Employee flexibility assisting workplace productivity

The struggles of balancing your home and work life have been highlighted in a new study.

While this isn't a new problem, it is one that impacts Australian businesses no matter how big they are.

The study "Changing Work and Work-Family Conflict: Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network" was conducted by the University of Minnesota and looked at how increasing work flexibility can benefit both the employee and the employer.

The findings, which are due for publication in June's American Sociological Review, used a sample group of 700 employees from a large IT department to show the potential benefits.

For six months, half of the employees had more control over when and where they worked and received more support for conflicts in their personal lives at home. The other half continued in normal circumstances.

The results were not overly surprising, but could be useful for business where recruitment and staff retention is critical.

The employees with additional support and flexibility reported a decrease in work-family conflict and enjoyed work more because they were in more control of their schedule so they could plan important family time.

Sociologist Erin L. Kelly said the results show how a business can address stress and productivity levels by changing the way it interacts with employees.

"The purpose was to help employees work more effectively and more sanely, so they can get their work done well but also address their personal and family needs," she said.

By giving employees time to address work-family conflicts, employers can enjoy a more focused team and better engagement. It was reported that despite employees spending more time at home, they didn't require any additional hours to do their job.

As well as giving employees more flexibility, businesses could consider workflow automation that can reduce their daily workload and improve their work-family balance.

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