With the emergence of digital communications, more executives are creating flexible work environments for employees. Unified communications enables this new way of working to thrive in organizations, supporting the productivity among distributed teams.
In The New York Times, Susan Dominus references a recent study that found that organizational-level initiatives to support “greater employee control over work time” — working when, where, and how it suits them — lead to a myriad of positive effects. This intention to build a flexible work environment “reduced burnout, perceived stress, and psychological distress, and increased job satisfaction” among IT professionals.
The research found that employees in the experimental group met their goals as reliably as those in the control group, and they were, in short, much happier: They were sleeping better, were healthier and experienced less stress. Other studies examining the same workplace found that the effects even cascaded down to employees’ children, who reported less volatility around their own daily stresses; adolescents saw the quality of their sleep improve. A year out, and then three years out, employees in the experimental group reported less interest in leaving the organization than those in the control group.
Phyllis Moen, a professor at University of Minnesota believes that organizations need to “overhaul corporate culture so that flexibility is a living, breathing, vital aspect of work, a default mode rather than a privilege.” New communication applications give employers the means to offer these benefits while minimizing negative effects.
According to Inc. magazine, companies that don’t offer alternative schedules run the risk of “shutting out qualified candidates who won’t settle working for a company with an antiquated working hours policy.”
Instead of lagging behind in both technology and management techniques, companies can offer explicit support for a flexible work life through hands-on tools such as video conferencing, and text chat, which enable remote collaboration.
As Dominus shared, when the CECP (formerly called the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy) took this approach, their teams continued to meet goals with less tension and a stronger work-life balance that eased the stress of employees.