By Breanna Banford, Social Marketing Specialist, Xerox Enterprise Business Group

More often today companies are accepting the new flex schedule for their employees. This goes beyond the “working mom” status of the past, where employees today have the freedom to choose the schedule that fits their needs. If you work in an environment where you need to be creative or focused, that doesn’t just happen at 3 p.m. when that days’ meetings end; it happens when it happens. While this isn’t perfect for every industry, it does suit some people and the goal is to provide the option for those employees that will thrive in a flexible company culture, which in turn benefits the employer.

As Nichole Kelly, president of SME Digital, stated in a recent article, “This isn’t so much about the desire to work from ‘home’ as it is to work from ANYWHERE.” That means, having access to your pertinent business files anywhere, even outside your company firewall, all the while knowing it’s secure. We’re a mobile world today and want to have the ability to use the mobile technology provided to us by all those innovative companies out there!benefits of a flex schedule

Beyond access to virtual work documents, it’s important to remain a team, even if people are always on the go. There are ways to set up team meetings in a productive way, outside of the office with virtual workspaces and video conferencing tools. These tools behoove you to work efficiently, to make use of the time available to you as a group and avoid unnecessary conference room meetings where half the people are multitasking anyway. One thing I’ve noticed is that if you’re on a video conference call everyone can see what you’re doing, so subconsciously you’re more likely to participate and pay attention. Somehow that’s not the same for in-person group meetings. The list can go on about why flex schedules work well for employees and their employers. Here’s my takeaway:

The Benefits of Flex Schedules

  • Productivity blends with creativity – You’re most efficient when you have to freedom to do your tasks when you know you can complete them, sometimes outside the 9-5 schedule, which can be limiting.
  • Work/life balance – Family and friends are important in life so enjoy them while you can. It’s important to turn off your phone or step away from your computer, a difficult thing to do in the always-on world we live in.
  • The employer benefits too Employee morale improves and they’re engaged in their projects.
  • Global, contract workforce – You can source talent from all over the world, it doesn’t have to reside within the circumference of your city.
  • Encourage social networking – This is an instant form of idea generation and inspiration (within reason… employee guidelines for engagement are valuable). Social and online collaboration are great ways to connect people to great ideas.
  • Economy- booster & energy-saver – Employees who work from home drive less, which results in lower green house gas emissions, building cost savings for companies, less traffic on the highways and more money in your pocket after saving hundreds buying less gasoline. Here’s one way to calculate the savings.

As we enter 2013, future workplace trends will impact how we work. There are pros and cons to both sides of the flex schedule story. So, what do you like most about it? Do you wish you had that option at your office or not?