Additionally, the authors caution against assuming measures that have increased engagement in one geographic region would similarly increase engagement in another. Read more of this post

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