Out of Office

New Study Confirms the Benefits of Flexible Work Arrangements

A new randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota and MIT Sloan School of Management has added to the growing evidence that flexible work arrangements contribute to workers being happier, healthier and more productive.

The study recruited more than 700 workers from the IT department of a Fortune 500 company. The control group worked under the company’s pre-existing policies while the treatment group received training in practices designed to improve their sense of control over their work, and focused on results rather than time spent at work.

The practices included reorganising work schedules, working from home more often, rethinking the amount of time spent in meetings, using instant messaging for communication, and anticipating periods of high demand. Managers received training in supporting the professional development of their workers, and understanding their personal circumstances.

At the conclusion of the 12 month study the treatment group reported having greater control over their work, more support from their bosses and spending more time with their families. They also reported greater job satisfaction, and less stress and burnout than workers in the control group. They also showed fewer symptoms of psychological distress.

The research is groundbreaking in that it is the first to test flexible work arrangements using a randomized controlled trial – the gold standard for this type of study.

Read the press release in full..

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