The so-called ‘flexible’ workforce

Written on Feb 06, 2019

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By Rebecca Kerr, OSCPA communications intern

The topic of workplace flexibility has been a hot issue recently in Ohio even as the weather has been anything but. A recent Harvard Business Review article shared what a PwC employee and her company learned from their own flexible work policy:

  1. You need to toss out the rule book.
  2. Everyone deserves the same degree of flexibility.
  3. When it comes to flexibility, trust is not earned.
  4. Flexibility is a two-way street.

The author, Anne Donovan, said it is important to allow the idea of flexibility to cultivate what she calls an “authentic culture” which preserves employees’ “creativity and agility.” PwC’s policy is to allow flexible work schedules for employees in a variety of situations ranging from missing one day due to extreme weather, to reduced hours on a regular basis in order to take their children to school.

The catch?

There isn’t one.

If they continue to provide good and timely work, the choice is theirs, regardless of duration at the company or ‘seniority.’ According to Donavan, flexibility is “not about working less, but it is about encouraging people to work differently.” She concluded, “when done right, flexibility results in a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce.”

And with recent Ohio temperatures that can inflict frostbite in mere minutes, OSCPA wondered just how flexible some employers are when it comes to working from home. So, last week we asked readers, “How flexible is your employer with work arrangements during hazardous weather?” The answer options were as follows:

  1. Very flexible. If you don’t feel safe coming in, work from home.
  2. Somewhat flexible. I’m allowed to miss a day, but I’d have to take vacation/paid time off.
  3. Not very flexible, but they will close the office when the weather is abnormally bad.
  4. Inflexible, we must come in unless the roads are closed.

Seventy-six percent of respondents chose option A, while 12% chose option B, 12% chose option C and no one chose option D.

The results coincide with the seemingly growing trend of increased flexibility in the workplace. So, it looks like Ohio employers are realizing flexible work arrangements are good for themselves and their staff.

Don’t forget to answer this week’s poll question: “What was the most important development in the profession in the last 12 months?

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