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May 11, 2007
Survey Finds Some Tension About Flexible Schedules

Many men perceive some resentment among coworkers over the flexible schedules offered to working mothers, according to an online survey released by the staffing firm Adecco.

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The survey found that 59 percent of working men between the ages of 35 and 44 said flexibility for working mothers causes some resentment among coworkers.

The survey also found that some workers believe flexible schedules negatively affect team dynamics (36 percent) and morale (31 percent).

However, a vast majority 82 percent of respondents said that working mothers are just as productive as employees without children. And 44 percent of working mothers say flexible schedules help them be more productive.

"American workers realize the abilities working moms possess, but our survey findings show that employers have some work to do to manage the perceptions and attitudes many employees have toward the special arrangements provided to working moms," says Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer of Adecco.

Kenny offers the following tips for employers in offering flexible schedules:

  • Promote flexible schedules among men. Men often share, or manage entirely, home duties. Creating arrangements to allow them to balance work and career can have a tremendous impact on retention and productivity. Even if only a few male workers utilize such programs, promoting these types of opportunities can serve as internal morale boosters.
  • Have a written flex policy and post team schedules on your intranet or make sure that they are front and center for staff to view. Communicating flextime arrangements helps guarantee employees can prepare deadlines and priorities accordingly.
  • Manage those with flex schedules so priorities aren't left unattended, thus forcing others to pick up the slack. Hold weekly check-ins and send around status updates on key projects so that one person's flexible schedule doesn't affect overall productivity.

"Any flexible work arrangement must meet specific business needs first, as some jobs are simply not open to much flexibility due to their inherent nature," says Kenny. "But by taking a holistic look at how your organization structures programs and communicates them to employees is a great first step to creating a happy and productive workforce."

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