Written by: Audrey Adelson, MSW, WLCP
February 18, 2014
Changing workplace culture to embrace workplace flexibility as a core business strategy is not easy for some organizations. The change process can take time, and based on recent research conducted by Boston College Center for Work & Family and consultants from Life Meets Work, some training can help extremely beneficial for change to be most successful. But what do you do when daily work operations are severely impacted by events such as a civil emergency, a serious power outage, flu epidemic, or something as a rare 'catastrophic' winter storm in the South?
Closures for a day or two won't cripple most companies, but a week or more can deeply impact them. And, what happens when you have multiple events like we had here in Georgia?
Over the past month, Emory University and other organizations and businesses throughout the metro Atlanta region experienced firsthand how these events can interrupt business continuity. In response, they encouraged employees to work remotely where they could during the recent winter weather. While most schools were closed and children were at home - some productivity was better than no productivity. Many employees used remote work, flexible scheduling and technology as a way to manage heavy workloads and allow for safer commutes. For some organizations, it was business as usual.
Moving forward, we would encourage managers and supervisors to consider workplace flexibility as an appropriate option to deal with interruption in business operations resulting from an adverse event, storm or emergency. Given the way remote work can be structured, using flexibility for business continuity requires advance planning to ensure that staff have access to appropriate resources and technology to accomplish business goals and objections.
Workplace Flexibility is becoming the new normal for business and industry. When implemented in a well, flexibility can support both business and personal needs and increase productivity both for organizations and individuals. Drivers for creating a flexible work culture may vary, but research shows that it is a valuable tool to help attract and retain talent, engage employees and increase productivity.
Contact The Emory WorkLife Resource Center at (404) 727-1261 if you are interested in learning more about how to successfully create a flexible work environment.