Survey: The Keys to Happiness at Work? Flexibility

Giving employees something to smile about at the office may be as simple as offering them more control over their time, a recent survey suggests. One-third (33 percent) of workers polled said greater schedule flexibility would result in increased job satisfaction.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 613 men and women, all 18 years of age or older and employed.

Survey respondents were asked, "Which one of the following would give you greater satisfaction in your current job?"

Would you want:

- More flexibility in your schedule 33%
- More autonomy in making decisions 17%
- More variety in work projects 17%
- More collaboration with others 17%
- Something else/none of the above 14%
- Don’t know/no answer 2%

"Firms that have made staff reductions are relying heavily on remaining employees to assume expanded responsibilities," said Liz Hughes, vice president of OfficeTeam. "But more work often means longer hours, which can lead to burnout. A flexible schedule can alleviate some of the burden and allow for greater work-life balance for staff."

Hughes added, "The best managers focus on retaining top performers in any economy. Turnover is costly, and employees who feel appreciated are less likely to leave when business conditions improve."

Hughes offers the following tips for managers investigating flexible work schedules for employees:

  1. Focus on results, not face time. Your best workers may not be the ones who log the most hours or provide the most detailed activity reports. Make sure team members are aware of how performance is measured and evaluated.

  2. Take a personal interest. Find out what interests people outside of work so you know why employees want more flexibility. The reasons could range from pursuing an advanced degree to spending more time with family.

  3. Pay attention to timing. Not everyone produces the best work between 9 and 5. If possible, stagger schedules to enable early risers and night owls to work when they’re most productive. As an added benefit, this will enable you to expand coverage to clients.

  4. Keep daily issues in mind. If permanent flex-time arrangements are not feasible, offer your workers flexibility with their daily schedules. Finding time to run personal errands can be a challenge, particularly those tasks that can only be handled during business hours. Your full-time employees will appreciate the option to take early or late lunch hours, for instance, to address these tasks.

OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at http://www.officeteam.com

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