Today's post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, executive director of the Workforce Institute. When employees can't get enough summer time, they'll find it on their own.
We've often written about the divide between the kinds of flexibility benefits that are offered to workers in jobs that can be done on a laptop (marketer, software designer, analyst) vs. those that can't (home health aides, EMTs, retail workers). The former can work from home or lakeside when the long days of summer lead to early dismissals and long weekends. The latter have to show up. All of them need the flexibility to balance their responsibilities inside and outside of work, but as our board member John Hollon has written, those whose jobs require presence generally don't enjoy the same level of flexibility as their office worker peers.
Another of our favorite topics is what it takes to build a culture of trust. Our board member Sharlyn Lauby wrote about this recently. Not because it's nice to do. But because trust leads to all kinds of other desirable organizational outcomes: better collaboration between colleagues, lower turnover, better customer service, etc.
I bring up these topics of trust and flexibility because over and over we see how intertwined they are for workers, especially those on the frontlines. The good news for frontline workers is that their leverage with their employers is growing.
This chart represents the most current JOLT (job openings and labor turnover) from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of June, there were 0.8 workers available per job opening; i.e. there are more job openings than workers available to fill them. In fact, there has been less than one job seeker per job opening since March of 2018.
And who are these hard to find candidates? Some are the lucky ones who'll be able to work from home or a vacation spot during the dog days of August. Many though, according the analysis below from the Economic Policy Institute, are in those jobs requiring presence: hospitality, food service, healthcare, government, etc.
Astute employers know they should focus on results and not face time for those lucky employees with laptop jobs. While some may not have received that memo yet, more and more see flexible work options as a strategic benefit. With unemployment remaining at record lows, this more open minded and democratic appreciation of flexibility is finding it's way to the frontline as well.
If you are interested in extending more flexibility to our workers, here are a list of strategies we've compiled over time to help managers help their frontline workers have schedules that will work for them:
How are you ensuring that summer time absences don't sink your productivity?
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