Monday, October 5, 2009

Nonprofit HR Conference: You can work in a flexible workplace

A few months ago I spoke to a group of parents and caregivers that were really struggling to find flexible or part-time nonprofit work in their geographic region. I had mixed feelings about their comments because there is nonprofit research that states, many people (working mothers, part-time workers) are attracted to work in nonprofits because of the flexible work environments.

Today the keynote-Robin Robin, Director of Human Resources of Girls Inc. at the Nonprofit HR conference shared real stories of nonprofits that offer flexible workplaces.

Many nonprofits are shifting from the mindset of "productive employees are those who are in the office" to "productive workers are those that get their work done wherever they are."

 This flexible workplace requires a culture shift for many organizations. Organizations need to reassess how to keep employees engaged and how to help employees stay focused in their work. For some employees this means either working from home or taking a morning to go to their child’s’ doctors appointment. Most importantly, organizations need to create a culture where employees can stay home when they are sick.

In order to make this change to a flexible workplace, managers need to evaluate their staff in new ways. Case in point--younger workers--Robin said that younger workers see results and goals and often do the work when they want to, which may be at 10pm at night or 7am in the morning.

I am excited that many nonprofit organizations are making the shift to provide more flexible work environments. With that said, I’m sad this is not the case with all organizations. Too many employees are working 60 hours a week and are getting burned out. The majority of us cannot do this for very long.

As Robin Robin said “People that have flexibility in how they work will work more efficiently and effectively.”

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