Providing Flexibility in the Workplace to Help Meet Family Needs

Family friendly policies tell your employees you’re there to support them, you believe in balancing the needs of work and family, and recognize the benefit of happy, healthy families to productivity and reliability in the workplace.

  • Research has shown that employers that offer flexible work environments are able to attract, motivate and retain employees, improve employee satisfaction and strengthen productivity.

What Businesses Can Do:

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) released a study in 2016 that found more businesses today are providing employees with flexible options in the workplace.  The study surveyed a representative sample of 920 employers with 50 or more employees (78 percent were for profit employers and 22 percent were non-profit employers). The 2016 National Study of Employers (NSE) found:

  • Flex-time (offered by 81 percent of employers, up from 68 percent in 2005). 
  • Flex place/telecommuting (offered by 66 percent, up from 34 percent in 2005).
  • Choices in managing time (offered by 91 percent, up from 78 percent in 2005).
  • Daily time off when important needs arise (offered by 81 percent, up from 77 percent in 2005).

Workplace flexibility is about rethinking how, when & where people do their best work to promote work & family balance and happy, healthy, families.  See SHRM’s “Workflex Guides” to implement Flex policies.

Related to Healthy Families: 

  • Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs) that help employees deal with problems and pressures (offered by 75 percent of employers, up from 46 percent in 2005).
  • Employee wellness programs (offered by 61 percent of workplaces, up from 47 percent in 2005).
  • An increasing number of employers are providing women with private space for breastfeeding (offered by 79 percent of workplaces, up from 71 percent in 2005).

Related to Child Care:

  • Dependent Care Assistance Plans (DCAPs) that help employees pay for child care (offered by 56 percent of employers, up from 45 percent in 2005).
  • Employee access to information to help find child care in the community through Child Care Resource & Referral agencies (offered by 41 percent of employers, up from 34 percent in 2005).
  • Support for child care onsite or within the community to help employees access child care (has remained flat at 7 percent since 2005).

When Work Works was originally created as a joint initiative of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Families and Work Institute (FWI) in 2003, however, the project has been conducted by SHRM since 2016.  Working with community partners across the country, “When Work Works” highlights and honors effective practices for making work “work” for employers and employees through the "When Work Works Awards for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility".

Organizations interested in showcasing their flexibility strategies, in benchmarking with others, or learning more about work flex should apply for this prestigious award at For a list of Idaho’s 2018 Workplace Award Winners, click here.

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