A flexible work arrangement can refer to any of the following situations: flexibility in the scheduling of work hours, flexibility in the number of hours worked (e.g., part-time work, job shares), or flexibility in the place of work (e.g., work from home). While flexible hours is a great option to have for all employees, it can be especially beneficial to women professionals, many of whom have responsibilities outside the workplace. In fact, in many cases it works for employers as well since having flexibility in the workplace can alleviate stress, make employees more loyal, and lead to a workplace environment and culture that’s more positive and productive.
Flex Time Is Good for Families
Despite how far we’ve come regarding gender equality in the home and the workplace, women still perform the lion’s share of childcare in the home, with women putting in about 50 hours per week, and men clocking in around 24. It stands to reason, therefore, that one of the advantages of careers with flexible work arrangement options is that it allows women professionals more flexibility when it comes to balancing work and life responsibilities. Without this freedom, women professionals would have to work family and personal responsibilities around rigid work hours, making it difficult for them to maintain both. In fact, nearly 60 percent of women in workplaces that don’t offer flexible hours say they have to lower their career expectations because of these opposing demands.
Flexible Hours Give Women Opportunities to Meet Their True Potential
But that’s not to say the only reason to allow flexible work schedules for women and men is because of family responsibilities because flex hours also have benefits to confer on the professional lives of employees in the workplace. Roughly 50 percent of employees say that flexible work options are extremely important to them, and having this freedom, therefore, leads to higher employee retention and loyalty in companies that offer flex time. And because flexible hours mean more women stay the course when it comes to their career aspirations, and because more women will stay with the same company if they offer flexible hours, this gives women professionals more opportunities to learn new skills, and more time to hone existing ones.
Benefits of Flex Time for Employees and Employers
Flexible work opportunities—which include anything from making your own hours to a results-only work environment to work from home options—aren't just good for employees, however, and they also have benefits for the workplace in general. For example, one of the many consequences of flexible work arrangements is improved employee job satisfaction, and this, in turn, leads to better productivity and improved performance. Employees who have a healthy work-life balance also report lower levels of stress, they show up late less often, and they miss fewer days of work. Overall, flexible work options are beneficial for everybody involved, not just women professionals, and certainly not just members of the workforce who are parents.
Not all employers are open to the idea of flexible work arrangements, and for some women professionals, this could lead them to leave the workforce entirely, seek out new employment, or cut back on hours. Another option, however, for women who want more flexibility and a better work-life balance is to explore entrepreneurial ventures and business ownership possibilities. When you are your boss, you get to make all the rules, including the hours you work and the time you get off, and you can set your sights as high as you want when you're the one in charge.
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