March 5, 2020

The top five flexible work myths (busted!)

Ariane Virtue

If I had a dollar for every flexible work myth I’ve heard, I could buy us all a pretty fancy lunch. People think that it’s part-time, working from home, that it’s only for working mothers, that it involves a huge demotion and that your earning potential is dire.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. 

Flexible work is simply working outside the ‘normal’ 9 to 5.

It doesn’t mean you work less, or your output is reduced. It means you work differently. It doesn’t mean you earn less. It means that your promotion may come faster – as people who work flexibly – are motivated, productive and effectively communicators.

Flexible careers enable employees to enter, exit, and re-enter workforce, or increase or decrease their workload or career pace at different life stages.

Here are the five mega-myths about flexible work,busted:

Myth 1: The ideal worker is full-time ‘face-time’ Flexible workers are as productive, if not more, than their non-flexible colleagues. Why? Because they are not engaging in presenteeism. They are not filling in time gossiping at the water cooler. They are focused on the job, and when they’re not, they’re focused on other aspects of their life,like their family, health and other interests. 

Research has found that women in flexible roles are the most productive employees, that men with high commitment to work who create boundaries between work and home out-perform colleagues, and that managers with care-giving responsibilities are rated by their staff as better managers and have more satisfied employees.

Full-time work can be flexible, and it can take place anywhere. We live in a 24/7 global economy that is connected by technology, so the concept of compulsory daily face time is a bit like a Victorian-era corset:restrictive, impractical and old-fashioned.

Myth 2: Flexibility is just about accommodating an individual’s personal circumstances Nope, again. Flexibility works best when it’s designed with the organisation, leader, team and the customer in mind. It’s not about the working mother leaving the childless woman to do all the work (another pervasive myth).It’s about figuring out what everyone wants and needs and making that work. 

It empowers employees to solve problems, increases teamwork and collaboration, reciprocity and ownership of the solution, reduces management time, and speeds decision-making. For example, a team member is stuck in transit and can’t deliver on a project deadline. The flexible work approach is that another team member can step in and assist. Problem solved.It’s not about grounding the team and making sure everyone is chained to their desk. It’s about planning contingencies. Look at what is currently happening globally with this VIRUS!

Myth 3: Flexibility is just for new mums High-potential employees of all ages—with and without children - want flexible work options,and women and men are equally likely to use some flex options throughout their careers. Flexibility is for all employees for any reason including caring for dependents, personal development, community involvement, lifestyle reasons -basically anything. Flexible work guidelines and frameworks need to fair and equitable and gender neutral. You can request a flexible work arrangement for any reason whatsoever. Wouldn’t it be unreal if we got to a place where we could say “…I am working flexibly as this is the most productive place to get this piece of work done…”.

Myth 4: Flexible workers are less ambitious Flexibility boosts workers’ career ambition as research shows that employees’ career aspirations increase when flexible work is provided. 90 percent of employees in organisations with flexible work options aspire to a C-suite job; but when such programs are absent, women downsize their aspirations more than men. 

The upshot? Offering flexible working arrangements directly impacts the number of women in senior leadership positions. You want gender balance in the boardroom? Offer flexible working arrangements and watch your organisation blossom. Availability of flexible work options impacts an organisation’s ability to maximise its talent pool. High-potential men and women want flex options, and organisations need to provide them if they want to attract and retain the best and the brightest and become an employer of choice for top talent throughout the pipeline.

Myth 5: Flexible work arrangements are still the exception, not the rule. For every company that does not offer flexible work options including telecommuting, flexible arrival and departure times, flex time, compressed work weeks, part-time options and job sharing, there are four others that do. The fact is that four out of five companies offer flexible work arrangements. 

The flexible work revolution is happening now.

Find out more at www.flexweare.com or ariane.virtue@flexweare.com

#Flexweare #Trust #FlexisBest

Written by
Ariane Virtue
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