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Importance of Flexible Work Arrangements for Firms Like Justitia

1.why it is Important for firms like as Justitia to ‘Smash the old Paradigm’ when it comes to work Design Challenges?

2.Problems that may Occur when adopting the kind of approach that Justitia is taking in regards to Flexible Working arrangements

3.How viable the approach is for Organisations of Different Sizes, and within different Industries.

Flexible Work Arrangements

The context of work is changing rapidly with new challenges to organisations to accommodate the changing nature of the workforce and the need to accommodate these new trends. These changes have been redefined by new societal values, advanced technologies, rapid globalisation and changing demographics.

Today flexibility at the workplace has become an essential element that defines current job arrangements (Yadav & Rani, 2015). The flexible arrangements vary from formal employment offers to individual negotiations between the individual and the organisation.

1.Management of the workplace has been evolving for quite some time leading to new work designs that fit the changing nature of the workforce. Organisations have been shifting their designs from traditional to flexible work environments that allow employees to juggle between work and other activities or interests that they pursue in life (Bailyn, 1993). This has been due to the rise of consultancy and part-time working arrangements where organisations hire individuals on contract basis for activities that do not need a regular employee. In the 21st century, flexibility of the workplace has greatly shaped the modern work place with organisations being forced to provide work environments that have flexible work arrangements. For example, in the UK 77% of employees are working in organisations that offer flexible work opportunities (Huselid, 2005).


Research has shown that firms like Justitia are reaping the benefits associated with flexible work environments through increased employee productivity. Employees are allowed to choose from hours that they are comfortable working rather than spending the whole day in office. This increases their productivity since they utilise the productive time they have at work and spend the rest of the time doing other things. Kauffeld, Jonas, & Frey (2004) adds that through allowing flexible work arrangements, organisations and employes set targets that are achieved by the employee regardless of the time they report to work so long as they utilise their daily productive  hours. McDonald, Bradley, & Brown, (2009) state that employees choose an environment that best suits their personal working styles making it easy for them to achieve organisational targets.

Problems That May Occur When Adopting Flexible Work Arrangements

According to Downes & Koekemoe (2011) the changing demographic nature of society and new societal values have influenced the need to accommodate employees with different personal situations. For example, the increasing number of women at the workplace has led to the need to accommodate special needs of women like mothers. For example,, women will want maternity leave while others will need time to be with their family to attend to motherly responsibilities like breastfeeding (Appiah-Mfodwa, Horwitz, Kieswetter, King, & Solai, 2000).  Carlson, Grywacz, & Kacmar (2010) add that Some organisations give such women time off while others create an environment that allows the women to have a breastfeeding area to attend to the minor. This flexible wrk arrangement ensures that the organisatin retains its employees and save the organisation recruitment costs.

Organisations working on flexible schedules are also able to utilise modern tools like technology to connect directly with clients without necessarily reporting to the office (Schumacher & Poehler, 2009). Through technology, organisations can reach out to global clients through virtual teams that are tethered to the parent organisation. this leads to an increased customer coverage through reaching out to customers in different time zones thus increasing access to new markets.

2.The role of flexible work arrangements is to balance between employee’s needs and organisational needs. This is through developing a schedule that reconciles the two parties to come up with a program that enables the organisation to meet its goals and at the same time satisfy the employees. However, Arthur (2003) suggests that work-life balance becomes a challenge when working on flexible work arrangements since employees have different work needs. Since employees productivity is the overall need that the organisation focuses on, therefore managing employee productivity and performance becomes a challenge since there could be possible misuse of time since it becomes a problem to measure whether employees are working  or not.

Lewis & Lewis(1996) states that flexible schedules have been challenged by factors b fall into the individual’s domain. For example, at the family level, support to employees from their families is important in increasing employee productivity as a way of ensuring that they can balance between their work schedules. This may be a challenge in situations where some employees may be facing personal challenges at home. This may affect their overall performance in the organisation

Bloom & Reenen (2010) argues that developing flexible work policies can also be challenging to some organisations since the arrangements may be specifically suited for one organisation and not applying to all organisations. Further, different geographical and demographic characteristics offer certain demands that may be difficult for the organisation to balance between one locality and the other. Organisations operating in such arrangements will always face the challenge of dealing with virtual clients and employees. This is because some employees may work in different time zones making it difficult to monitor the work and performance of the employees.

Viability of Flexible Work Arrangements for Organizations of Different Sizes and Industries


Accountability has also been a challenge that organisations working on flexible arrangements face. The flexible arrangements are based on trust rather than supervision, since employees login in at different times making it difficult for management to monitor the performance of every employee. Without face to face interactions and close management, some employees’ performance may fall thus costing the organisation (Grzywacz, Casey, & Jones, 2007). Some employees may take advantage of limited supervision to carry out their own tasks and thus their accountability to the organisation may fall. When working from a virtual environment, it becomes difficult to hold people accountable.

Lastly building relationships in flexible work arrangements may be difficult for organisational leaders. There are aspects of organisational culture, relationship building and team work that work well when the organisation uses a traditional approach. Through regular face to face interactions and working together, employees develop relationships with each other that can be used for organisational advantage (Potter, 2003). Through working together, full-time employees spend time working together and building teams that are based on an organisational culture that is developed each time employee’s work together. Therefore flexible work arrangements may limit teamwork, employee morale, retention rates and productivity. Relationships are key leadership tools used to improve productivity and develop team work within the organisation (Aguiar & Hurst., 2007).

3.First Tennessee Bank, (FTB) initially managed its human resource through a written attendance policy that required all employees to report and sign in and out. However, the Bank adopted a flexible work arrangement by removing attendance and scheduling from the general management and shifted it to branch managers and administrators (Bank, 2016). This was followed by creating part-time work arrangements through a developed work schedule that sought to accommodate individual needs of employees as a way of reducing absenteeism and turnover rates. This was followed by training of managers in all branches as way of ensuring that they understand how the flexible schedule will managed (Romer, 2010).


From the story of First Tennessee Bank, several strategies can be used to implement flexible work arrangements within an organisation. First thinking beyond gender can enable the organisation to tap the abilities and talents of employees from both genders. Organisations need to have gender diversity in their workplace through recognising employee abilities and qualifications rather than stratifying jobs based on gender. Flexible work environments that have both men and women n working as a team rather than male and female employees have registered the best performing results.

Flexible work arrangements must have obstacles and challenges that emanate from the kind of organisational environment that the company operates in. Therefore, understanding and identifying the obstacles that may frustrate the process will assist in developing early mechanisms for overcoming such challenges. Bond, Hyman, Summers & Wise (2002) suggesst that the obstacles include employee scepticism, fear, management resistance, technology difficulties, and impact of the changes on customers. Organisations that do risks analysis and identify potential barriers that may hinder their progress register the best results through ensuring that they achieve the intended outcomes and objectives at the organisational level.

Further, Casey, Metcalf, & Millward (1997) add that having a clear communication program within the organisation ensures that the organisation is able to get feedback from the employees and people that are affected by the program. In traditional set ups, regular meetings and contact with staff necessitate communication, thus making it easy for the organisation to identify issue that may be affecting employees. However, flexible work arrangements limit contact with employees making it difficult for some issues to be discovered.  Clear communication will ensure that issues are raised and addressed early.

Lastly collecting feedback and reviewing of the program will increase its relevance and output level within the organisation. Flexible programs need to be fine tuned as they used within the organisation and thus collecting data relating to the program and reviewing where necessary is the best way to improve and make the system more efficient and productive. Employees may be allowed to propose changes that they feel can improve the program (Boucher, 2013). Feedback mechanisms in the system should be put in place as way of analysing the system for the best results.

Conclusion

Flexible work arrangements are a characteristic of new work environments that are evolving based on technology and globalisation. Organisations need to embrace such work arrangements as a way of meeting organisational needs and accommodating different types of employees. Business environments that have embraced such arrangements are reaping greatly from business advantages associated with the flexible environment.

References

Aguiar, M., & Hurst., E. (2007). Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(3), 969-1006.

Appiah-Mfodwa, A., Horwitz, F., Kieswetter, G., King, D., & Solai, L. (2000). Flexible work practices, productivity improvement and employment. Society in Transition, 31(2), 95–110.

Arthur, M. (2003). Share Price Reactions to Work-Family Initiatives: An Institutional Perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 46(4), 497-505.

Bailyn, L. (1993). Breaking the mold: women,men and time in the corporate world. New York: Free Press.

Bank, F. T. (2016). Working at First Tennessee Bank. Retrieved from First Tennessee Bank.

Bloom, N., & Reenen, J. V. (2010). Why Do Management Practices Differ across Firms and Countries. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(1), 203-224.

Bond, S., Hyman, J., Summers, J., & Wise, S. (2002). Family-friendly policies and organisational decision-making. New York: York Publishing Services.

Boucher, P. (2013, April 15). How flexible working can benefit you and your employees . The Guardian.

Carlson, D., Grywacz, J., & Kacmar, K. (2010). The relationship of schedule flexibility and outcomes via the work-family interface. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 25(4), 330–335.

Casey, B., Metcalf, H., & Millward, N. (1997). Employers’ use of flexible layout. London: : Policy Studies Institute.

Downes, C., & Koekemoe, E. (2011). Work–life balance policies: Challenges and benefits associated with implementing flexitime. Journal of Human Resource Management, 9(1), 1-13.

Grzywacz, J. G., Casey, P. R., & Jones, F. A. (2007). The Effects of Workplace Flexibility on Health Behaviors: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analysis. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 49(2), 1302–09.

Huselid, M. (2005). The impact of human resource management practices on turnover, productivity,and corporate financial performance,. Academy of Management Journal, 38(3).

Kauffeld, S., Jonas, E., & Frey, D. (2004). Effects of a flexible work-time design on employee- and company-related aims. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 13(1), 79-100.

Lewis, S., & Lewis, J. (1996). The work-family challenge: rethinking employment. London: Sage.

McDonald, P., Bradley, L., & Brown, K. (2009). Full-time is a Given in Here. Part-time Versus Full-time Job Quaity. British Journal of Management,, 20, 143-157.

Potter, E. E. (2003). Telecommuting: The Future of Work, Corporate Culture, and American Society. Journal of Labor Research, 24(1), 73–84.

Romer, C. (2010). Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility. Daine Publishing.

Schumacher, T., & Poehler, L. (2009). The Virtual Team Challenge: Is it time for training? International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, 6(2), 169-181.

Yadav, T., & Rani, S. (2015). Work life balance: challe. International Journal of Applied Research, 1(11), 680-684

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