What is Flex Work and Some Trends Which Indicate its Popularity
Flexible Working or Flex Work is defined as any working arrangement that involves remote work, telecommuting, part time and freelancing, and other forms of flexible working arrangements.
As the name implies, any sort of adaptable and flexible working arrangement between the employees and the employers falls under this category. In recent years, flex work has become hugely popular across the United States and even abroad for that matter.
Recent surveys indicate that nearly 30-40% of the overall workforce in the United States has some sort of flex work arrangement.
Moreover, some surveys also highlight the fact that nearly 20% of all employees who have quit during the last year and changed employers did so because they were denied flex work arrangements.
Indeed, given the fact that at the moment, the job market is booming in the US and record numbers of people are changing jobs, these numbers highlight how flex work is growing in popularity in absolute as well as relative terms. Further, with the advent of the Gig Economy or the Freelancing Economy, the numbers of workers and professionals who label themselves as Flex Workers is growing by the day.
The Many Benefits of Flex Work for Employers and Employees
So, what is it that makes Flex Work so attractive to employees and employers as well? If we leave out freelancing and gig workers for the moment, we find that the rest of the forms of Flex Work such as Remote Work, Telecommuting, and Work from Home options are forms of work where the employee has greater Agency over his or her work.
In other words, offering employees the chance to work remotely or from home or for them to telecommute induces a certain control among such employees over their work.
Moreover, with the increasing number of women in Corporate America, Flex Work gives them the needed working arrangement to balance personal and professional commitments.
For instance, some corporates in the US are offering their women employees the option of an extended Maternity Leave period through remote work and work from home options wherein such women need not go on unpaid leave after their maternity leave is over.
Further, for women who are raising children on their own or for that matter, even along with their partners, it becomes easier for them if their working arrangement is flexible so as to enable them to lead more balanced lives.
Lessening the Load on Cities and Metropolitan Regions
Apart from these, there is another often overlooked dimension to the growing popularity of flex work. With most American cities and for that matter, most metropolitan regions worldwide being saturated, there is a push and a nudge from the governments of countries world over to incentivize corporates to setup their offices in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
The reasoning behind this is that by doing so, they would be lessening the burden on the creaking and groaning infrastructure of the cities.
In this context, corporates who are reluctant to move Lock, Stock, and Barrel to such rural and semi urban areas can simply make their employees work remotely to ensure a Double Benefit of sparing the cities from overcrowding and at the same time, creating job opportunities for the other regional workers.
Indeed, this is the reason why some employers in India are now lobbying the government for tax breaks and subsidies for them to setup a presence in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities whereby they actualize flex work and onsite work in combination.
Another key benefit of Flex Work is that it enables MNCs (Multinational Corporations) to recruit professionals from anywhere and everywhere thereby ensuring business success.
Flex Work HR Strategies
Turning to the HR Strategies to deal with newer forms of working arrangements, it is indeed the case that corporates should devise a work from home, remote work, telecommuting work policy in the interests of the employees as well as their own.
For instance, there can be an arrangement where the Employer pays for Phone and Wi-Fi and Broadband access for the employees at their homes.
In addition, with most applications hosted on the Cloud, employees can login from anywhere and everywhere and anytime and every time.
Moreover, with the growing sophistication of Skype, Google Hangouts, and other forms of Video Conferencing, there is no reason for Corporates to not use such tools to enhance their virtual meetings and do away (at least partly) with physical presence in the office.
Indeed, the leading MNC IBM in the East Coast of the United States follows 100% Flex Work for some locations wherein employees are based in semi urban and county regions and work from home entirely.
This saves them money in terms of rent and other expenses that are skyrocketing in the cities and at the same times, lessens the load on the latter as far as the number of residents are concerned.