Workers who reported increased work flexibility from one year to the next had fewer absences for illness and improved job commitment, according to research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. In addition, these workers were less likely to say that health problems affected their job performance. The study results are based on a survey of more than 3,100 employees of a large multinational company. Workplace flexibility refers to workers' ability to modify where, when, and how long job-related work is performed. There are two main types of flexibility: location, such as telecommuting, and schedule, such as flextime and job sharing. "For managers, the results suggest that implementing flexible work arrangements can contribute to the bottom line," says Joseph G. Grzywacz, Ph.D., associate professor of family medicine at Wake Forest and senior author of the study. "These results strengthen the evidence suggesting that programs and policies that promote flexibility in the workplace may have beneficial health effects for workers." Study authors suggest managers offer a variety of work arrangements, including part-time, flextime, and telecommuting positions, and that companies train managers to be more supportive of workers' lives outside the office.
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