Flex time policies are taking the workplace by storm, according to several recent pieces of data. From telecommuting to compressed work weeks, the typical 9-to-5 schedule is not so typical anymore.

Working from home (Ryan McVay, ThinkStock)

Using data dating back to 2005, GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com uncovered a 103 percent growth in the number of at-home employees and remote workers. In Gallup's most recent Work and Education poll, instances of telecommuting jumped by about 30 percent over the past decade.

At the same time, millennials are now the largest generation in the workplace, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data, and that's assisting in the shift towards more flexible arrangements between employer and employee.

"Alternative work arrangements" are a big part of the success at Prudential Financial, where about 85 percent of employees nationwide have some type of flexible schedule, either on a regular or occasional basis. Prudential has three offices in New Jersey, housing 7,500 employees.

"We know it helps us as a company; we know it helps employees," said Maureen Corcoran, Prudential's vice president of Health, Life and Inclusion. "It's just good for business."

A survey of Prudential employees, Corcoran said, found that access to flexibility is one of the top three drivers of retention.

According to Rosemary Gousman, regional managing partner with labor law firm Fisher & Phillips in Murray Hill, flexible work arrangements can be beneficial for both workers and bosses, but it's important that "rules of the road" be laid out in advance.

"If people are working flexible hours and they're not properly recording their time, that could result in a legal issue," Gousman said.

Gousman said employers would benefit from offering employees a flexible schedule on a trial basis, after they've worked on site for a while.

"You want a new employee to develop relationships internally," she said. "It's hard to do that if you're not present at the same time as other employees."

In an Oct. 2015 survey from WorldatWork and FlexJobs, 80 percent of companies said they offer flexible work arrangements to employees. However, 64 percent said their flex programs are informal with no written policy in place.

 

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