Flexibility is the key

Senior Managers who take advantage of work-life balance policies are significantly outperforming colleagues who do not work flexibly, a study has found. The research by assessment specialist SRL challenges the still widely-held view that flexible working is not compatible with senior management responsibilities. The study looked at the performance of executives who took up a […]

Senior Managers who take advantage of work-life balance policies are significantly outperforming colleagues who do not work flexibly, a study has found.

The research by assessment specialist SRL challenges the still widely-held view that flexible working is not compatible with senior management responsibilities. The study looked at the performance of executives who took up a range of options including job shares, part-time and home-working and flexi-time. It found that those working flexibly performed better than those who did not. Key findings include:

70% of part-timers were perceived to be outperforming their full-time colleagues and their own previous output;

70% of job sharers were seen to have a 30 per cent increase in output compared to one person doing the same job;

60% of all flexible workers were ranked very good or excellent at problem solving, analysis, and resilience in the face of setbacks.

The report — which calls on the government to promote flexible working for senior staff — said: ‘The findings demolish the widely-held view that job sharing is inappropriate for senior and managerial positions. This is simply not true, and needs to be challenged when it is evoked as a reason for the non-provision of flexible working practices.’

According to the study, employers often overlook the advantages of job sharing. These range from greater productivity due to the sense of responsibility felt by a worker toward their share partner, and consistent and readily available holiday and sickness cover.

Other advantages include having the input and skills of two employees, as well as an in-built support system for staff. Dr John Knell, deputy director of futures at the Industrial Society, said the findings should be a wake-up call to employers dragging their feet on the work-life balance issue.

The report, Desperately Seeking flexibility… is jobshare the answer?, was commissioned by The Resource Connection and the Industrial Society. The findings are based on a sample of 58 flexible workers and 69 pairs of job sharers.