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Book part
Publication date: 30 June 2016

P. Matthijs Bal and Paul G. W. Jansen

As demographic changes impact the workplace, governments, organizations, and workers are looking for ways to sustain optimal working lives at higher ages. Workplace…

Abstract

As demographic changes impact the workplace, governments, organizations, and workers are looking for ways to sustain optimal working lives at higher ages. Workplace flexibility has been introduced as a potential way workers can have more satisfying working lives until their retirement ages. This chapter presents a critical review of the literature on workplace flexibility across the lifespan. It discusses how flexibility has been conceptualized across different disciplines, and postulates a definition that captures the joint roles of employer and employee in negotiating workplace flexibility that contributes to both employee and organization benefits. Moreover, it reviews how flexibility has been theorized and investigated in relation to older workers. The chapter ends with a future research agenda for advancing understanding of how workplace flexibility may enhance working experiences of older workers, and in particular focuses on the critical investigation of uses of flexibility in relation to older workers.

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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-263-7

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Article
Publication date: 20 February 2009

Deirdre Anderson and Clare Kelliher

The purpose of this article is to report findings from a major study into flexible working and to examine the link with employee engagement.

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5297

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to report findings from a major study into flexible working and to examine the link with employee engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was conducted within seven case organizations using a mixed method of semi‐structured interviews and an electronic questionnaire.

Findings

The findings show that flexible working has an impact on employee engagement through a positive relationship with organizational commitment, job satisfaction and employee discretionary behavior.

Practical implications

Allowing employees a degree of choice over when, where and how much work they do has benefits for the organization. However, for these gains to be realized, support is needed for the implementation of a flexible working policy.

Originality/value

The study included both quantitative and qualitative data and examined the impact of flexible working from the point of view of managers and co‐workers of flexible workers, as well as those who worked flexibly themselves.

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Strategic HR Review, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

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Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2016

Florian Moll and Jan de Leede

New ways of working (NWW) change some fundamental processes in the workplace. NWW practices like teleworking, flexible workspaces, and flexible working hours lead to…

Abstract

New ways of working (NWW) change some fundamental processes in the workplace. NWW practices like teleworking, flexible workspaces, and flexible working hours lead to different behaviors of employees. But does the employment of NWW practices also have an impact on the innovation behavior of employees? This chapter explores this relationship and uses qualitative data from case studies to illustrate the complex linkages between three components of NWW and IWB.

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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2007

Gill Maxwell, Laura Rankine, Sheena Bell and Anna MacVicar

The aim of this article is to investigate the incidence and impact of FWAs in smaller businesses in Scotland, as an integral part of a recent European Social Fund project…

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11812

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this article is to investigate the incidence and impact of FWAs in smaller businesses in Scotland, as an integral part of a recent European Social Fund project. From theoretical perspectives it discusses the influences on, and impacts of, flexible working arrangements. The focus is then placed on the smaller business sector as regards its distinctive features and flexible working arrangements.

Design/methodology/approach

The papers presents the findings from empirical work comprising a large‐scale survey of, and series of interviews with, owner‐managers of smaller businesses in Scotland.

Findings

Part‐time work, time off in lieu, staggered working hours and shift swapping are the main types of flexible work in smaller businesses. In many incidences flexible working arrangements are requested by employees, operated informally, and centred on the business needs. There is significant scope for greater uptake of flexible working arrangements in smaller businesses, especially in services sector businesses. Positive impacts of flexible work arrangements in recruitment and retention, enhanced employee relations, commitment and loyalty are found, together with disadvantages of operational problems and administrative burdens. It is proposed that the gap between the potential for, and current practice in, flexible working arrangements may be narrowed by targeting information and guidance on such arrangements specifically to the owner‐managers of smaller businesses.

Originality/value

The literature on flexible working mainly concentrates on large organisations. With the growing economic importance and distinguishing features of the smaller business sector in the UK, there is a need to focus as much on this sector as large organisations.

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Employee Relations, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2011

Carol Atkinson and Laura Hall

This paper aims to explore the influence of flexible working on employee happiness and attitude, and the role of this within a high performance work system (HPWS).

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17283

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the influence of flexible working on employee happiness and attitude, and the role of this within a high performance work system (HPWS).

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of flexible working within an NHS Acute Trust is presented. A qualitative study is undertaken based on 43 employee interviews across a range of directorates within the Trust.

Findings

Employees perceive that flexible working makes them “happy” and that there are attitudinal/behavioural links between this happiness, discretionary behaviour and a number of performance outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents a single case study with a relatively small sample which uses an inductive approach based on emergent data; it explores one element of a HPWS rather than an entire employment system. Respondents were volunteers, which raises the possibility of sample bias.

Practical implications

There may be a need for organisations to focus more on employee happiness to encourage performance. HR practitioners could reflect on the impact of HR practices on happiness and which features of a job role are likely to promote happiness.

Originality/value

This paper contributes a much‐needed employee perspective on the effect of HR practices, specifically that of flexible working, and explores the neglected employee attitude of happiness.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Laura Hall and Carol Atkinson

The purpose of this paper is to investigate employee perceptions of the flexibility they utilize or have available to them in an NHS Trust and relate these perceptions to…

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11865

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate employee perceptions of the flexibility they utilize or have available to them in an NHS Trust and relate these perceptions to the concept of control.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a constructivist approach and uses semi‐structured interviews, allowing employees, in their own way, to explain what flexibility policies, and practice mean to them. The paper conducted 43 interviews and one focus group across five directorates, to include a range of staff levels and job types.

Findings

The findings in this paper show that informal rather than formal flexibility was more widely used and valued; and that, although staff needed to be proactive to access formal flexibility, some staff did not see formal flexibility as relevant to themselves; and informal flexibility generated an increased sense of employee responsibility. Uses the perspective of employee control over their working lives, in order to interpret the impact of flexible working.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that these findings may be context‐specific, and further investigation of informal flexible working is needed in different settings.

Practical implications

This paper shows that organizations need to communicate flexibility well, and train their managers' adequately but, critically, they need to understand what different forms of flexibility mean to employees, and how they are valued.

Originality/value

The paper shows the prevalence and value of informal flexible working, and its potential. Uses the concept of control to explain why different individuals value different forms of flexible working differentially.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2008

Terry O'Brien and Helen Hayden

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and analysis of current legislation and various schemes and practices that are available to employers and employees in…

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7117

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and analysis of current legislation and various schemes and practices that are available to employers and employees in relation to work life balance, family friendly work arrangements, leave entitlements and diverse modes of flexible work in Ireland. Focuses in particular on the Library and Information sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Introduces the concept of flexible working, followed by a review of relevant literature. Outlines what flexible work practices are, giving details of various types of flexible working, both statutory and non‐statutory (in Ireland). Then, discusses why flexible work practices have emerged and details background legislation and the issues that the introduction of flexible working raises. Draws conclusions about best practice in relation to the management of flexible work practices.

Findings

It is argued that commitment to work life balance is now firmly in the mainstream and is part of the political agenda in Ireland and the rest of the developed world. Flexibility in work practice is becoming an integral part of employment, particularly in public sector organisations, which are in effect, leading the way on this issue. Flexible work practices have many advantages for both employees and employers. They also create challenges, especially in terms of management. It is important to balance the requirements of the organisation with those of the employees. Key factors in the successful implementation of flexible working are training and communication.

Originality/value

The article provides a firm basis for further investigation and discussion.

Details

Library Management, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2008

Peter Thomson

Flexible working is a key contributor to business success but is often categorised by the human resource (HR) function as a “family friendly” benefit. If it is introduced…

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8065

Abstract

Purpose

Flexible working is a key contributor to business success but is often categorised by the human resource (HR) function as a “family friendly” benefit. If it is introduced strategically it can make a major contribution to the bottom line and to the credibility of HR. this paper aims to look at flexible working and its business benefits.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides an overview of flexible working and its benefits, with the latter demonstrated through business and individual case studies, and puts forward a model for strategic implementation.

Findings

The East Riding of Yorkshire made substantial measurable improvements to the level of service through the introduction of flexible working and turned a department around from failure to award‐winning in a period of two years. Individuals at Vodafone are successfully finding a work/life balance using flexible working options.

Originality/value

A well‐managed project plan is required to ensure successful execution of a pilot and the implementation of new working practices across the organisation. The model for strategic implementation in this paper provides a best practice tool.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

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Article
Publication date: 26 October 2010

Josje Dikkers, Marloes van Engen and Claartje Vinkenburg

This study sets out to examine how gender and ambition are related to work hours and the utilization of other flexible work‐home arrangements, and how this use is – in…

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2845

Abstract

Purpose

This study sets out to examine how gender and ambition are related to work hours and the utilization of other flexible work‐home arrangements, and how this use is – in turn – associated with career‐related outcomes (i.e. job level, and career satisfaction).

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 212 Dutch working parents from different organizations participated in a questionnaire survey. Underpinned by an inter‐disciplinary theoretical framework, hypotheses were developed on the associations of gender, ambition, work‐home arrangements and career‐related outcomes.

Findings

It was found that ambitious parents made more use of flexible work‐home arrangements and worked more hours per week than less ambitious parents. This relationship was especially strong for mothers. Furthermore, parents' work hours and utilization of flexible arrangements were positively related to their job level and career satisfaction. Finally, the association of ambition with career‐related outcomes was mediated by work hours.

Practical implications

Employers should support their working parents in using flexible work‐home arrangements, thereby simultaneously assisting them in balancing work with care‐giving responsibilities, preventing them from losing their ambition, and promoting their career success.

Originality/value

The study made a pioneering effort to conceptualise and operationalise career‐related ambition. By showing that utilization of flexible work‐home arrangements is positively related to career success, the study also adds to the business case for these arrangements. Moreover, the study challenges the popular assumption that Dutch women's ambition vanishes into thin air once they become mothers.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 15 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

Sadia Nadeem and Chris Hendry

This paper focuses on the possibilities of the long‐term development of flexible working as a work‐life policy, through understanding the power dynamics between the…

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3526

Abstract

This paper focuses on the possibilities of the long‐term development of flexible working as a work‐life policy, through understanding the power dynamics between the individual and the organisation. The study presents a framework which summarises the factors influencing the employee‐employer power dynamics, and leads us to the research questions. The methodology involves triangulation in case studies in two organisations based on surveys of representative samples in each organisation (n = 243 and n = 128) and interviews with the management. Findings support the long‐term development of employee‐friendly flexible working. There is a strong desire, and a lack of polarisation of attitudes, among employees for greater flexibility. Certain employee groups with stronger negotiating power have initiated the work‐life debate, but in doing so, they have increased the power of all employees through lowering ideological barriers, and creating knowledge of new possibilities and aspirations. Favourable external pressures and changing business needs also improve the position of employees.

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 18 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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