Survey: Flexible Scheduling Tops the List of Valued Benefits

What perk do today’s workers appreciate most? According to 30 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled recently by Accountemps, flexible schedules top the list. Retirement savings plans ranked second, cited by 17 percent of those surveyed, followed closely by extra time off with 16 percent of the response.

The national poll was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The survey includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, “Which one of the following employee benefits do you feel workers value most?” Their responses:

Flexible schedules 30%
Retirement savings plans 17%
Extra time off 16%
Spot bonuses 13%
Health care benefits/health insurance 13%
Equity incentives 3%
Don't know/other 8%
Total 100%

“Lean staffing levels mean many employees are working longer hours. At the same time, a growing number of professionals must meet mounting personal obligations, including caring for children and elderly relatives,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Motivating Employees For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “For this ‘sandwich generation’ of employees, increased control of their time enables them to balance competing demands.”

Added Messmer, “Not all companies are able to provide flexible schedules; it depends on the nature of the business and the number of people employed. However, firms that can offer this benefit may have an advantage when recruiting and retaining staff.”

Messmer advised managers who are considering offering flexible work arrangements to ask themselves the following questions:

  • How will it affect customer service? Staggering work hours might allow you to accommodate employee schedules while being more available to customers. However, if your business has certain peak periods, you may want to have all personnel available during those times.
  • How strong is the employee work ethic? Flexible schedules work best for self-motivated professionals, particularly if they’ll be doing their jobs when no one else is around.
  • How dependent on teamwork is the organization? If impromptu meetings are where the best ideas are born, you’ll want to ensure significant overlap in employee schedules.

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