The coronavirus is a terrible public health threat, but there is a hidden upside: It gives us a chance to rethink how work is organized and bring our policies into the 21st century.
To protect their workforce, firms are asking people to work at home. Our new research shows that more flexible work policies that give workers more control over when, where, and how they work don’t hurt business performance. Instead, such policies can lead to less stressed, more satisfied employees who are less likely to quit.
Today some firms do offer flex schedules, telecommuting, and reduced hours, but too often these arrangements are negotiated individually. An employee has to ask permission. The trouble with the “Mother may I?” model is that these arrangements are exceptions, not the rule; most employees are expected to work at the workplace, even as they are also presumed to be accessible 24/7.
Read the full post at Fortune.
Erin L. Kelly is the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management and core faculty in the Institute for Work and Employment Research.