Fast Company: 5 Lessons from CFOs–How to Make Flex Biz Strategy, Not Perk/Benefit

We know that the HR community recognizes the importance of work+life flexibility, but what about the people who drive the financial decisions, and write the checks.  Is work+life flexibility on the radar screen of CFOs?  Is it a core strategic lever for responding rapidly to unexpected economic challenges, and for addressing future trends well in advance?  If not, why and how can that change?

To answer these questions, Work+Life Fit, Inc. partnered with BDO Seidman LLP to co-sponsor the first ever CFO Perspectives on Work-Life Flexibility study.  This national telephone survey of a random sample of 100 top CFOs at companies with at least 5,000 employees was conducted by an independent research firm in May, 2008.  I’m so pleased that the peer reviewed World at Work Journal chose to publish the article I wrote about the results and their implications entitled, “CFOs See Business Impacts of Work-Life Flexibility, But They Can’t Execute for Strategic Benefit,” in the most recent issue.

The publication of the article and the important insights the CFOs offered couldn’t come at a better time.  Eighteen months ago global corporate line leadership had a chance to use a broad range of work+life flexibility strategies to respond to the brewing economic crisis, and for the most part they didn’t.  Early on, they missed the opportunity to consider how they could reduce costs and sustain revenue by being more flexible in where, when and how the business and employees operated.  Specifically, they overlooked how to use a combination of flexible scheduling, compressed workweeks, furloughs, sabbaticals, telecommuting, reduced schedules, and job sharing to help employees become more productive, reduce labor costs while minimizing layoffs, cut real estate overhead, lower operating expenses, as well as improve and expand customer service.  This was a costly and unnecessary oversight that we can’t afford to repeat.

The key findings from the CFO survey outlined in the World at Work Journal article offer guidance into what we can leverage and do differently to make work+life flexibility a more integral part of both the short-term and long-term decision-making process:  (Click here for more)


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