Read at The Conversation
A recent study reveals that there are now over 300 ways to work flexibly, indicating a significant increase in flexible work practices. This includes options such as compressed weeks, job sharing, and flexible time or special leave. Employers are also adopting location-based forms of flexibility, such as hybrid working. The rise in flexible working brings benefits for both employers and employees. For employees, it improves job satisfaction, reduces absenteeism, and alleviates stress. Employers benefit from increased attractiveness to employees, higher employee retention, and lower overhead costs. However, not all flexible working arrangements are equal, with some potentially leading to blurred boundaries between work and personal life and increased work pressure or burnout.
Before the pandemic, you may have associated flexible work with things like working from home, part-time work or reduced hours. Now? You might work a compressed week or reduced hours, job share, or take flexi time or special leave, such as a sabbatical. There are also location-based forms of flexibility, like flex-place and hybrid working.
Flexible work arrangements require proper regulation and frameworks to ensure fairness and prevent exploitation. National-level regulations play a crucial role in establishing the rules and boundaries for flexible work practices. Without proper regulations, flexibility can lead to longer working days, constantly being available, and increased work pressure. A balance must be struck to ensure that flexibility benefits both employers and employees without compromising well-being and work-life balance.
Our research shows that flexibility regulations and frameworks at the national level help create the 'rules of the game' for flexible work arrangements, in essence ensuring that flexible work does not become (self) exploitative.