How Flexible Time and Attendance Policies Became a Critical Employee Benefit
The Evolution of Work-life Balance
Work-life balance has been an important HCM topic for decades. The term was first used in the UK in the 1970’s to describe the balance between an individual’s work and personal life and appears to have been adopted in the US in the mid 1980’s. At the time, the challenge was to motivate workers to feel empowered to prioritize personal or family time above work commitments when necessary. Since that time the concept has evolved as the workforce has become increasingly mobile, leading to changes in where and how work is done. The traditional 40 hour week transformed as technology made it possible for work to be done off site and at hours chosen by an employee based upon their schedule. As a result, flexible work arrangements have become common and work-life balance has shifted from a cultural ideal to an expectation, particularly among Millennials, of a blended existence in which any time of the day can be set aside for work or for play. Millennial workplace expert Lindsey Pollak finds that millennials in particular see little if any delineation between work and personal life based on time or place and describes them as likely to “spend a few minutes during the work day shopping online or reserving a bike for SoulCycle, but … also not (be) the least bit bothered by their boss calling them at 8 p.m.”
Achieving the Work-Life Blend
In its 2016 Millennial Survey, Winning Over the Next Generation of Leaders, Deloitte found that millennials, who have recently become the largest generational share of the labor force, value work-life balance above all other job characteristics. In fact, 75% would like more opportunities to work remotely, from home or other locations where they believe they would be more productive. 67% of millennials report having some flexibility in their work hours and 43% reported currently being able to work remotely some or all of the time. The gap between those who want to able to work remotely and those currently able to is significant, particularly for employers who are seeking to attract and retain this group as future leadership.
In reality, Millennials expect more than just work-life balance, they seek work-life integration, and flexible policies around time and attendance (when and where work gets done) are essential to helping meet this expectation. Work-life integration means that a company will entrust an employee with considerable flexibility, supported by the organization’s confidence that work will be complete when it is needed, regardless of when or where the actual work occurs.
Benefits of Flexible Time and Attendance Policies for all Generations of Workers
It is unquestionable that the younger generations value flexibility in their work schedule and that offering flexibility as a benefit is crucial to an employer’s ability to hire and retain this talent pool, but flexibility can also have a positive impact on workers of all generations. 87% of HR leaders believe that workplace flexibility programs lead to higher employee satisfaction, according to a study by Workplace Trends.com. 71% of employers also find that flexibility delivers increased productivity, 65% attribute flexibility to their ability to retain top talent, and 69% use flexible work arrangements as a recruiting tool.
Successful Strategies to Support Flexibility
Trust is crucial to a successful flexible time and attendance policy. Workers must feel trusted by employers and employers need to be able to authentically communicate trust to the employee. Mobile time and attendance systems can help establish trust and accountability, which benefits both the employer and the employee. In addition to tracking hours worked, mobile time and attendance solutions can report on a worker’s location, ensuring that work is being done from the location an employee has stated. By implementing a mobile time and attendance solution, employers are able to track and more importantly, support, a modern, mobile, agile workforce to work from anywhere at anytime. Flexible time and attendance policies should be a strong component of an employer’s benefits offering, and mobile solutions to administer them reinforce an organization’s commitment to supporting the modern workforce.