Cultivating a Flexible Work Culture


We live in a fast-paced world that is outgrowing the era of the 9 to 5 work day spent cooped up at a desk. Millennials, who are the debutants in the workforce, have a different perspective and desire flexible schedules with the liberty of working from anywhere. Is that too much to ask for, especially when technology affords this flexibility?

According to an Australian study, The Power of Flexibility: A Key Enabler to Boost Gender Parity and Employee Engagement, by Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women, there is excessive demand for flexible work models but not all organizations are ready to accept the change.

An earlier study by these same groups found that flexible work environments especially aided experienced women and those in middle-management positions. About 50 percent of these women utilized flexible hours to take care of their children. Flexibility reduced as they went up the cadre, thus showing a dip in the number of women in C-Suite positions in Australia.

While many tech giants and some smaller companies have accepted flexible work hours as a new norm, many organizations are yet to adopt the trend.

Swedish organizations have been experimenting with six-hour work days. Nurses at the Svartedalens retirement home switched to a shorter working day and noticed that they had more energy and could work more efficiently. Toyota service centers across Gothenburg have followed this pattern for over a decade and are thoroughly satisfied because their employees and customers are happy. These and other institutions also realized that the six-hour work day produced similar or even better quality work than the older model.
With changing mindsets and work ideals, will the younger generation have to adapt to the old ways, or will millennials lead the way in eliminating the traditional 40-hour, office setting work week?

In the U.S., not many industries offer flexible work schedules. With evidence that these new work models increase retention and efficiency, do you think it is time to restructure our traditional eight-hour workday? If so, what changes do you believe should be implemented? Please comment below!

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