One of the challenges facing small business, especially in Maine, is how to attract and retain high quality employees.
We all have heard about and seen the trend of younger skilled workers needing to go out of state for opportunity. While older employees have valuable experience, the ability for any one business to hire and keep a qualified older employee at their accustomed pay and benefits is very difficult in the Southern and Central Maine business climate.
A growing trend being used to lure both younger and older employees is “workplace flexibility”, sometimes just called “flex time”. This means not only allowing flexible work schedules, but also an employee’s “choice and control over when, where, and how work gets done, and what work tasks are assumed by which employees”1.
At Berry Talbot Royer, we have embraced workplace flexibility. Examples of this in our practice are:
- Employees working from home on a fixed or as-needed schedule
- Scheduled afternoon/evening office hours
- Scheduling to allow a second job or avocation (e.g. a yoga instructor)
- Time as needed for chronic medical conditions
- Assignment of client tasks based on each employee’s unique skill set
A 2008 survey by Randstad found that flexible work hours are among the top three benefits that employees identified as contributing to “happiness at the workplace” 2. In addition, the “Age & Generation Study” done by Boston College’s Center on Aging & Work suggested that workplace flexibility was predictive of greater employee engagement, lower perceptions of work overload, better physical and mental health, and greater satisfaction with work-family balance3.
It seems clear that a culture of workplace flexibility is becoming an essential part of any successful small business. At BTR, one of our Core Values is a philosophy of empowerment. Workplace flexibility is one of the ways we provide that empowerment to our employees, allowing them to provide our customers an exceptional level of customer service.
1. Boston College Center on Aging & Work – Workplace Flexibility
2. Randstad (2008).World of Work 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2008 from com
3. Boston College Center on Aging& Work – Age & Generations Study