Barriers to Flexibility

Barriers to Flexibility

Although flexibility can be beneficial to Emory, managers, and employees, flexible work arrangements can also pose a series of challenges. Whether it is a labor market condition, shifting demographics, or new technology, there are many reasons to change the way we work. Being proactive in the face of change is much better than being reactive in the rapidly changing business environment.

Concerns about equity

Managers worry about being fair to employees when they know everyone cannot have flexible work arrangements. The key is making sure the process is the same – that every employee’s request is fairly considered, even though the outcome may vary.

Fears of abuse

There are some employees who may take advantage of their work situation, no matter what the policy. If employees are well managed, abuses is kept to a minimum whether the employee works on a flexible work arrangement or not.

Past experiences

Just because flexibility was tried with one employee in the past and didn’t work doesn’t mean that the same outcome is inevitable if it is tried again – especially if the individual is well matched with the flexible work arrangement. Incorporating mistakes into future planning could improve the likelihood of future success.

Requires more time to manage

Interviews with managers in other firms who supervise employees using some flexible work arrangement reveal far fewer problems than managers anticipated. 95 percent of managers say it does not require more time to manage people on flexible arrangements; and 66 percent say managing flexible workers enhanced their management skills.

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