The Benefits of Telecommuting & Flexible Work Arrangements


“Let me telecommute!”


This comment is the new workforce. And, quite possibly a real solution for reducing turnover. Workplace flexibility is becoming more of a necessity as organizations try to attract, retain, and engage employees. The emerging workforce is expecting more than good pay and benefits. Employees are looking for a seamless way of getting their work done while spending enough time socially and with their family. While the employee is saying “let me telecommute”, the employee is actually saying “I need help managing my work life and personal life.”

One way of doing this is to develop flexible work arrangements. So, what is a flexible work arrangement? FWA is any one of a spectrum of work structures that alters the time and/or place that work gets done on a regular basis. It includes flexibility in the scheduling of hours work can take place, flexibility in the number of hours worked, and flexibility in the place of work. Following are just a few FWA examples:

Examples of Flexible Work Arrangements:

Flextime – a system of working a set number of hours with the starting and finishing times chosen within agreed to by the employer.

Core hours – all employees work during specified core hours (e.g. 10:00 am – 3:00 pm) but can flex the starting and ending times.

Daily flex – work hours differ from the traditional 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. An employee may work 9:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Day-of-the-week flex – work hours are flexed on a particular day of the week (e.g. Monday’s).

Compressed workweek – work schedule that enables employees to work full-time in fewer than five days. Where applicable, local overtime laws should be reviewed prior to implementing.

4-day work week – 4 10-hour days

3-day work week – 3 12-hour days

4 ½ day work week – 4 9-hour days and 1 4-hour day

9-day biweekly – working 80 hours in 9 workdays

Telecommuting – the practice of employees working from an independent location (normally home) on a full-time basis or some part of the workweek.

Reduced work schedule – generally known as a part-time work schedule. Employees may or may not receive pro-rated benefits.

Job sharing – arrangements where two employees to work part-time to perform a job normally fulfilled by one full-time person

    The above flexible work arrangements are just a few examples of programs organizations offer these days. Flexible arrangements can encompass a wide range of initiatives tailored to achieve individual flexibility as employees have different work and life issues throughout their careers. The value of these arrangements for both the employee and employer cannot be overstated since this is the new work environment. For employees, they reduce stress, allow individuals to attend to their personal needs, improve employees’ mental health, provide a sense of control and empowerment, and lead to shorter commutes. Employers will see an increase in attraction/retention/loyalty, greater productivity and engagement, better work coverage, lower absenteeism, and a reputation for helping integrate employees’ work and personal life. The cost is minimal but the benefits are tremendous.

    (This blog post brought to you by HSD Metrics, an exit interview company that helps companies reduce employee turnover by providing automated reference checking, exit interviews, and by measuring employee retention. The comments from exiting employees that are featured in this blog are collected from actual exit interviews conducted using ExitRight, HSD’s exit interviewing service. Because we place the privacy of our clients at the top of our priority list; the names of all involved parties are kept completely confidential. Check our blog often for posts like this, to reduce employee turnover within your organization. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today.)