Employee Benefits

Employers, Employees and Job-Flexibility Tradeoffs

January 11, 2024

iness’s most prominent dilemmas – allow work from home or insist on return to work? – employers and employees alike must come to terms with an axiom: Life is a series of tradeoffs. Join us on Thursday, January 18, for "The Value of Flexible Work: Alera Group’s Tradeoff Study."

Faced with one of contemporary business’s most prominent dilemmas – allow work from home or insist on return to work? – employers and employees alike must come to terms with an axiom: Life is a series of tradeoffs.

With this not only in mind but also analyzed in depth, Alera Group is hosting a timely and important webinar on one of the most pressing issues facing business leaders and human resource professionals. Join us on Thursday, January 18, for The Value of Flexible Work: Alera Group’s Tradeoff Study.

During the one-hour webinar, from 2-3 p.m. ET, we’ll discuss the findings of our study and help business leaders perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine what degree of employee flexibility is feasible and what solution or solutions would work best for their organization.

Post-COVID work world

Employers competing in a largely worker-friendly labor market recognize that flexibility is a top priority – if not the top priority – for many of the market’s most attractive candidates. And many attempt to appeal to those candidates by offering either flexibility of hours, flexibility of work location or a combination of the two.

As CNBC declared in December 2023, “Full return to office isn’t the only work model dying. So is fully remote.”

Addressing the cause of the upheaval in work arrangements – the March 2020 lockdowns mandated to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 – CNBC reported, “Between 2019 and 2021, the number of employees who worked fully from home tripled. Many of them ended up embracing their new working conditions, citing benefits such as no commute, added flexibility, and increased opportunities.

“But as work from home peaked, business leaders started speaking out about their disdain for the remote model. Even CEOS who have taken companies to a remote model for reasons of cost, employee quality of life, and diverse hiring goals, say it requires a sacrifice of key corporate goals.”

Push and pull

For many employers, as CNBC indicated, increasing worker flexibility is counterintuitive. Most are inclined to push employees toward the workplace and standardized set hours. 

Employees, on the other hand, are more inclined to pull – away from the workplace, away from a management-dictated schedule.

Hence the tradeoff. 

In determining how much flexibility to grant or how much to sacrifice, employers and employees must ask the same question: At what cost? More precisely, what are employers willing to provide in exchange for onsite work and nonflexible hours? And what are employees willing to sacrifice for flexibility?

Spoiler alert: Paid time off is a pivotal point of compromise.

To learn more about the value employees place on job flexibility and the solutions available to employers, join us on January 18.



About the authors

Karen English, ACI, AU, ARM, CPCU
Senior Vice President
Alera Group Boston Office

Karen English has more than 20 years of experience in the property and casualty and health and welfare arenas, with an emphasis on product development, risk financing, process improvement and project implementation. In addition to strategic direction and quantitative and qualitative analysis, she provides implementation expertise for Workers’ Compensation and Disability Insurance, particularly in regard to absence management, and health and productivity programs. She is committed to determining how disability, absence management and health management programs can be integrated into her clients’ benefit programs, and she uses that research to develop employee-focused solutions that provide a cost savings for the employer. 

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Marcy Updike
National Director of Market Research,
Alera Group

Marcy Updike has more than two decades of experience market research, customer analytics and product insights. She became Alera Group’s National Director of Market Research in 2022. Her primary responsibilities include project management of Alera Group’s Employee Benefits benchmarking survey and tool. In addition, Marcy works with the Alera Group offices around the country to develop thought-leadership research and meet the informational needs of our clients.

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