Flexible working – A new idea for the Chinese labor market?
In China, an interesting recruitment advertisement caught a lot of people’s attention in the Internet and was forwarded millions of times. The most attractive part of this advertisement was that this new company offers flexible working time to their employees.
Mr. Ji, the founder of this company who worked for others before, said he was tortured by getting up early every morning. He said his prime time of working was in the evening and he could hardly focus on work in the morning so he just wasted time in the office before. Mr. Ji believes flexible working increases employees’ work engagement, which means employees can have a more positive work-related state of fulfillment that is characterized by ‘vigor, dedication, and absorption’.
We are talking a lot about work engagement in today’s business world and employees’ work engagement has been shown to contribute to desired work and organizational related employee outcomes, including productivity, performance (self-reported and organizational performance appraisals), job satisfaction, motivation, organizational commitment, profits and safety records. So the impact of flexible working on work engagement promises really to be what Mr. Ji believes. So, does flexible working help increase work engagement?
The findings of ‘Happy Homes, Productive Workplaces’ research undertaken collaboratively by OnePlusOne and Working Families may tell us something. One of the key findings of the research is that flexible working was predictive of higher work engagement. Those who work flexibly were reported more engaged at work than those who did not. Further, respondents were asked to choose up to four work-related options they considered to be most beneficial and flexible working was by far the most popular, with 79.9% of respondents choosing it in their top four.
The research seems to be good news for companies taking flexible working into consideration. The improvement of work engagement both benefit employers and employees. Somehow we need to make sure not every position or every person is ready for flexible working. We still need to figure out the way to maximize the positive impact of flexible working on work results.