Despite years of progress in the workplace, the gender pay gap remains a persistent issue. One promising solution is workplace flexibility. By allowing employees to adjust their schedules, businesses can promote work-life balance and reduce the gender pay gap. In this article, we will explore how workplace flexibility can help close the gender pay gap and the different strategies for promoting workplace flexibility. We will also discuss the role of technology and shift swapping in promoting workplace flexibility and how companies can overcome the barriers to implementation.
The Gender Pay Gap and Its Relationship to Workplace Flexibility
The gender pay gap is the difference in earnings between men and women in the same job, and it persists despite decades of progress. One of the primary causes of the gender pay gap is the uneven distribution of caregiving responsibilities, which often falls on women. Workplace flexibility can help close the gender pay gap by allowing employees to balance their work and caregiving responsibilities.
According to Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University professor, increasing workplace flexibility can significantly reduce the gender pay gap. Her research found that workplaces with more flexible policies, such as flexible schedules, had smaller gender pay gaps than those with less flexible policies.
Traditionally many of the highest paying jobs that do not require a lot of education such as technical machine operators in a manufacturing setting have not provided much workplace flexibility and have therefore skewed away from primary caregivers who need this flexibility to manage work-life balance. Since primary caregivers have historically been women, there has been a barrier to women who do not have advanced education from getting into many higher-paying jobs.
Improving the ability to give employees in these fields more flexibility may open up new career paths for employees who have an aptitude for this kind of work but need to balance work with other responsibilities
Strategies for Promoting Workplace Flexibility
There are various strategies for promoting workplace flexibility, such as flexible schedules, shift swapping, and volunteering. Employee-driven scheduling allows employees to have greater control over their availability, allowing for greater flexibility and work-life balance.
Gathering employees’ ever-changing availability and shift preferences and using this data to inform the creation of schedules. Flexible work arrangements can help employees balance their work and caregiving responsibilities, leading to greater job satisfaction and higher productivity.
Many companies have implemented flexible work arrangements with great success. For example, Deloitte has a program that allows employees to work from home one day a week, leading to higher productivity and employee satisfaction. American Express also has a flexible work program that has reduced absenteeism and employee turnover.
The Role of Technology in Promoting Workplace Flexibility
Sophisticated employee scheduling technology can be a game-changer in promoting workplace flexibility, especially for shift workers. By allowing employees to swap shifts with one another, businesses can provide employees with greater control over their work schedules. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and reduced absenteeism. For example, Indeavor’s employee scheduling software allows shift workers to swap shifts with ease, giving them greater flexibility and control over their work schedules.
Shift swapping is a powerful tool for promoting workplace flexibility. By allowing employees to swap shifts with one another, businesses can reduce the burden of unexpected changes in the work schedule. This can lead to greater job satisfaction and reduced absenteeism. Many companies have implemented shift-swapping programs with great success. For example, the fast-food chain McDonald’s has a program that allows employees to swap shifts with one another, reducing absenteeism and improving employee satisfaction.
Overcoming Barriers to Workplace Flexibility
The implementation of flexible work arrangements in companies can face various barriers. Manufacturing has interconnected labor needs since the work needs to be done at specific times by people with specific skills, so the labor demand is not flexible. What Indeavor offers is the ability to take employee needs into consideration while still meeting the non-flexible labor needs of a facility. These obstacles can result in a reduction of the expected benefits and may hinder progress in closing the gender pay gap.
However, companies can take steps to overcome these barriers. One effective strategy is to educate leadership on the potential benefits of flexible work arrangements, including increased productivity, job satisfaction, a reduction in absenteeism, and an increase in employee retention. Companies can also promote effective communication channels to ensure employees are aware of their options and understand the benefits of flexible work arrangements.
For instance, UPS’s program that allows drivers to work flexible schedules is an example of a company that overcame these barriers by creating a training program for leaders to educate them about the advantages of flexible work arrangements. By addressing these barriers, companies can implement flexible work arrangements successfully, leading to higher employee satisfaction, and increased productivity, and ultimately helping to close the gender pay gap.
Rely on Indeavor to Manage your Employee Schedules
Workplace flexibility is a powerful tool for reducing the gender pay gap. By promoting work-life balance, businesses can increase productivity and reduce absenteeism. There are many different strategies for promoting workplace flexibility, including telecommuting, flexible schedules, job sharing, and shift swapping. With the help of technology, businesses can make workplace flexibility more accessible and easier to implement. It is up to employers to take action and expand their flexible work arrangements to reduce the gender pay gap and promote work-life balance.
Indeavor’s shift-swapping feature can be particularly beneficial for women who are often tasked with caregiving responsibilities. By allowing employees to swap shifts, the software can help women more easily manage their caregiving responsibilities and work schedules, which can enable them to remain in the workforce and progress in their careers.
This, in turn, can help reduce the gender pay gap by enabling women to earn the same pay as their male counterparts. Additionally, the software can help promote workplace diversity by enabling employees from different backgrounds and with different caregiving responsibilities to balance their work and personal lives more easily.
About the Author
Claire Pieper is the Marketing Communications Coordinator for Indeavor. She aims to share information to improve the customer journey. To learn more or get in touch, connect with Claire on LinkedIn.