SEATTLE, WA (August 17, 2009) - The advantages of offering flexibility in work arrangements are attracting more corporate attention, suggests a recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). The study found that a full 84% of companies overall believe that flexible work arrangements in their organization boosts employee morale. That figure is up from 76% in a similar 2008 study conducted by i4cp. Correspondingly, the 2009 study showed that 78% of polled companies say flexwork options bolster retention rates, up from 64% the previous year.

According to the most recent study results, "flextime" (flexible start/end times) is the most-used flexwork option, with 76% of companies overall selecting it as their top option. Working from home was the second-most favored, at 59% overall (that figure jumps to 70% in companies with more than 10,000 employees), followed by part-time work, pointed to by 56% of organizations.

"It's clear that, increasingly, employers are offering alternative work arrangements - especially flexible scheduling and the option to telecommute - to their employees," said Lorrie Lykins, i4cp's managing editor. "It's looked at more often these days as a strategy that can meet several needs, including rewarding workers when pay raises are not an option, easing stress on employees, and lowering overhead in some cases."

So, who is most likely to request a flexible work arrangement? Employees in professional roles top the list at 85%, followed by those in administrative roles (60%). In general, younger employees - 29% (41% in large companies) - are more likely to request the benefit, and more females (35%) than males (6%) tend to make such requests.

The most common rationales cited for offering flexible work arrangements by 60% of the overall respondents (and 69% of large companies) were that the employees' "job doesn't require presence in the office," followed by 60% who said long commutes were a reason, and 47% of respondents cited offering flexible arrangements for employees returning from maternity leave.

Keeping tabs on flexible work arrangements is also a priority. Sixty-nine percent of polled companies use established deadlines to measure productivity in a flexible work situation, while 66% keep an eye on project completion and 39% rely on periodic status reports.

With today's added focus on flexwork options, however, come additional concerns. When asked how flexible work options might be a detriment to the organization, almost two-thirds (64%) of the 2009 study respondents said that flexwork arrangements tend to frustrate workers who cannot utilize the benefit, compared to 36% a year ago, and 42% of 2009 respondents reported that the option is frustrating to managers, while just 20% felt so in 2008.

Also, the current economic situation appears to have limited bearing on flexwork programs. Sixty percent of all companies polled said the economy has had no effect on their programs, and 19% related they have increased flexible work options. Just 8% have reduced options in their companies.

The 2009 Flexible Work Arrangement Pulse Survey was conducted by i4cp in July 2009. A total of 306 respondents participated. The full results of the survey are available exclusively for all i4cp corporate members.

About i4cp, inc.

i4cp is the world's largest vendor-free network of corporations focused on improving workforce productivity. Our vendor-free community facilitates innovation by giving our members - among the largest and most respected organizations in the world - access to:
  1. Peers to spark new ideas and prevent "reinventing the wheel,"
  2. Research to enable members to understand current practices and next practices,
  3. Tools to put ideas and research into action,
  4. Technology to enable members to easily access tailored information and execute workforce strategies.
With more than 40 years of experience and the industry's largest team of human capital analysts, i4cp is the definitive destination for organizations seeking innovative ways to improve workforce productivity. For more information, visit http://www.i4cp.com/