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WorkLife Resource Center sees a growing demand for guidance on workplace flexibility

By Audrey Adelson | Emory WorkLife Resource Center | May 15, 2013

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Over the past year, the Emory WorkLife Resource Center has experienced an increased demand for guidance around how to create a more flexible work environment on campus. iStock.

Over the past year, the Emory WorkLife Resource Center has experienced an increased demand for guidance around how to create a more flexible work environment on campus.  

Five years ago when the center first launched, requests of this nature tended to come from individual employees seeking a flexible work arrangement to help them better manage their work and personal responsibilities.  

Flexibility has long existed on the University campus, but was often kept quiet and handled privately between managers and their staff. Limited understanding about best practices and inconsistent knowledge about the management of flexibility led some to have questions about trust and equity.

Today, the University is beginning to use flexibility more strategically to help with attracting and retaining top talent by:

  • respecting the diversity of its workforce
  • increasing engagement and productivity
  • helping employees to better manage stress and take better care of themselves  

The Emory WorkLife Resource Center has been invited into business units from various areas across campus to help their leaders and employees learn more about best practices, assessing job suitability, educating them about how to a manage flexible workforce and using technology to maintain seamless and efficient work operations.

Area leaders and managers are looking for innovative new approaches to how, where and when work can be accomplished, as well as how to better support a workforce that has been feeling impacted by a sluggish economy and managing heavy workloads. Employees are interested in flexible work arrangements as way to improve performance and efficiency both at home and at work.  

This demand for greater workplace flexibility is expected to increase as we begin to experience a shortage of highly skilled workers, employees respond to increasing caregiving demands and advancements in technology continue to accelerate the pace at which we work.

With more women in the workforce than ever before — many of whom are breadwinners — most families today don’t have anyone at home taking care of personal responsibilities. Men are taking on a much greater role on the home front. A need to work more flexibly is not something employers can afford to do just to be nice anymore. Creating a flexible work environment is something employers need to include strategically today.  

To learn more about flexible work arrangements or how to create a more flexible work environment for your unit, contact Audrey Adelson at 404-727-1261. Follow the WorkLife Resource Center on Twitter to keep up with current research and discussion about workplace flexibility.