We spend nearly a third of our time in our jobs. Many occupations require a longer time commitment in their professions. Meeting deadlines and trying to satisfy the needs of customers can create stress for employees. Concerns about possible layoffs and a down turn of business in a slow economy can also contribute to tension.
A study published in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior shows that a workplace that encourages flexibility for employees improves productivity, enhances sleep and contributes to overall better health. Researchers looked at data collected from 608 employees of an organization before and after a flexible workplace initiative was implemented. They examined changes in behaviors and health outcomes among the employees participating in the program compared to those who did not.
Among the study results:
•Employees participating in the flexible workplace initiative reported getting almost an extra hour of sleep on nights before work.
•Employees participating managed their health differently. Individuals were less likely to feel obligated to work when sick and more likely to go to a doctor when needed.
•Employees felt more control of schedules and reduced work-family conflicts. Overall they improved their sleep quality, energy levels, and health while reducing exhaustion and distress.
Workplace flexibility can be different for each employer. Not every job can be done remotely and flexible work arrangements must be handled in different of ways. By finding ways to create flexibility, benefits can result for employer and worker.