The workplace has become more flexible in recent years, but not always in ways that offer true rest and relaxation.
Employers are making it easier for people to control when they work, allowing them to change their hours as long as they still get their jobs done, says a study of 1,126 employers released today by the nonprofitFamilies and Work Institute, New York. More than 3 of 4 employers now offer some form of flextime, such as the freedom to change quitting times; that’s up from two-thirds of those surveyed by the institute in 2005, the study says. And the proportion allowing employees to work from home at least sometimes has nearly doubled, to 63% from 34%.
But bosses are also hacking away at opportunities for true R&R, by curbing opportunities to spend stretches of time away from work. Sabbaticals or career breaks for personal or family duties are declining, offered by 52% of employers, compared with 73% in 2005. And just 41% of employers allow another kind of flexibility that many working parents want – the ability to move from part-time to full-time work and back again, down from 54% in 2005, the study says.
Employers have cut the maximum length of caregiving leaves for new fathers and adoptive parents. And fewer employers are letting employees return to work gradually after childbirth or adoption – 73%, compared with 86% in 2005.