Designing flexible work for wellbeing and performance

I’ve been looking at examples of companies that apply the principle of flexibility to more than just work arrangements. Moving in this direction is critical for employee quality of work life and business performance. Capital One and Best Buy are two companies that have redesigned work to better achieve performance goals, respond to changing market trends, and meet the needs of their workforce. These firms have crafted conditions for sustainable success by applying the principle of flexible work. I look at Capital One in this blog post and Best Buy in the next.

Capital One Financial Services Corporation, a Fortune 500 company that has received numerous awards for its workplace practices, provides a range of financial products. The company’s collaborative, values-based culture encourages employees to be innovative and independent – and to take ownership of goals.

Capital One’s Future of Work program (FOW) redesigns how work gets done.  FOW leaves behind the standard office workspace, using computer and communication technologies (laptops, Blackberries, VOIP phones, reimbursed home internet access) to enable employees to choose how, when and where to work so they can be most effective. Most of the cubicle space was not being utilized, so facilities were redesigned to reflect preferred work-styles, work activities and team interaction. The goals were increased employee satisfaction, organizational performance, better real estate use and job flexibility. Employee surveys found that FOW increased overall work satisfaction by 41% and a 53% increase in perceived work group productivity.

What’s interesting is how flexible work design optimizes work space and performance goals by giving employees tools and choices for doing their work. To what extent is this empowerment? Does the enabling technology encourage teleworking outside regular business hours? And would this approach be effective with less tech-savvy workers?

If you know employers that have taken a similar approach please comment.