The nine-to-five office culture that developed in the 20th century may be nearing the end of its reign. Sure, people are expected to put in their 40 hours and complete projects on a deadline, but they're no longer tethered to a desk chair. Mobile devices and WiFi networks allow employees to get the job done virtually anywhere. This has sparked a growing trend of businesses offering flexible work options. Flex work includes everything from telecommuting to compressed work weeks and taking extended leave time.
Georgetown Law School and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have spearheaded the Workplace Flexibility 2010 initiative to develop a public policy program for promoting flexible work options. According to the initiative's research, 80 percent of employees would appreciate more flexible work options [source: Georgetown University Law Center]. Of those already enrolled in a flex program, 90 percent said it eased the burden of work-life balance [source: Georgetown University Law Center].
Best Buy Corporation exemplifies this shift toward flex scheduling. The Fortune 100 company switched to a result-only work plan (ROWE) in 2002 that allows participating employees to set their own schedules as long as their work is consistently finished on time. Since then, corporate departments involved in ROWE experienced a 35 percent boost in productivity [source: Brandon].