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Organizational Behavior

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1. Introduction

Remember the days when shops closed on Sundays, and strawberries were a seasonal fruit? Times have changed.

An increasing trend of globalization has led to increased competition for market share as well as skilled labour force. Decreased barriers between countries and decreased costs of traveling foster the development. In effect this leads to large changes in the job market characterized by two strong movements. In reaction to increasing global competition the first movement has caused companies to expand their boundaries of market activity, thereby increasing travel activity of their employees, which lead to a substantial accumulation of costs. These costs are generated from multiple sources first of all the cost of travel, secondly the time of the employee that could be used more efficiently and finally health related absenteeism caused by too much travel activity. The second movement refers to increased mobility of employees and greater ease of changing jobs. Thus it has become more important for companies to focus on retaining existing skilled labour force, since recruiting and education expenses are also very high. In awareness of these two movements the introduction of "flexible working" is gaining popularity. As the term indicates flexible working provides the employee with increased freedom to organize his work. There are various options will be elaborated on later.

Flexible working offers many advantages, however the question remains whether the approach is suitable for every company? The following paper will answer this question in reference to ORTEC a Dutch financing company. Firstly the term of flexible working and what it implies will be explained. Secondly the applicability of flexible working to ORTEC finance will be analyzed emphasizing the effect on motivation and company culture. In doing so the company's status quo will be elaborated on followed by a discussion of possible benefits and risks. Thirdly depending on whether or not we believe the practices are applicable to ORTEC finance, recommendations for the practical implementation will be provided and finally under consideration of the previous aspects we will come to a conclusion in the ambition to both clarify the term and usefulness to the company.

2. What is flexible working? What does it imply?

"Workplace flexibility isn't just a women's issue. It's an issue that affects the well-being of our families and the success of our businesses. It affects the strength of our economy -- whether we'll create the workplaces and jobs of the future we need to compete in today's global economy." Barack Obama, Whitehouse Forum

Flexible working describes a range of work styles that provide more freedom to the employee to decide when, where or how to work. As previously mentioned this development is triggered by the downsides from increased work-related travel. One aspect are the direct travel expenses that have become very high. For instance Deloitte spends $200 million annually and over the past years traveling per person has increased by approximately 20% leading to strong acceleration in costs (http://articles.cnn.com/2007-05-03/travel/btravel.overview_1_american-express-business-travel-employee-travel-mike-streit?_s=PM:TRAVEL). In addition according to.......frequent flying can lead to severe health risks (https://www.achievesolutions.net/achievesolutions/en/Content.do?contentId=25478). These increased health risks lead to greater absenteeism. According to "my business" in 2010 the British economy lost 190 million working days to absence at a cost of £17bn (http://www.mybusiness.co.uk/YQDzGblo6VWuDg.html). In addition overburdening and stress lead to higher job turnover, which does not only cause a loss of expertise but also increased costs in recruiting and education of new employees. Thus it is the company's interest to provide a desirable environment in order for employees to retain their jobs. Flexible working is an approach in this direction, because it empowers employees and gives greater freedom to decide how to work. In addition it provides employees with the opportunity to improve their work life balance.

There are different approaches to flexible working. It can either be implemented providing flexibility in location or time. Flexible location on the one hand refers to working from home or any other location and can be supported via online communication tools, which is then referred to telecommuting. In this manner communication with co-employees and customers is facilitated without having to commute to the office or client thereby saving time and costs. Flexible time on the other hand comprises several different practices such as flextime schemes, part time working, jobshare, compressed working hours and annualized hours. In essence all of these measures refer to different working hours than the common 9-5, however they differ in flexibility. Some of these schemes basically



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