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Today Is National Flex Day: Why Your Company Should Be On Board

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 21, 2014 1:10 PM

National Flex Day: It has (nearly) nothing to do with fitness.

What is National Flex Day? It's a day meant to encourage employers to recognize and consider flexible working arrangements, such as telecommuting, flex time (instead of 9-to-5, employees choose their own start and end times), or compressed work weeks (more hours per day, but fewer days).

Why is flex important? And why should your company encourage it?

It Increases Nearly Every Measure of Job Satisfaction

When you think of flex time, you probably think of working mothers. And indeed, we first learned about National Flex Day from WorkingMother.com. But employee interest in flexible working schedules is universal: parents or childless, male or female, older or younger.

Karyn Twaronite, Ernst & Young's Global Diversity and Inclusiveness Officer, wrote about the importance of flex time for her organization over at The Huffington Post, especially for male employees. She cites a number of high-profile men who have gotten media attention for stepping away from work for family events, like the birth of a child.

Twaronite discusses a survey of working men, conducted by Working Mother, to get their perspective on flex time. Unsurprisingly, flex isn't just an issue for moms -- men with flexible work schedules reported significantly higher satisfaction with compensation, career prospects, sense of respect in the workplace, opportunities to develop their skills, and that their opinion at work was valued.

Working Mother also surveyed working moms and found similar results. The lesson? Everyone is happier about everything when they have a flexible work schedule that allows for better work/life balance.

Employee Retention Is Key

Twaronite said that it costs between 1.5 and 2 times an employee's salary to replace someone for a position. She also noted that in the 1990s, women were leaving at a rate that was 10 to 15 percentage points higher than men. The company's flex efforts have led to that gap nearly closing.

Zane Benefits reports a wider variation in the cost of replacing an employee: from 16 percent of salary for low-paying, high-turnover jobs to as much as 213 percent of annual salary for highly educated executive positions.

Either way, it's more cost effective to keep employees than to replace them. And if flex time increases so many measures of job satisfaction, it's certainly something your company should consider.

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