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Take a flexible approach to flexible work practices Flexible work practices include any changes to working times, working practices and leave arrangements, mutually agreed between employees and management, which accommodate both organizational needs and the family or lifestyle requirements of staff. Such practices allow organizations to respond to employee needs while continuing to meet business, continuous improvement and service delivery goals. These practices also facilitate diversity, opportunity and equity in the workplace. Employees who are responsive, produce high quality work and solid measurable business results flourish in organizations that have invested in resources that help employees work to their full potential.

Research by CEB found that the number one initiative that women believe will help them advance at work is access to flexible work practices. However, the impact of these practices are often underestimated by male leaders.

The goal for all organizations is to fit work into an employee’s lives, not the other way around. The challenge is to recreate work requirements and expectations so that individuals’ actual performance and contribution is more highly valued than the number of hours worked.

Restructuring time requirements would be beneficial to both men and women; 73% of male Fortune 500 executives believe that their jobs can be restructured to make them more productive and provide more time for activities outside of work.

To achieve the benefits of flexible workplace practices requires organizations take a flexible approach to flexible work practices. Organizational policies should promote and support work-life integration. However, these benefits can only be achieved where there is mutual cooperation, commitment to change and the development of a plan between the employer and the employee.

Aflexible approach to flexible work practices is where leaders not only role model flexibility but they play a crucial role in the success of any individual’s flexible work plan. This requires that managers are given training on how to have discussions to tailor solutions for each individual rather than taking a one size fits all approach is crucial to realizing the positive outcomes associated with flexible work practices.

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Michelle King