Flexible work helps well-being

A center at the University is promoting sensible work practices.
By
  • Daily Editorial Board
February 23, 2012

University of Minnesota students know stress all too well. For students who work, maintaining schedules while keeping some semblance of a social life can be a constant battle day-to-day. With any luck, those who have to work while going to school have employers who are flexible in their approach to student employees. If not, the University’s Flexible Work and Well-Being Center can help.

Noting that “family friendly” and “work-life” policies have seen an uptick among U.S. employers in recent years, the center seeks to continue research and expand awareness of such policies. In conjunction with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, this research is critical to helping employers and employees understand how policies that promote healthy lifestyles both at home and in the workplace can have a positive effect.

University sociology professors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen head the research with initiatives such as the Results Oriented Workplace Environment study, conducted since 2005 at the Best Buy headquarters in Richfield, Minn. By implementing policies focused on individual employee needs and responsibilities, research has shown that giving employees more control and flexibility in the workplace improves job performance, decreases employee turnover and produces better outcomes for employee families and the overall community.

Continuing research will be focused on expanding policies into more workplaces and gaining additional data to improve future policy recommendations. With our modern fast-paced lives, such research is needed to help both employees and employers remain grounded.

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