As I got ready to write a post in support of National Work and Family Month 2013, I reflected a bit on my own experiences with flexible work policies and my goals as a small business owner. It's inspiring to see that my support of such policies isn't just for the benefit of my staffers, but also a sound business decision for my company's success.
As a small business owner, I've witnessed firsthand over the last seven years the benefits of family-friendly policies and work-life benefits, both for my staff members and my company. I founded FlexJobs to help professionals find jobs that support work-life balance, and as a company, we very much practice what we we preach.
From my own experience, here are the top 10 reasons companies should "think strategically about family-friendly policies and work-life benefits," as National Work and Family Month recommends.
Better teamwork. Having flexible work policies that allow my staffers to set their own schedules and work from home has enabled them to take time for doctor's appointments, children's activities, and all sorts of "life" moments. Everyone on our team is afforded the same flexibility, so everyone pitches in to help out when someone is away. Instead of resentment or isolation, we are a more connected, more supportive team because we all reap the benefits.
A more productive workforce. Several studies over the last several years have shown that telecommuters are more productive than their in-office counterparts.
Happier, more satisfied employees. Employees who feel empowered to structure their work and personal lives according to their needs are more satisfied. In fact, when asked whether they'd rather have a flexible work environment or a salary increase, professionals overwhelming choose flexible work.
Continuity during uncertain business conditions. Over the last year, our team has experienced floods, tornado warnings, snow storms, power outages, Internet service disruptions, and other unforeseeable events. If we were centrally located, one of these events could have slowed down or even stopped our daily business operations. Because we all work from home with flexible schedules, we didn't miss a beat.
A wider talent pool. Because of our flexible work policies, we've been able to hire people from across the United States and even Europe. As a small business, finding talent that fits best with our company, regardless of location, is priceless.
Opening up new sources of talent. By offering flexible schedules and family-friendly policies, companies can find talent that otherwise is closed off to traditional 9-5 office jobs. Stay-at-home parents, military spouses, retired professionals, and professionals with disabilities are all brought into the workforce through flexible work options.
Lowered environmental impact. Fewer buildings to maintain, less commuting to and from work, and fewer used office supplies to dispose of are just some of the ways flexible work policies help companies lower their carbon footprints.
Reduced turnover and hiring costs. Satisfied employees are less likely to look for greener, more flexible pastures, reducing the need for companies to fill vacated positions and keeping brain drain to a minimum.
Faster growth. A recent study found that companies who hire telecommuters grow at a faster rate than companies with only in-office workers. Being able to hire salespeople in different geographic locations is one reason.
Experiencing all of these firsthand in my work as the CEO and Founder of FlexJobs inspired an idea called 1 Million for Work Flexibility. Just recently launched, 1 Million for Work Flexibility is the first national initiative to bring people together and create a collective voice in support of work flexibility. If you value flexible work options, join 1 Million for Work Flexibility to voice your support for work flexibility for all.
I've worked with companies large and small to help them expand their policies to include telecommuting, flexible schedules, and professional-level part-time jobs. Each company needs to structure their flexible work policies to fit their overall needs and goals, but every company can benefit from family-friendly policies and work-life benefits!
Follow Sara Sutton Fell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/flexjobs