Washington, April 07: A workplace environment that allows employees to change when and where they work, based on their individual needs and job responsibilities, positively affects the work-family interface, according to a new research from the University of Minnesota.
U of M sociology professors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen base their findings on data from surveys of more than 600 employees and company records from Minnesota-based Best Buy before and after the implementation of a so-called "Results Only Work Environment" (ROWE) workplace initiative.
ROWE redirected the focus of employees and managers towards measurable results and away from a set work schedule and location. Employees could routinely change when and where they worked without seeking permission from a manager or even notifying one. Moen and Kelly examined whether the initiative affects work-family conflict, whether schedule control plays a role in these effects, and whether work demands (including long hours) moderate the initiative''s effects on work-family outcomes.
"The study points to the importance of schedule control for understanding job quality and for management policies and practices," said Moen.
"With these changes in the workplace, employees gained control over the time and timing of their work in ways that benefitted them and, by extension, their families and communities," said Kelly.
"It is feasible to broaden access to schedule control and thereby relieve work-family conflicts and improve work-family fit for more workers," added Moen.
The research also demonstrates positive impact of the ROWE initiative for the company. The researchers found that ROWE reduced turnover by 45 pc-after controlling for multiple factors like job level, organizational tenure, job satisfaction, income adequacy, job security, and other turnover intentions.
"By showing that a policy initiative like ROWE can reduce turnover, this research moves the ''opting out'' argument-whether one chooses family over work-from a private issue to an issue of how employers can change the workplace to better meet the needs of employees," added Moen.
The research has been published in American Sociological Review study. (ANI)