Stay Flexible or Risk Losing Your Professionals, Says i4cp Study

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<strong>Seattle &mdash; March 24</strong><br />If you can&rsquo;t be flexible, then stay out of the management suite. Otherwise, you might have a tough time hanging onto your most talented people, suggests a recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).<br /><br />Flex work is being fostered in the business arena as a means to boost employee morale and increase retention. But who&rsquo;s most likely to request such arrangements? Seventy-three percent of those who responded to the survey said that &ldquo;employees in professional roles&rdquo; request these types of arrangements. The study also shows that the employee groups considered most &ldquo;conducive&rdquo; to flex work are those in professional roles, followed by those in technical and clerical positions.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s little wonder that companies offer flex work,&rdquo; said Mark Vickers, vice president of research at i4cp. &ldquo;If they don&rsquo;t, they&rsquo;re probably more likely to lose out to their more limber competitors when wooing professional talent.&rdquo;<br /><br />According to the study, 73 percent of the 560 responding organizations offer &ldquo;flextime&rdquo; (flexible start/end times), while 60 percent offer part-time work opportunities and 33 percent provide a compressed workweek option.<br /><br />Most agree such arrangements pay dividends. Seventy-six percent report that flex-work arrangements boost employee morale, and 64 percent say they bolster retention rates. Overall, flexible work options are becoming more common in companies. Forty-five percent of companies polled report that such options are expected to grow during the next year. Just 7 percent forecast a reduction in flex-work programs.<br /><br />Measuring the viability of flexible work arrangements is also a priority, the study shows. Sixty-eight percent of respondents have established deadlines for flex workers, and 64 percent keep close tabs on those project deadlines. Daily or weekly project status reports are required by 43 percent of responding organizations, and 27 percent require periodic status meetings.<br /><br />Respondents thought that younger employees were more likely to request such arrangements than older workers, and women were seen as more likely to request them than men.<br /><br />But staying flexible isn&rsquo;t without its drawbacks, according to some respondents. More than a third of participants reported that flex arrangements frustrate those employee groups not eligible for flex time, and overall, 20 percent say such arrangements frustrate managers.<br /><br />The Flexible Work Arrangement &ldquo;Taking the Pulse&rdquo; survey was conducted by i4cp, in conjunction with HR.com, in February 2008.<br />

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