State Agencies—Flexible Work Options—State Issue Brief
by Melissa Brown, Michelle Wong & Tay McNamara
June 2009—Flexible Work Options in State Agencies is the first issue brief in the States as Employers-of-Choice study, a study designed to provide resources to aid state agencies in addressing the needs of the shifting demographics of the workforce.
Why are flexible options important? In addition to reporting greater work-family balance, employees with access to flexible work options have also shown improved morale and reduced unscheduled absences, which benefit both employees and employers.
According to our study, certain flexible options were reported to be widely accessible in state agencies; 66.2% of employees having access to caregiving leave, and almost half of employees can request changes in starting and quitting times. Many options, however, are remain largely unavailable: only 8.1% of employees reported availability of working off-site and 9.2% reported having the option of phasing into retirement.
In general, workplaces showing greater overall effectiveness have also tended to offer a wider range of flexibility options to most or all of their employees. Some state agencies, however, still evidenced reluctance to implement certain options, mostly due to perceived difficulties with “supervising employees, concerns about treating employees equally, and concerns about the reactions of clients.”
“Offering a variety of flexible work options to employees across the age spectrum can be a critical component of an effective action plan to meet the challenges of changing workplace demographics,” our authors conclude. State agencies who wish to become, or remain, employers-of-choice may wish to use the information in this issue brief to reevaluate their position on issues such as workplace flexibility.