Study Connects Flexible Employee Scheduling with Reduced Work-Family Conflicts

When managers begin the process of overhauling their schedule systems, they generally focus on streamlining the process through organization, and using tools that build accountability among staff. However, one aspect of a well-functioning schedule that is often overlooked is flexibility. Giving employees some leeway with their schedules can lower work-family conflicts and reduce turnover, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota. To examine the relationship between flexible work schedules and work-family life, researchers surveyed over 600 employees of Minneapolis/St. Paul-based Best Buy, and collected data from company records before and after the implementation of results-only work environment, or ROWE. With ROWE, Best Buy employees may adjust where and when they work without notifying a manager or seeking their approval.

Although this type of flexibility is far from today’s norm, the study’s results suggest that increased schedule flexibility may help build greater job satisfaction. In fact, Best Buy employees across varying positions noted an increase in work-family fit, and a reduction in conflict, with greater schedule control. Employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from flexibility, as the study also found a 45-percent reduction in turnover with ROWE system.

If you manage a schedule, perhaps you’re not ready to switch to ROWE, but what do you do (or what could you do) to keep your employees satisfied with their schedules? It is an important question that tends to get lost in the maze of meetings, events, and more, but  could bring significant improvement in your employee retention, attitude, and performance.

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