Bad News for Families: Flexible Work Options Stagnate

by Colette Moran

After years of slow but steady progress, it looks like flex options in workplaces are being pulled back. Last year it was Bank of America, and this year Yahoo! and Best Buy have reined in workflex for their employees. The choice made by the new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer– said to be the first Fortune 500 tech CEO to run a company while pregnant – seemed to really cut working mothers to the quick. And the two working moms who developed Best Buy’s workflex program were floored.

[Best Buy is] sending a clear message that they are more concerned with having leadership excel at monitoring the hallways, rather than building a leadership team that excels at defining clear, measurable results, and holding people accountable for achieving those results. While we agree that Best Buy must take drastic measures to turn their business around, moving back to a 20th century, paternalistic ‘command and control’ environment is most certainly not the answer

In fact, any so-called leadership team can effectively get ‘all hands on deck’, dictate hours and delegate tasks, while their people brag about how many hours they put in ‘at the office’. That’s easy. But only true leadership has the ability to get ‘everyone on point’ with a workforce vs. a workplace that’s fluid, nimble and focused on what matters: measurable results.

A recent employee-benefits survey by the Society of Human Resource Management has shown a statistically insignificant change in all measures of flexible-work options, despite the positive effects, such as fewer employee absences, that these options provide.

Despite the the rise of cloud technology, completely distributed companies, and more modern company cultures, there’s been almost no change over the past four years.

Still, there’s a hope for gradual progress. Another 4% of employers say they’ll offer some telecommuting options within the next year.

Charts and more here.



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