What are the benefits of flextime?
1. MAINTAINING WORK-LIFE BALANCE (OR work-life negotiation)
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a 2019 infographic on work-life balance trends in the U.S. showed that 66% of American workers reported that they lacked work-life balance. With the onset of the pandemic and a monumental shift to remote work, finding work-life balance became even more elusive for many workers around the world as the boundaries between work and personal lives blurred.
However, because Gannett Fleming already had a flextime policy in place, our team of more than 2600 was able to easily adapt to the “new norms.” Before the pandemic, parents flexed time in their workdays to attend parent teacher conferences or other school activities. During the pandemic, they flexed their time to help their children with virtual learning. Similarly, employees flexed their time to fit in errands, appointments, and other engagements prior to the onset of COVID-19, and to limit opportunities for exposure during the pandemic, many have flexed their time to grocery shop, run errands, and make appointments during times when they can avoid crowds.
While everyone has faced struggles during the pandemic, it’s clear that having a flextime policy has made a difference in maintaining balance in our employees’ lives. The best news is that, as a long-established practice at the firm and a benefit that the entire team highly values, flextime will remain once the pandemic fades away.
2. BETTER PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
In a December 2020 study, more than 76% of U.S. employees surveyed reported feeling job burnout, which can manifest due to prolonged stress in the form of decreased work performance, exhaustion, and feeling cynical or negative about work. However, the burnout trend had reached alarming proportions well before COVID-19 changed the world as we know it, with some causes of job burnout being cited as lack of control, extremes of activity, and work-life imbalance. While flextime can’t address all the causes of job burnout, it can play an important role in providing a sense of control around one’s schedule and offering the opportunity to choose how one balances work and personal obligations.
Having a flextime policy has also encouraged our employees to take care of their complete physical and mental well-being. The ability to flex time to attend doctor’s appointments, fitness and nutrition classes, and other wellness activities without needing to squeeze these items in during lunch or use blocks of PTO promotes a proactive approach to our team’s overall health instead of acting only when an issue arises. Additionally, flextime empowers the team to make room for self-care and put mental health first by enabling employees to flex time to refocus and recharge.
3. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Gannett Fleming takes responsibility for providing professional learning and development opportunities for all employees, and we know that professional development is important at every career stage. Whether it’s in the form of single courses or fully accredited degree programs, the firm is committed to employee growth and understands that some learning opportunities may require an adjustment to standard work schedules.
We also encourage employees to explore their interests and passions outside of their work. Flexing time to attend workshops, courses, conferences, and other events enables our team to be well-rounded, benefits their personal and professional growth, and offers employees the opportunity to bring their full selves to their roles and the firm as a whole.
4. FEELING HAPPIER AND MORE VALUED AT WORK
For employees who feel they have good work-life balance, it would take a median salary increase of $10,000 for them to give it up! Additionally, this amount is shown to increase as people climb the corporate ladder, so work-life balance is increasingly being valued at the same level as salary.
Gannett Fleming believes in offering holistically competitive compensation and benefits packages. By empowering employees to have a level of autonomy in their schedules, we’ve found that they enjoy their jobs more and are more productive. We appreciate that the employee-employer relationship is a two-way street, and by treating our team with respect as people first, we see the benefit of having the industry’s brightest and most motivated professionals help us solve our clients’ biggest problems. Having healthy, happy employees contributes to what we call our “secret sauce” – a culture that promotes teamwork, innovative thinking, and a dedication to excellence delivered as promised.