Flex Work

What goes around, comes back around? Virtual leadership and micromanaging

Virtual leadership and micromanaging


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to leading a virtual or flex workforce, trust is everything. Managers are struggling with new ways of leading — including the delicate balance between giving enough direction without micromanaging. When leaders are accustomed to seeing employees in an office every day, it can be difficult adjusting to an arrangement that has less observational opportunities. In a flexible work model, it is not as easy to closely monitor due to physical proximity, but some leaders adjust well by embracing the opportunity to give people more autonomy. Other leaders do not adjust as well and try to closely monitor employees in ways that can quickly feel like an invasion of privacy (i.e., watching through webcams to ensure employees are working).

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Flex Work: The Need for a Long View in a Remote Workspace

The Need for a Long View for a Remote Workspace

By Dale Lawrence

While most leaders have adopted a plan of not bringing every employee back to the physical workplace, what is unclear is “how long?”, “how is this impacting my strategy?” and “what impact will this have on my business, partners and customers?”. Without a clear understanding of the long-term impacts of Coronavirus on society and specifically the economy, many leaders are unable to project far into the future business planning. Not only does this impact budgetary planning for capital and operating expenses, it changes how leaders look to growth, partnerships, supply chains, business improvements and customer experience initiatives.

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Providing autonomy in a flexible work environment

Providing autonomy in a flexible work

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Autonomy is a beneficial job characteristic. Research has shown when you give employees more control over their work, it is related to a host of great outcomes like job satisfaction and higher performance (1). An advantage to remote work is the opportunity for individuals to enjoy more of the autonomy they desire — but are flex workers always getting this autonomy in reality?

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Boundaries are blurry. Be a safety champion at work and at home

Be a safety champion at work and at home

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The boundaries between work and home can sometimes feel blurry. For instance, it is not uncommon for us to bring work home with us — whether it is psychological or physical. If you have a negative confrontation with a manager, you might come home in an awful mood to your spouse. If you pull your back picking up something heavy on the job, you might not feel well enough to toss the ball with your kids on the weekend. This also happens in the opposite direction of course, too. If you are stressed or hurt at home, it can spill over into the work domain.
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Managing a virtual workforce? Employees want to know your expectations

Managing a virtual workforce


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to doing the job well, people need to know what is expected of them. Ambiguity can be a very stressful experience, and a great deal of individuals are in a working situation where they would like to know precisely what they should do to be considered a high performer. Unfortunately, for those working in remote positions, this is particularly difficult.
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Do you support or hinder a climate of recovery in your workplace? A leadership self-assessment.

Do you support or hinder a climate of recovery in your workplace


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Recovery and downtime are important for a happy and productive workforce. As a leader, you should consider your role in this process. Reflect on how you contribute to the climate surrounding recovery in your workplace. A study from the American Psychological Association recently showed when companies encourage people to take their vacation time to disconnect, employees come back feeling more refreshed, motivated, and productive than companies that do not encourage taking time off (1).
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Can your leader at work influence life at home?

influence life at home



By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Whether it is wrapping up a deliverable, venting about a hard day, or preparing for the next day ahead, many of us bring work home. But has research been conducted to examine the effects of leadership characteristics spilling over into the home domain of their followers? A recent study was conducted to examine the impact that empowering leaders have on their employees’ home lives.
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Human Resources in a Flexible Work Model

Human Resources in a Flexible Work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

We are currently experiencing more remote work and telework than ever before, and Human Resource professionals are being asked to adapt quickly to this flex work model. Because those in HR are connected with employees from when they enter the company to the day they leave, they have a major impact on the people – and as a result, in shaping the company culture. HR also plays an important role in helping the company make a successful transition to a flex work model.

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Employee Well-being and Flex Work: Research Findings

Employee Well-being and Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Virtual work is becoming a part of everyday life for many individuals. What does the research have to say about how it impacts our well-being? Working from home is associated with…

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Flex Work and Loneliness: What Can We Do?

Flex Work and Loneliness What Can We Do?


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Working from home can be a positive opportunity for many individuals. It might come with a shorter commute, less interruptions, more productive work time, and less stress. Despite the huge number of employees who are enjoying working from home, a dark side to flex work for some can be the aspect of loneliness.
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Considerations for Leaders in Sustaining Organizational Learning within a Flex Work Model

Considerations for Leaders

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Learning organizations are those that acquire information, share it, process it, and use it for continual improvement. All teams must develop mechanisms and buy-in for supporting this knowledge sharing cycle, though it is particularly important that companies utilizing a flex work model do this well in order to succeed. Without a strong collective knowledge bank, it is likely your company will spend a lot of time taking one step forward and two steps back.
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Ethics and Flex Work

Ethics and Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom PhD

As more individuals are working from home than ever, this raises interesting questions and important considerations regarding ethics. When working remotely, there are more circumstances in which employees and leaders alike operate under little surveillance. There are several ethical perspectives that should be considered in a flexible work environment. Two important ones are the ethics involved with employee work and the ethical situations leaders might encounter.

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Sit or Stand? Experimental Research Findings on Sit-Stand Desks


sit and stand

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

An interesting study was published recently in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology exploring the effects of standing desks. Employees who worked in sedentary jobs were randomly assigned to a control group (no change in their usual behavior) or an intervention group (were provided with adjustable sit-stand desks and instructions on how to use them).

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Flex Work – 2022?

Flex Work – 2022



By Eric Johnson

Further into the future as the pandemic has waned for some time, idea of flex work as a normal aspect of business operations may become permanent as organizations grow accustomed to the cost savings and flexibility offered to workers. With several considerations, organizations can plan around the culture shift and assist employees by creating purposeful guidelines and norms for the future.

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Rethinking the Workspace

rethinking the workspace

By Dale Lawrence

As we slowly step out into the world, still mindful of Coronavirus, we need to consider that for the next 12-18 months (or much longer) our concept of daily commuting to an office, sitting at a desk, attending meetings in boardrooms and commuting back home has changed and may never return to how it was previously. While the natural reaction of most companies is to call their employees back to work, employers should be asking asking important questions: Why? Is it really safe? Are we bringing workers to the office because we want to see the employees together? Is it because we yearn for normal? Do we need to portray confidence? Or are we bringing them back because we have the physical space? None of these reasons would be wrong. It is critical to capture the business needs; however, self-reflection may open some new opportunities.
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Managing Justice Perceptions When Flex Work Causes Interpersonal Conflict

Managing Justice Perceptions When Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Whether it is full time or part of the time, more people are working from home than ever. Although it is becoming clear that many individuals enjoy working virtually, tensions can build between different groups of employees who work onsite as residents, those who work flexibly between the office and home, and those who work entirely from home.
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Leadership Considerations for a Successful Flex Work Model

Leadership Considerations for a Successful Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Researchers who study telework argue that successful virtual teams are determined more by successful or unsuccessful leadership rather than other factors such as technology (1). Poor leadership is poor leadership. If you take a substandard leader and move them into a flex work environment - they won’t do any better. There are foundational leadership competencies that help all teams succeed - whether the team is in an office or working remotely. These include leading with a big picture goal and supporting the company’s vision, building interpersonal connections and collaboration, walking the talk, demonstrating ethics and integrity, managing change, creating a safe space for people to speak up and innovate, and more.

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Will Flex Work Change My Culture?

Will Flex Work Change My Culture


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

As many businesses are considering (or have already decided) moving some employees to a permanent telework model after the COVID-19 outbreak, the question comes up often —
What does this mean for the culture? A company’s culture is composed of the beliefs, assumptions, norms, and core values that the members hold (Schein, 1985). The people are your culture - so any major change in how people work within your company has the potential to change the culture - for better or for worse.

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Is My Culture Supportive of Flex Work?

Is My Culture Supportive of Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Introducing telework into a culture that does not support flexible work arrangements can set up a business for failure. It is important to deeply consider culture before, during, and after changes to the company that involve employees working from home. If the attitude is that telework is not going to succeed - it will not. A company’s culture is composed of the beliefs, assumptions, norms, and core values that the members hold (1). Norms and assumptions run deep, and they are all around (staying at your desk late to symbolize commitment to the boss, how long to take a coffee break, the clothes you wear to the office, how you talk to your team vs. your leader, what is frowned upon, and so on). Clearly these everyday practices and assumptions will be disturbed by integrating a major new component into work.

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Rethinking the Tight Grip: A Flex Work Tip for Leaders

flex work tip for leaders



By Madison Hanscom, PhD

If you are accustomed to a leadership style that involves close monitoring to feel in control of what employees are doing daily, this will be a point of consideration when employees transitioning to more flexible telecommuting model. Previously, you might have conducted “walk-arounds” to observe work onsite. With a flexible work environment, this will not be as possible.
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What’s in it for the workers? Benefits of Flex Work

flex work and what is in it for workers



By Madison Hanscom, PhD


In previous blogs we have discussed the benefits companies can experience from Flex Work arrangements (1). Because flexible work requires less commuting and office space, this also has positive implications for the environment. This is because there is an associated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (2). There are clear benefits to businesses and the environment, but how about individuals? Although some individuals experience negative components of remote work, such as loneliness (see our blog post on common challenges associated with Flex Work, 3), there are many positive outcomes employees can enjoy from Flex Work.
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Flex Work from a Process Perspective

Flex work from process perspective


By Eric Johnson

In a related post we discussed the implications of remote work activities from an accounting and finance perspective. But what about the actual work that needs to get done? How does an organization transition an office setup complete with all the needs for performing job duties, into a decentralized network of home or remote-based employees? What are the modifications in terms of job activities and work processes that necessitate a change from the current state?
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Flex Work from an Accounting and Finance Perspective

Flex work financial benefits


By Eric Johnson

As the pandemic further pushes the work environment into remote and off-site arrangements, we are beginning to see conversations regarding the future of work, and what remote working would encompass over the course of a longer period of time. Many organizations already have telecommuting options to reduce employees’ exposure to long commute times, approaching this type of arrangement as a perk of employment.
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Returning to a Safe and Healthy Office Work Environment Blog Series: Office Environment Setup

Office Environment Setup

By Brie DeLisi

Many of us are in the process of shifting back into office environments or considering the appropriate next steps for a safe return to the office. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that can be taken for the physical work environment to ensure employees are kept as safe and healthy as possible. The purpose of these physical work environment adjustments is to ensure employees can be properly distanced to avoid COVID exposures the air and that shared resources limit surface exposures. Considerations should include employee distancing, space resourcefulness, adding structures, air ventilation, shared resources and sanitation.
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Returning to a Safe and Healthy Office Work Environment Blog Series: The New Normal

Ferris wheel


By Brie DeLisi

Have the last few months felt like a rollercoaster? It is time for us to embrace the new normal, in which nothing is ‘normal’ anymore. This blog series will explore options for returning to the office (or not), what the new workplace might look like, and how to best prepare for what might be a long period of uncertainty.




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Concerned About Flex Work?

Concerned About Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.


There is evidence to suggest that Flex Work can be a very successful model. Whether working entirely remote from home or in a flex arrangement between the office and home, this can have positive implications for the bottom line (see:
The Financial Benefits of Having a Flex Work Environment) and for the individual.
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Strategies for Workers, From Workers: Creating a Successful Flex Work Experience

Strategies for Workers

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

The nature of work is changing to be more flexible, and it is becoming more essential to understand the best ways to work remotely. In a research study examining practices utilized by high performing teleworkers (1), strategies were identified that help workers overcome common barriers associated with remote work. These include:
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The Financial Benefits of Having a Flex Work Environment

Reduced office capacity


By Dale Lawrence

There is ample evidence that most organizations see productivity gains when their workers are able to work in a flexible environment, whether entirely based in their home-office or flex between the office and their home. This doesn’t mean everything is rosy and the recent and sudden movement home during the pandemic saw many workers having to share workspace with their families. This wasn’t ideal but necessary. However, now that most businesses are beginning their journey to work in the new normal, it is time to evaluate one aspect that can provide real savings for your business. Flex Work as a permanent work style. There is data to prove it.
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Flex Work Teams: Defining a Great Team Member

Flex Work culture 2


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The future of work is here, and it is more flexible than the past. As a result of COVID-19, many individuals are working from home. A recent estimate was that a third of Americans are completing their jobs in a remote capacity. This has major implications for those who work in teams, and this begs the question - what does it take to be a great virtual team member?
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