A key issue staring companies directly in the eye is the ability to acquire and retain highly qualified workers.  This is especially true in the coming years as a main chunk of the workforce, the baby boomer generation, transitions into retirement.  As the baby boomers trade […]

Flickr imageA key issue staring companies directly in the eye is the ability to acquire and retain highly qualified workers.  This is especially true in the coming years as a main chunk of the workforce, the baby boomer generation, transitions into retirement.  As the baby boomers trade the day-to-day job in for their first Buick, they leave behind many job roles and responsibilities that Human Resources departments must backfill.

Deloitte LLP conducted a survey amongst technology and telecommunications workers to help figure out what keys points recruiters and HR should focus on in attracting and retaining talented workers.  Outside observers might jump to conclusions and quickly say more money is required.  However, the study shows that flexible working schedules and flexible working environments are more persuasive that financial compensation.

This should come to no surprise to many web workers.  Being able to work partially or fully from home is a valuable benefit that we enjoy.  When it’s appropriate for an individual’s job role, it is in a companies’ best interest to be accommodating to worker’s needs.  For example, if I have a doctor’s appointment to schedule, I know with my employer will allow me to work flexible hours.  Therefore, I’ll schedule the appointment for 4:00 (late in the afternoon) and go into work an hour early to make up the time.  Otherwise, I’d have to take an hour of paid leave for an activity that wasn’t nearly as fun as a vacation.

Other benefits arise from allowing employees to work from home.  If an employee is granted the ability to work from home just one day a week, their fuel consumption is cut by 20% instantly.  Plus the employee doesn’t have to drive to/from work, giving them more time for personal tasks and increasing their overall happiness with the company they work for.

Offering flexible work environments and hours is an advantageous ways for corporations to extend a benefit to employees in a no-cost manner.

What are your thoughts?  Are there any business managers who have thoughts for or against flexible schedules/work environments?

(image courtesy: Flickr user Bill Dimmick)

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By Jason Harris

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  1. I have written before about topics like this here. I consider these “Free Benefits”. They cost the company nothing or close to nothing and the return you get is very good.

    It costs nothing to let someone work from home, but you are telling your employee you trust them to get it done.

    These little things create loyalty. When you need someone to put in a long week it becomes less of a deal. They have your back because you care about them.

    I see it all the times, companies try to lock down on hours and all that does is piss people off who don’t abuse hours. So you go from people working 10 hours a day to 8.

    For those managers who don’t trust your employees to work remote once in a while you need to fire them because guess what, they are goofing off at work just as much.

  2. I’m a business owner so you can call me cynical. I just don’t trust people to work from home. In fact, I don’t even like flexi-time that much (workers clock in at 7am and do very little until everyone else arrives at nine).

    I’ve gone down that route of trusting people and I’ve learned from bitter experience that just because you treat someone well, don’t expect them to reciprocate. Some people mistake kindness for weakness.

    Finally, I take these studies with a pinch of salt. It’s not about the money once the money is at the right level. Until then, it’s always about the money.

  3. …Not this talent.

    I am still too jaded over the late Nineties to care about anything more than the bottom line. That, and not being treated like crap.

    Spent and/or invested properly, the dough has positive impact far past one’s tenure. Perks? Unless they save you money, not so much.

  4. Brian Dusablon Thursday, March 6, 2008

    It’s a balance. If the money’s not there, or not close, the perks aren’t going to make up for that. But perks would be enough to bring me in, if the money was close and the perks were what I wanted.

    As for Jake’s comments about not trusting workers to work at home, do you trust them at the office any more? If you don’t trust your employees, or at least have some form of accountability in place and let them know the consequences, then you’re either not managing properly, or not hiring the right people.

  5. Trust is something every business owner stuggles with… But must learn to do. I know that when I give someone a project, and keep my finger on it to completion,it’s usually not as good as if I just trust them to complete it on their own.

    If you have employees that you can’t trust, you need to let them go and get some new ones that are on the same page. Share your vision for your company, and get them to buy into it. You will be amazed at what might happen.

    With all that said, we have folks who want to be a part of our team, because they want to be apart of a team that is doing something good, helping them grow and become better at what they do, and helps them make a living… In that order.

  6. Wasn’t there a different study last week that said exactly the opposite?

  7. I have been running a small software company for several years now. I have found that you get two types of employees, those that need someone to look over their shoulder all the time, and those who you can trust to get the job done.

    Employing the latter leads to a profitable enterprize.

    This type of person is not necessarily motivated by money. As long as the pay is reasonable, they are willing to give more than they take. Generally, good developers fall into this category because it is more than a job to them. It is an expression of who they are.

  8. As a software development manager, I’ve never been a big fan of letting people work from home. However, given what we expect out of our developers, not allowing people to have flexible work schedules is simply cruel. I expect my employees to have priorities outside of work, and give them the flexibility to manage those priorities.

    I make it clear during the hiring process that my trust is not to be abused, and it never has.

  9. That’s a difficult question. Everybody wants a flexible schedule. Everybody wants to work from home. Not everybody is self-disciplined enough to stay focused in an environment that is not structured for work. That’s not just trust, that’s reality.

  10. Actually:

    * I don’t need a flexible schedule: My daughter and I ride the S-Bahn (in Munich) every day to the city at exactly the same time (school doesn’t have a flexible schedule); and the are just two busses in the evening from the S-Bahn to my home.

    * I don’t want to work from home: With 3 children and a happy neighbors community around, my only chance would be to seal off my office for the work hours – why should I invest in this?

    (I earn more than 100000 EUR a year – right now, that makes it some $150000; but the moment some things not mentioned would change where I work I’d leave in a second and go work for … well … maybe 80000 EUR :-) ).


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