Impact of Workplace Flexibility on Employee Performance in Kraft Foods Company, UK

by Jason Shaw
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Abstract

This study generated current knowledge on impact of workplace flexibility practices on employee performance. The study was carried out in the UK Division of Kraft Foods Company. It tried to establish empirical relation between workplace flexibility and employee performance. A survey was conducted using quantitative research methods by recruiting a sample of 100 respondents comprising both those who work flexibly and otherwise. The results indicated very strong positive correlation between flexible workplace practices and direct impact on employee performance criteria such as quantitative work output (r = +0.96), qualitative work output (r = +0.90), team working (r = +0.93) and recruitment and retention (r = +0.78). The results also indicated a very strong positive correlation between flexible workplace practices and indirect impact on employee performance criteria such as job satisfaction (r= +0.85) and organisational commitment (r = +0.87), except on stress which showed a weak positive correlation(r = +0.19). The results also indicated that majority of respondents felt that flexible work practices contributed positively towards quantity and quality of their output, increased loyalty towards the organisation and improved job satisfaction.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Contents
  • Table of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Photo Credit 
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
    • 1.1 Background
    • 1.2 Research Significance
      • 1.2.1 Research Question
    • 1.3 Research Aims and Objectives
      • 1.3.1 Primary Objective
      • 1.3.2 Secondary Objectives
    • 1.4 Research Methodology
    • 1.5 Arrangement of Chapters
  • Chapter 2: Literature Review
    • 2.1. Workplace Flexibility
    • 2.2 employee performance
      • 2.2.1 Why measuring employee performance is important for flexible working
      • 2.2.2 Measurement and evaluation of flexible work arrangements
    • 2.3 Link between workplace flexibility and employee performance
    • 2.4 Conceptual Framework and Hypotheses
      • 2.4.1 Testing of Hypotheses
  • Chapter 3: Research Methodology
    • 3.1 Introduction
      • 3.1.1 Research Context
    • 3.2 Research Design
      • 3.2.1 Theoretical vs. empirical 
      • 3.2.2 Nomothetic vs. ideographic
      • 3.2.3 Cross-sectional vs. longitudinal study
    • 3.3 Research Method
      • 3.3.1 Qualitative study
      • 3.3.2 Quantitative study
    • 3.4 Population and Sampling
      • 3.4.1 Sample
      • 3.4.2 Variables
    • 3.5 Data Collection
      • 3.5.1 Instrument for employee survey
      • 3.5.2 Scaling
      • 3.5.3 Ethical Issues in Collection of Data
      • 3.5.4 Data Analysis Technique
    • 3.6 Practical Problems faced and Limitations
      • 3.6.1 Practical problems faced
      • 3.6.2 Limitations
      • 3.6.3 Reliability and Validity
  • Chapter 4: Analysis, Findings & Discussion
    • 4.1 Analysis
      • 4.1.1 Demography
      • 4.2.2 Flexible work arrangement
      • 4.2.3 Employee performance
      • 4.2.4 Testing of Hypotheses
    • 4.2 Findings
      • 4.2.1 Major findings
      • 4.2.2 Other findings
    • 4.3 Discussion
  • Chapter 5: Conclusions & Recommendations
    • 5.1 Conclusions
      • 5.1.1 Limitations of this study
    • 5.2 Recommendations
    • References

Appendix 1: Employee Perception Survey

  1. Employee Survey Questionnaire
  2. Demography
  3. Flexible Work Arrangement 

Appendix 2: Employee Survey Report 

    1. Demography
    2. Flexible work arrangement 
    3. Direct Impact on Performance 
    4. Indirect impact on performance

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Types of workplace flexibility. 7
  • Figure 2: Research design for primary study established for the study. 21
  • Figure 3: Demography of employee survey. 29
  • Figure 4: The terms of flexible work arrangements. 30
  • Figure 5: GPA Score of performance measurement variables. 32
  • Figure 6: Summary of correlation between flexible work practices and consequent impact on employee performance. 36

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Comparison between reliability and validity issues. 26
  • Table 2: Example of calculation of GPA scores for employee performance variables. 31
  • Table 3: GPA scores of five highest scoring variables. 33
  • Table 4: Summary of correlation between practices and customer satisfaction. 35
Photo Credit

Cover page image: URL: http://watermarked.cutcaster.com/cutcaster-photo-100099986-Mother-with-baby.jpg

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Chapter 1: Introduction

“Adaptive organizations choose to invest in people, to consider people as human capital and worth investments of various kinds, rather than as costs to be minimized. This choice…recognizes the reality that the demand for qualified knowledge and service workers exceeds the supply in many labor markets and will continue to do so for some time to come[1]” Burud & Tumolo, 2004, Authors

1.1 Background

Until recently, flexibility in the workplace was seen as simply a very desirable perk for employees (FlexPaths, 2011). BIPR.com Ltd[2]., the commercial arm developed by the Centre for Organisational Research (COER), Massey University states that, “flexible work arrangements provide the opportunity for flexibility in determining when, where, or how work is done. Possible options include telecommuting, job sharing, part time work, compressed work weeks, and flexible leave” (BIPR.com, 2010).

To remain competitive, organisations are now increasingly offering flexible working arrangements to a select group of employees either by direct recruitment or retaining top performing employees (BIPR.com, 2010). Employers can benefit by adopting the workplace flexibility as an essential element in their human capital strategy, which can be a “powerful business tool and successful management practice” (FlexPaths, 2011, p.1). 

Flexible work arrangements are now increasingly seen as a win-win situation both for the organisation and also for the employee. The organisation benefits by way of increased productivity and loyalty, and even direct cost savings in recruitment, training resulting from employee turnover.  On the other hand, the employees largely benefit from work-life balance (BIPR.com, 2010).

1.2 Research Significance

Workplace flexibility has changed in developed countries because of the rise of knowledge work. “Knowledge work creates jobs that depend less on physical and more on mental ability”(Ellis & Stredwick, 2005, p.9), In other words it is more reliant on the mental work than physical work. It is predicted that the future workplace will be characterised by more creative and flexible work environments. In other words, virtual office is expected to become more common. More emphasis will be put on performance and results rather than the number of hours worked; skills and competence will count more. In future, human resource management will be more decentralised (Venkatesh, 2009). “Flexible human capital practices, when adopted as a whole in a congruent cultural context, contribute to a workforce that is more skilled, stable, and enthusiastic and free of distractions” (FlexPaths, 2011). Therefore, “as flexible working arrangements become part of the mainstream approach to work and the range of available options increases, there is an ever-pressing need to examine how such working practices affect the organisation with regard to performance of individuals and the impact on colleagues and managers” (Clare Kelliher; Cranfield School of Management, 2008, p.4).

1.2.1 Research Question

From the foregoing, it is apparent that by adopting flexible work practices, organisations can benefit. However, there is still ample room for exploration of the real impact of flexible work place in individual employee performance and the impact on colleagues and managers and to learn how exactly the two are interrelated.

1.3 Research Aims and Objectives

The aim of the present study is to investigate further into the research question “how workplace flexibility impacts on employee performance”. To investigate into this aspect, the following research objectives are established.

1.3.1 Primary Objective

The primary objective of this study therefore is to explore the impact of workplace flexibility on employee performance.

1.3.2 Secondary Objectives

The study while trying to achieve the primary objectives will also focus on achieving the following secondary objectives:

  1. To find how workplace flexibility and employee performance are interrelated.
  2. To prove the hypotheses that there is a positive correlation between workplace flexibility and employee performance.
  3. To undertake a theoretical exploration of workplace flexibility and employee performance.
  4. To undertake a thorough review of the current literatures on relationships between workplace flexibility and employee performance.

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1.4 Research Methodology

The aim of the research is to analyse the impact of workplace flexibility on employees’ performance in Kraft Foods Company. For this study quantitative data will be obtained and used for analysis. Quantitative data will be obtained with a view of establishing the relationships that exist between workplace flexibility and performance. Based on the quantitative data obtained from the study, theories and models of how flexibility impacts performance will be established. Written questionnaires will be issued to respondents who will be employees of Kraft Foods Company. This method of data collection will be used since it is cost effective and convenient especially where a large group of people are to be surveyed as stated by Burns and Burns (2008).

Kraft Foods Company has over 140,000 employees worldwide. In 2006, Europe had approximately 16,000 employees (Boston Center for Work &Family 2006). The total number of employees expected is high. Conducting a survey of such a number will be time consuming and will require a lot of work. A letter of introduction will be sent to the company to inform them of the research and to seek permission to conduct the research. The letter will contain the following information: the purpose of the research, benefits of the research to the organisation, scope of the research, the procedure, and contacts in case of any queries and an option for the respondents to give feedback (McNeil 2005, p.125).

A sample size of 100 people will be surveyed. Well-structured questionnaires as instruments for survey will be used for collecting primary data.

1.5 Arrangement of Chapters

The study is arranged in five chapters. After the present chapter, in Chapter 2, theoretical underpinning of the terms – workplace flexibility and employee performance is undertaken. Subsequently, in this chapter, critical review of current literatures on the two subjects are made especially to find out what researchers say about the relationship between the two. In the research methodology chapter, a detailed discussion on the research methods adopted by researchers under different circumstances with different research purposes. Subsequently, in this chapter, the design of the research of the present study is articulated. It also deals with such aspects as research context, sampling and data collection, analysis and interpretation of the data are covered.

In Chapter four, the findings of the study, along with the analysis of the data and discussion of the analysis is undertaken. In the last chapter, based on the critical review of the literatures and critical analysis of the primary data, conclusions are drawn and a set of recommendations are made. This chapter also deals with the limitations of the study and directions for future research on the subject.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

“Human capital is productive wealth embodied in labour, skills and knowledge” United Nations

The present chapter deals with a theoretical exploration of workplace flexibility and employee performance. It also critically reviews the current literatures on the link between the two.

2.1. Workplace Flexibility

Globalisation, technological advancements and competition have made firms to focusing on innovation and differentiation to entice maximum customers towards their market offerings. Workplace productivity and efficiency have necessitated greater job commitment from employees. Employees play a vital role in accomplishment of business tasks and objectives. Hence, bringing efficiency in the workplace becomes the imperative. It tends to increase when employers enjoy smooth and cordial relationships with employees through creation of a discrimination-free shared-value and family-based internal atmosphere (Liechty & Anderson, 2007). Quite unequivocally, clever employers minimise the probability of employee – employer and organisation – employee conflicts that actually result from role overloads, unrealistic expectations and targets, and the absence of links between instrumental and terminal values (Mullins, 2007).

Mangel & Konrad (2000) have defined Workplace Flexibility as a blend of procedures, policies and arrangements that allow employees to balance their family and corporate life. Indeed, the flexibility at organisations allow employees to continue making productive contributions to the organisation, since their need fulfilment is ensured that in turn enhance their affective and normative commitment. These arrangements include flexible working hours, job sharing, provision of computers to facilitate communication and phased retirement of older workers with retirement benefits and pension plans.

Researchers have identified five different types of flexible working such as (1) functional, (2) numerical, (3) temporal, (4) locational and (5) financial flexible working (Reilly, 2001, p.28), (Levin-Epstein, 2005), (Russell et al, 2009).  These are depicted in Figure 1. 

Impact of Workplace Flexibility on Employee Performance in Kraft Foods Company, UK

Figure 1: Types of workplace flexibility

2.2 Employee Performance

Explaining the concept of employee performance BIPR.com states that the people being the most valuable resource in any organisation, if they are not managed and their outputs aligned, then its performance can slide. By employing performance management systems, organisations can better manage their human resources (BIPR.com, 2010). As employee tenures are getting shorter, organisations need to en cash the new emerging attitudes towards work and career growth (BIPR.com, 2010).

2.2.1 Why Measuring Employee Performance is Important for Flexible Working

Kehlliher (2008) concluded that through recognising the connection between flexible working and employee efficiency, companies would profit. For example, by measuring the amount and efficiency of the jobs of specific workers, it is important to calculate the direct impact of flexible work on the organization’s activities and its effectiveness. As a consequence, conclusions can be questioned or validated, a market argument can be best quantified for such job activities, and the cultural ‘temperature’ of the company can be tested with respect to flexible working  (Clare Kelliher; Cranfield School of Management, 2008).

2.2.2 Measurement and Evaluation of Flexible Work Arrangements

BIPR.com (2010) suggests several ways to measure and evaluate flexible work arrangements. Some of these include:

  1. Employee – rate of return after maternity leave
  2. Employee related losses
  3. Employee – Bradford Factor (BF)
  4. Employee absenteeism – sickness
  5. Employee replacement cost
  6. Employee – tenure
  7. Employee – loyalty
  8. Employee absenteeism – total
  9. Employee hours worked
  10. Employee – turnover (churn – rate)
  11. Employee – retention

2.3 Link between Workplace Flexibility and Employee Performance

Burud and Tumolo (2004) in their book “Leveraging the New Human Capital: Adaptive Strategies, Results Achieved, and Stories of Transformation” showed how, flexibility has helped organisations to reduce or totally eliminate costs  associated with turnover, healthcare, overhead, labour, quality, and legal fees (Burud & Tumolo, 2004). BIPR.com reports in their website that “telecommuting in particular offers considerable cost savings in regard to accommodation, parking requirements, and travel time saved by employees can be turned into productive work, reduced stress levels, and lifestyle benefits” (BIPR.com, 2010).

Kelliher (2008) performed a report on a two-year research initiative jointly initiated by the Cranfield School of Management and Working Families to investigate the effect of flexible working practises on employee efficiency, of which seven leading corporations engaged in the research: Centrica; Citi; KPMG; Lehman Brothers; Microsoft; Pfizer; and Rolls Royce’s Defense Aerospace sector. Employing 3580 respondent employees who worked flexibly as well as those who did not, the study focused on capturing such issues as performance, satisfaction with different aspects of employment, career performance, and stress levels. The findings showed a positive relationship between flexible working and individual performance.  (Clare Kelliher; Cranfield School of Management, 2008, p.2).

Earlier, on a somewhat similar study, a team of researchers from the Nanyang Business School (NBS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower of Singapore (MOM) under the guidance of Soon et al. (2005) conducted two separate studies on the relationships between work-life initiatives and their impact on employee and organisational outcomes. In the first study the researchers investigated the relationships between Work-Life practices and firm performance in Singapore firms using the Condition of Employment survey data. In the second study, they conducted an in-depth case study that examined the impact of Work-Life practices and climate on employee and firm outcomes in Sakae Sushi, a medium-sized company in Singapore in the F&B sector (Soon et al., 2005, p.8). The researcher used a four-staged data collection method on the Sakae Sushi study by employing such methods as “interviews with management and staff, data collection from company records on employee data, and data collection from 484 employees on employee attitudes, from company supervisors on employee behaviours and performance, and from customers on satisfaction with employee service performance and quality” (Soon et al., 2005, p.9). The researchers used human resource metric calculations on Sakae Sushi’s 2004 company records and cost data to examine the cost of employee behaviours and Work-Life practice. The results reveal that “employees who find Work-Life benefits useful and valuable, and who receive support from their direct supervisors and top management, are more engaged and fulfilled in their work. In turn, employees who are more engaged in their work are less likely to be absent on the job and less likely to resign (Soon et al., 2005).

A close comparison between both studies indicates the general agreement of the positive impact of flexible workplace arrangement on the employee performance. Besides these studies, there were other studies but less extensive in nature, which generally showed consistency with these findings.

2.4 Conceptual Framework and Hypotheses

Based on the theoretical exploration of workplace flexibility and employee performance, and the critical review of the literatures on the subject, the researcher believed that he is likely to find a positive correlation between the flexible workplace arrangements at Kraft Foods Company UK and performance of its employees. Soon et al. (2005) in their study observed that employees who find Work-Life benefits useful and valuable, and who receive support from their direct supervisors and top management, are more engaged and fulfilled in their work. In turn, employees who are more engaged in their work are less likely to be absent on the job and less likely to quit. This line of argument leads to the following hypotheses.

2.4.1 Testing of Hypotheses

The opinion of respondents on flexible work practices was captured by independent variable V9. The employee performance was measured in terms of seven dependent group-variables such as: (1) quantity of work output (V12 to V15), (2) quality of work output (V18 to V20), (3) team working (V23 to V29), (4) retention and recruitment (V30 to V32), (5) job satisfaction (V33 to V35), (6) organisational commitment (V36 & V37), and (7) employee stress (V39 to V42). The correlations of these seven dependent variables were measured against the independent variable captured by variable V9 using Pearson’s product moment correlation analysis. The hypotheses to be tested are placed below:

Hypotheses Set 1
  • H1.A: There is a positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and quantity of work output.
  • H1.B: There is no positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and quantity of work output.
  • Independent Variable (IV) – workplace flexibility practices (V9).
  • Group Dependent Variable (GV1) – Mean variable of Variables V12 to V15.
Hypotheses Set 2
  • H2.A: There is a positive correlation workplace flexibility practices and quality of work output.
  • H2.B: There is no positive correlation workplace flexibility practices and quality of work output.
  • Independent Variable (IV) – workplace flexibility practices (V9).
  • Group Dependent Variable (GV2) – Mean variable of Variables V18 to V20.
Hypotheses Set 3
  • H1.A: There is a positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and team working.
  • H1.B: There is no positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and team working.
  • Independent Variable (IV) – workplace flexibility practices (V9).
  • Group Dependent Variable (GV3) – Mean variable of Variables V23 to V29.
Hypotheses Set 4
  • H1.A: There is a positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and retention & recruitment.
  • H1.B: There is no positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and retention & recruitment.
  • Independent Variable (IV) – workplace flexibility practices (V9).
  • Group Dependent Variable (GV4) – Mean variable of Variables V30 to V32.
Hypotheses Set 5
  • H1.A: There is a positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and job satisfaction.
  • H1.B: There is no positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and job satisfaction.
  • Independent Variable (IV) – workplace flexibility practices (V9).
  • Group Dependent Variable (GV5) – Mean variable of Variables V33 to V35.
Hypotheses Set 6
  • H1.A: There is a positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and organisational commitment.
  • H1.B: There is no positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and organisational commitment.
  • Independent Variable (IV) – workplace flexibility practices (V9).
  • Group Dependent Variable (GV2) – Mean variable of Variables V36 & V37.
Hypotheses Set 7
  • H1.A: There is a positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and employee stress.
  • H1.B: There is no positive correlation between workplace flexibility practices and employee stress.
  • Independent Variable (IV) – workplace flexibility practices (V9).
  • Group Dependent Variable (GV2) – Mean variable of Variables V39 to V42.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

Human capital, a marketable commodity possessed by individuals; can take the form of education, skills, or talent”CFED

3.1 Introduction

The present study aims to fulfil a specific purpose i.e. to find out the impact of workplace flexibility on employee performance. The researcher believed that performance of the employees of a firm would increase if flexibility is provided in the work place in any form.

3.1.1 Research Context

To achieve the purpose of the study, primary data needed to be collected, for which Kraft Cheese was chosen as the context organisation. Kraft Foods is a reputed multinational company with its headquarters at Northfield, IL, US. The company has approximately 180 manufacturing and processing facilities and 15 research and development centres, and operating in more than 70 countries across the world. With employee strength of about 140,000 and sales in approximately 170 countries and 11 brands valued more than $ 1billion (Kraft Foods, 20111). The company is a fertile case for the study as it offers a wide variety of work-life programmes and policies which are aimed to ensure employee satisfaction.  Some of the work flexibility practices that Kraft Foods Company uses include flexible work arrangements, working remotely by use of computer technology (telecommuting), access to online parenting forums and guidelines on how to run more efficient meetings. Balancing between the needs of the company and the needs of employees has been a major challenge for the company. Because the company has branches worldwide, a universal task force of employees has been formed to find ways of improving workplace flexibility at Kraft Foods Company. The goal of the company is to ensure that employees or workers have a flexible and supportive working environment. The company also aims at empowering managers and employees to look for solutions that meet the company’s and individual’s needs (Boston Center for Work and Family, 2006).  The employees of Kraft Cheese, UK constituted the participants.

3.2 Research Design

Research design is akin to the structure of the research – it is the glue that holds all of the elements in a research project together” (Trochim, 1998). Conversely, Zikumnd & Babin (2007) explained the research design as “a master plan that specifies the methods and procedures for collecting and analysing the needed information” (Zikmund & Babin, 2007:493; cited by Drotskie, 2009, p.158).  Eisenhardt (1989) in her paper “Building Theories from Case Study Research” described the process of inducting theory using case studies-from specifying the research questions to reaching closure. According to the author, a few features such as within-case analysis and replication logic are unique to inductive case oriented process. Other features such as problem definition and construct validation remains same as that followed in hypothesis-testing research (Eisenhardt, 1989). The research process which is based on the grounded theory process begins with defining the research question and potential early constructs. It then moves to sampling, where existing literatures are referred for making choices. Data are sampled for analysis in a theoretical manner i.e. instead of looking for representativeness in the samples, the researcher will look for variations in the variables and other theoretically interesting characteristics of the unit of analysis (Eisenhardt, 1989). Finally, the instrument for data collection is prepared and filed collection of data is done. Eisenhardt (1989) states that collection of data is often done simultaneously with analysis so that the data collection plan can be changed a better theory is found. Further, since, the research process is iterative and based on data, hence, the resultant theory it arrives at is often novel, testable, and empirically valid. Due to this this reason, it is more appropriate in new topic areas (Eisenhardt, 1989, p.1).

3.2.1 Theoretical vs. empirical

Torchim (2006) states that social research is theoretical, as it concerns with “developing, exploring, or testing the theories or ideas” on how the world operates. On the other hand, empirical research deals with observations and measurements of study (Trochim, 2006, p.11). The present study concerns both as it tries to understand the theories and ideas behind the concept of flexible workplaces and employee performance. Further, since, it also intends to measure the impact of flexible workplace on employee performance, therefore, it needed to have an empirical orientation.

3.2.2 Nomothetic vs. ideographic

The psychologist Gordon Allport defined nomothetic study as that pertaining to the general case. On the contrary, ideographic study related to individuals (Trochim, 2006). The present study falls into the nomothetic group as it dealt with the general case rather than individual case.

3.2.3 Cross-sectional vs. longitudinal study

Torchim (2006) explains that a cross-sectional study is undertaken at a single point in time, whereas, a longitudinal study is undertaken over a period of time (Trochim, 2006). Since, the study will be undertaken only at one point of time; the present study would be designated as cross-sectional study. 

3.3 Research Method

Determining the research method is vital to any research, therefore, needed to be chosen carefully. To enable this, a thorough study was undertaken to identify the appropriate research method. Some of the important considerations for the research were made to chalk out the right research road so that the objective can be achieved easily, quickly and without much wandering in the ocean of knowledge.

3.3.1 Qualitative study

Two general streams of research based on the types of data were considered such as qualitative and quantitative study. Qualitative study involved collection and analysis of non-numerical narrative data to gain insight into the occurrences of interest (Gay et al., 2006). The primary objective of the study being to find out impact of workplace flexibility on employee performance, a qualitative research was considered to be useful especially for capturing perception of the management on how they perceived the issue. A qualitative research can be exploratory as it enables discovering the general nature of a problem and related variables (Tull & Hawkins, 1987:32-33; cited by Drotskie, 2009). But an exploratory research can also be quantitative, which is discussed subsequently.

3.3.2 Quantitative study

Since the present study necessitated knowing opinion of a large number of employees at Kraft Foods, the quantitative research method became imperative. Four types of quantities research such as (1) descriptive research, (2) correlational research, (3) causal-comparative research and (4) experimental research were considered for suitability.

A descriptive study primarily designed to describe to get insight into what is going on or what exists; whereas, a relational study aims to find out the relationship between two variable. Similarly, the objective of a causal study is to understand if one or more variables causes or affects one or more outcome variables (Gay et al., 2006; Torchim, 2006). The fourth type of study, namely, experimental approach was discarded as neither the independent variable (workplace flexibility), nor the dependent variables (employee performance) were under the control of the researcher.

In our present research question, it is apparent that all the three types of questions have been integrated in a cumulatively. For instance, the study tries to find out what is happening on workplace flexibility at Kraft Foods (descriptive). It also tries to find out the relationship between variables designed to measure employee performance and workplace flexibility (relational). In addition, it also aims to understand the cause and effect relationship between independent and dependent (outcome) variables. However, the descriptive, which involves collecting data for the purpose of testing hypotheses and answer questions, was found to have a stronger bearing on the study. Further, since, the study attempted to determine to what degree a relationship exist between two quantifiable variables (Gay et al., 2006) captured in the form of opinions of the staffs (workplace flexibility) and opinions of customers (employee performance), the correlational approach was too found to be having considerable bearing.

The entire primary study was planned to be cross-sectional and one time survey was considered; though the researcher believes that a longitudinal study over a period of at least one year would have established the causal relationship better. The present study was planned to have a combination of exploratory and causal research design and the data was intended to be captured in the form of survey conducted on the employees of Kraft Foods, UK. Depending upon availability and willingness and convenience of the executives, a qualitative study was also planned to capture the management perspective. However, it did not form the main part of the data and was intended merely to supplement the understanding of the findings of the study.

The data from the primary study conducted on the employees of Kraft Foods captured through employee survey were intended for both correlational and causal study. It was also intended that a set of hypotheses were to be tested from this data set. The plan for the primary research is placed at the figure below.

Figure 2: Research design for primary study established for the study

3.4 Population and Sampling

3.4.1 Sample

A sampling frame is a listing of the accessible population, from which the researcher draws the sample (Trochim, 2006). In the present study, a sample was drawn from facility of Kraft Foods, UK.  A study was made to understand the types of sampling techniques available such as purposive, convenience, random and stratified sampling techniques were studied. The OECD statistical glossary defines the purposive sampling as a non-probability sampling method, which consists of “sample units where the selected units in the sample have an unknown probability of being selected and where some units of the target population may even have no chance at all being in the sample” (OECD, n.d.). An important characteristic of sampling is that it rejects unsuitable people under the given selection criteria. The non-probability sampling method can be undertaken in many ways, such as quota sampling, expert sampling and voluntary sampling. In the present study, voluntary sampling was chosen, as it was proposed to recruit volunteers for the survey. Since, the present study had the specific purpose to study workplace flexibility, hence, employees those who worked flexibly were thought to be appropriate for a purposive survey. This therefore, reduced the size of the sample further. However, purposive survey, being a non-probability type of sampling, is likely to be subjected to bias and error (Trochim, 2006). Other forms of sampling were unsuitable, hence discarded. 

3.4.2 Variables

The variables listed under ‘workplace flexibility’ were considered to be independent variables, while variables grouped under direct and indirect employee performance were dependent (or outcome) variables. Genders of respondents were considered as control variables.

3.5 Data Collection

3.5.1 Instrument for employee survey

For collection of data, an instrument in the form of a questionnaire was developed for surveying employees (placed at Appendix 1). The objective of the employee survey was to capture the perspective of the employees on the impact of workplace flexibility on employee performance. An in depth study was undertaken to find studies conducted to the subject. As no directly related study could be identified, studies on peripheral subjects were searched in both academic and professional publications and websites. Pretested academic grade questionnaire were sourced from the study conducted by Clare Kelliher in 2008[3]. Some of the questions in the instruments were suitably modified to suit the objective of the study. The questionnaire contained a total of 42 questions including the demographic questions. The statements in the questionnaire were grouped under the following heads:

  1. Demography (V1 to V5)
  2. Flexible work arrangement (V6 to V9)
  3. Direct impact on performance
    1. Quantity of work (V10 to V15)
    2. Quality of work (V16 to V20)
    3. Team working (V21 to V29)
    4. Retention and recruitment (V30 to V32)
  4. Indirect impact on performance
    1. Job satisfaction (V33 to V35)
    2. Organisational commitment (V36 to V37)
    3. Stress (V38 to V42)

Respondent fatigue was an important aspect which was kept in mind while developing the questionnaire. However, due to the small size of sample, it was felt that greater insight on the subject could be had only if the number of questions is kept slightly large.

3.5.2 Scaling

Various types of scaling such as (1) Thurstone or Equal-appearing Interval Scaling; (2) Likert or “Summative” Scaling; (3) Guttman or “Cumulative” Scaling were considered. Of these, the Likert scaling was found suitable and was adopted.

3.5.3 Ethical Issues in Collection of Data

For the survey, all the ethical principles such as (1) the principle of voluntary participation, (2) requirement of informed consent, (3) risk of harm, (4) participant’s confidentiality, (5) principle of anonymity, and (6) participants right to service were adequately taken care of.

3.5.4 Data Analysis Technique

The statistical analysis of the data including all of its three phases such as (1) data preparation, (2) descriptive statistics and (3) inferential statistics was undertaken using Microsoft Excel spread sheet solutions. Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient techniques were used to analyse the relationship between workplace flexibility and employee performance.

3.6 Practical Problems Faced and Limitations

3.6.1 Practical Problems Faced

The researcher met with a few practical difficulties during the study. For instance, it was intended to include a qualitative study by conducting a structured interview of a few senior executives at Kraft Foods Company. The structured executive interview would have provided the perspectives of the management on what they felt about flexible working and their experience in maintaining this.  However, this could not materialise due to various reasons, which had to be eventually dropped.

3.6.2 Limitations

The study suffered from various limitations.  First and foremost is the smallness of sample size, especially for the employee survey. Although, to balance this defect, the researcher used an extensive instrument using 42 variables; yet it was felt that a larger sample size would have brought out the findings more conclusively. Another, important limitation is that the researcher used only a cross-sectional approach for the study. The researcher believes that a longitudinal study over a period of time across several firms would have made the findings more relevant.  A third limitation was in the use of only one variable to capture the work place flexible practices. A couple of more variables on these aspects could have captured the opinion of the respondents better. However, keeping respondent fatigue in picture, it could not be increased any further, as it had already contained 42 questions.

3.6.3 Reliability and Validity

To gain insight on both reliability and validity aspects, a detailed study was conducted. The OECD glossary of statistical terms defines reliability as the “closeness of the initial estimated value (s) to the subsequent estimated values” (OECD, n.d.). On the other hand, the Oxford dictionary defines validity as “the quality of being logically or factually sound; soundness or cogency: one might question the validity of our data” (http://oxforddictionaries.com, 2010).  The OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms defines a validity error “is an occurrence of the value of a data item which is not an element of the set of permissible codes or values assigned to that data item” (OECD, n.d.). Statistical validity means to make a statement that the researcher can have confidence in the means that establishes validity. A comparison between reliability and validity is placed at Table below.

Table 1: Comparison between reliability and validity issues

Reliability

Validity

Production of consistent, replicable outcomes Production of outcome that meets objective
Substantiation based on past data Substantiation based on future events
Use of limited number of objective variables Use of a broad number of diverse variables
Minimisation of judgement Integration of judgement
Avoidance of the possibility bias Acknowledgement of the reality of bias

The researcher believes that both the analysis and the instruments for collection of data are reliable and would qualify in all three types of reliability tests namely, inter-rater, internal consistency and test-retest conditions. Further, since, the data has been collected by the researcher in person, therefore, there is no scope for these types of errors. The researcher is also confident that both the analysis and the instruments would qualify all types of validity such as internal, and construct validity. However, for external and criterion validation, more such cross-sectional studies or waves of data collection on a longitudinal survey would be required.

Chapter 4: Analysis, Findings & Discussion

4.1 Analysis

The purpose of the employee survey was to capture the perspectives of employees at Kraft Foods, UK about how they felt about the workplace flexibility offered by their company and how it impacted performance of their own, that of their colleagues and team members.

4.1.1 Demography

In the employee survey, a total of 100 completed questionnaires were received. The survey had a male bias as of the total 100 respondents, 67 percent respondents were males and the rest females. Of this 30 percent were in the age group of 21-30 years; 38 percent were in the age group of 31-40 years. The remaining 28 percent were in the age group of 41-50 and 4 four percent were more than 51 years. 

Nearly, 34 percent of the respondents were married or living with a partner, the remaining 66 per cent respondents said, they were carrying responsibilities. 43 percent of the respondents were undergraduates, while 34 percent said they were graduates; the remaining 23 percent were post graduates. When asked to the respondents about their years of association with the organisations, 32 percent said they were associated within 3-5 years. This was the largest group. Of the others 28 per cent said their association is within 1-2 years, 23 percent – within 6 to 10 years and the remaining 17 percent had more than 10 years association with the organisation. The graphical representation of the demographic features of the respondents is placed in the figure above.

Figure 3: Demography of employee survey

4.2.2 Flexible Work Arrangement

The independent variable in the study was flexible work management, the relationship of which was to be studied against employee performance. The respondents comprised a mixture of employees who worked flexibly (56 percent) and also those who worked on traditional fixed routine (44 percent). Of the respondents with flexible routine, 54 percent said, they worked with an informal work arrangement, while the remaining 46 percent worked under a formal work arrangement. When the respondents who asked flexibly about the term of their work arrangement, 35 percent said, they worked on flexi-time basis, 24 percent worked remotely, 15 percent worked on staggered hours- basis and 13 percent each on term-time only and reduced hours basis respectively. The basis of flexible work arrangement is graphically in the figure below.

Impact of Workplace Flexibility on Employee Performance in Kraft Foods Company, UK

Figure 4: The terms of flexible work arrangements

4.2.3 Employee Performance

To measure variables under the employee performance, attributes were allocated points such as: (1) Strongly disagree – 1 points; (2) Disagree – 2 points; (3) Can’t say – 3 points; (4) Agree – 4 points; (5) Strongly agree – 5 points. Accordingly, these attributes were multiplied with their frequencies of occurrence and were added together. This figure was then divided by 500 (total number of respondents x maximum attribute that can be awarded to any variable) and reduced to percent (by multiplying by 100). The figure thus obtained provided the grade point average (GPA) score of the particular variable. The calculation of the GPA scores is depicted in the following table.

Table 2: Example of calculation of GPA scores for employee performance variables

Variable

Attribute multiplication factor

Strongly disagree

Somewhat disagree

Can’t say

Somewhat agree

Strongly agree

GPA Score

x1 x2 x3 x4 x5 x100/500
V12. Quantity of work (productivity): I think it’s smoother because I can be more concentrated, and if I work from home, I can assume the efficiency is possibly higher. 15 10 0 45 30 73
V13. Quantity of work: the first time I thought I wanted to justify myself. But I held a really tight check of my hours… so I could show that I was performing at least my contract hours per week. 12 28 20 47 3 58.2

Figure 5: GPA Score of performance measurement variables

After obtaining the GPA scores, these figures were then sorted by using the SORT feature in Microsoft Excel spread sheets. Subsequently, a bar diagram was prepared from these data. As is evident from Figure 5 above, the GPA scores ranged from a maximum of 80.8 (V37) to a minimum of 43.6 (V42). The GPA scores of the five highest scoring variables are placed in the table below.

Table 3: GPA scores of five highest scoring variables

Variable

GPA Score

V37. Loyalty towards organisation: I think they’ve accommodated it, more inspired but still very thankful in certain respects. So, I think it sounds a little cheesy, but commitment to a company will be improved. 80.8
V34. Job satisfaction: I believe [my work satisfaction] has changed, and I can see that it’s permanent. 78.8
V14. Quantity of work: I leave here regularly at five… I get home with the children for bathing and bedtime, but then sit down and do another two hours of work; whereas if I were somewhere that said “no, you can’t leave until 5.30,” then you might miss bedtime, but then you’re also less likely to pick up any other job afterwards. 77
V36. Commitment towards organisation: I’ve noticed little but increased participation from the people who have been given and are actually busy operating either from home, job holidays, decreased hours, compressed hours, and the various forms we provide it. 76.8
V23. Team working: Team objectives vs. individual needs: To maintain the team’s success, the need to discuss flexible functioning as a team remains strong and all deliverables are fulfilled. It is not only about reflecting on the team’s specific needs, but rather on the priorities and goals that they are there to accomplish. 75.8

From the table above, it is apparent that the respondents at Kraft Foods Company, UK endorsed their highest approval by indicating that flexible workplace practices (1) increased loyalty towards organisation (GPA score = 80 8); (2) increased job satisfaction (GPA score = 78.8); (3) increased the quantity of work output (GPA score = 77); (4) improved commitment towards organisation (GPA = 76.8); and (5) keeps team productivity high (GPA score = 75.8).

4.2.4 Testing of Hypotheses

The primary objective of the study was to explore the relationship between flexible work practices and employee performance. Accordingly, four sets of hypotheses were proposed to be tested in the study. Firstly, the researcher believed that there is positive correlation between flexible work practices and employee performance. The opinion of respondents on flexible work practices was captured by independent variable V9.

The employee performance was measured in terms of seven group variables such as: (1) quantity of work output (V12 to V15), (2) quality of work output (V18 to V20), (3) team working (V23 to V29), (4) retention and recruitment (V30 to V32), (5) job satisfaction (V33 to V35), (6) organisational commitment (V36 & V37), and (7) employee stress (V39 to V42). The relationship of these seven dependent variables was measured against the independent variable captured by variable V9 using Pearson’s product moment correlation analysis. The hypotheses to be tested are already discussed in Chapter 2. The hypotheses were tested using Pearson’s product moment correlation analysis.  For measuring the strength of relationship, the following ‘r’ values were established:

  • Range +1 to –1
    • r= 0.95 and above – near perfect correlation
    • r = 0.80 and below 0.94 very strong correlation
    • r = 0.60 and below 0.79 strong correlation
    • r = 0.40 and below 0.59 moderate correlation
    • r = 0.20 and below 0.39 weak correlation
    • r = 0 and below 0.19 very weak correlation

Similar valuation is applicable for the negative correlation. The results are presented in table below:

Table 4: Summary of correlation between practices and customer satisfaction

Group Variables

Correlation between

Pearson’s ‘r’

GV1 Flexible work practices and quantity of work output 0.96
GV2 Flexible work practices and quality of work output 0.90
GV3 Flexible work practices and team working 0.93
GV4 Flexible work practices and recruitment & retention 0.78
GV5 Flexible work practices and job satisfaction 0.85
GV6 Flexible work practices and organisational commitment 0.87
GV7 Flexible work practices and stress 0.19

The table above shows the correlations between variables measuring flexible work practices and employee performance (represented by the seven sets of group variables mentioned above. Figure 6 below provides a pictorial representation of the correlation between independent and dependent variables.

Figure 6: Summary of correlation between flexible work practices and consequent impact on employee performance.

From the table above, the Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient values reveal a near perfect correlation (r =0.96) was observed a calculation of the direct influence on employee success between flexible work activities and its effect on quantity of employee performance. It also indicates that there was a very clear positive association (r=0.90) between flexible work activities and their influence on employee performance efficiency, a metric of direct effects on employee performance.

Further, a very strong positive correlation (r=0.93) was observed between flexible work practices and impact on retention and recruitment, a measure of direct impact on employee performance. In addition, a strong positive correlation (r=0.78) was observed between flexible work practices and impact on retention and recruitment, a measure of direct impact on employee performance. Moreover, a very strong positive correlation (r=0.85) was observed between flexible work practices and its impact of job satisfaction, a measure of indirect impact on employee performance. An equally very strong positive correlation (r=0.87) was observed between flexible work practices and its impact on employees’ organisational commitment, a measure of indirect impact on employee performance. However, a weak correlation (r=0.19) was observed between versatile job procedures and their impact on the stress of workers.

In view of these findings, it is evident that following hypotheses H1A, H2A, H3A, and H41A, H51A, H61A, H71A are proved; and all the alternate hypotheses were rejected.

4.2 Findings

4.2.1 Major Findings

The major findings of the study are as follows:

  1. A near perfect correlation[4] (r =0.96) was observed between flexible work practices and its impact on quantity of employee performance, a measure of direct impact of employee performance.
  2. A very strong positive correlation (r=0.90) was observed between flexible work practices and its impact on quality of employee performance, a measure of direct impact on employee performance.
  3. A very strong positive correlation (r=0.93) was observed between flexible work practices and impact on retention and recruitment, a measure of direct impact on employee performance.
  4. A strong positive correlation (r=0.78) was observed between flexible work practices and impact on retention and recruitment, a measure of direct impact on employee performance.
  5. A very strong positive correlation (r=0.85) was observed between flexible work practices and its impact of job satisfaction, a measure of indirect impact on employee performance.
  6. An equally very strong positive correlation (r=0.87) was observed between flexible work practices and its impact on employees’ organisational commitment, a measure of indirect impact on employee performance.
  7. A weak positive correlation (r=0.19) flexible work processes and their impact on employee tension have been observed.
4.2.2 Other Findings

A few other findings made during the study are appended below:

  1. Nearly 64 per cent respondents believed the overall impact of workplace flexibility on the quantity of their performance is positive.
  2. Nearly 39 per cent respondents believed that the overall impact on the quantity of work due to working with flexible workers on others is positive.
  3. Nearly 83 per cent of respondents believed that the overall impact on the quality of work due to working with flexible workers on others is positive.
  4. The respondents gave their highest approval (GPA score = 80.8) to the statement “: I guess, more motivated but also quite grateful in some respects, that they’ve accommodated that. So I guess – it sounds a bit cheesy – but it would increase loyalty to an organisation…” implying that the workplace flexibility increases loyalty towards the organisation.
  5. The respondents gave their second highest approval (GPA score = 78.8) to the statement “I think it’s improved [my job satisfaction] because I can see that it’s sustainable.” implying that the workplace flexibility increases job satisfaction.

4.3 Discussion

Analysis of the primary data and the consequent findings substantiated both the research question and the observations made during review of literatures. For instance, the findings made by Soon et al., (2005), on their study on Sakae Sushi’s company’s work-life practice  viz.

“Employees who find Work-Life benefits useful and valuable, and who receive support from their direct supervisors and top management, are more engaged and fulfilled in their work. In turn, employees who are more engaged in their work are less likely to be absent on the job and less likely to quit (Soon et al., 2005, p.10)”

is consistent with the present findings made in this study viz.

“Quantity of work: I leave here usually at five… I get home with the children for baths and bedtime, but then sit down and do another two hours of work; while if I were anywhere who said “no, you can’t leave until 5.30,” then you could skip bedtime, but then you’re much less able to take up some other job afterwards. (V14, GPA score = 77).

Similarly, the findings were also consistent with the findings made by Clare Kelliher and her Cranfield School of Management team (2008) viz.

“The majority of flexible workers, co-workers of flexible workers and managers of flexible workers reported that there was either a positive impact or no impact on individual performance. This was true for both the quantity of work produced” (Clare Kelliher; Cranfield School of Management, 2008, p.2).

 Chapter 5: Conclusions & Recommendations

5.1 Conclusions

The primary objective of the research was to find out the impact of workplace flexibility on employee performance. In addition, it was also intended to find out the nature of relationship between workplace flexibility on employee performance. The study revealed the near perfect correlation (r =0.96) observed flexible work processes and their effect on the efficiency of the number of workers. Seven hypotheses were tested and all of them were proved. The findings made during the study were compared with studies conducted earlier by various researchers and were found to be consistent with the existing literatures.

During the study, the author was surprised by several findings. For eg, at least a moderate to high positive association between organisational flexibility activities and employee tension was predicted by the investigator, which was found to be a poor positive correlation (r=0.19). The reasons for this could be due to increased expectations on the employees working flexibly than those who are not.

5.1.1 Limitations of this Study

The study suffers several limitations. For instance, researcher used only a cross-sectional approach for the study. The researcher believes that a longitudinal study over a period of time across several firms would have made the findings more relevant.  Similarly, the researcher believed that by including a qualitative study especially, interviewing a few senior management level executives could have provided the perspective of the management, which is lacking in this study.

Regardless of these flaws, the researcher is of the opinion that the study has made important contribution on the subject both in the form of the rich theoretical underpinning, critical review of literatures and the findings made during the study. The researcher feels that workplace flexibility perhaps is one of the greatest innovations in human resources management during the last century. Besides, bringing many benefits to both the employer and the employee, it also brings benefits to other stakeholders, such as contributing towards reducing traffic snarls and parking woes. Flexible work practices are good practices, it should be pursued vigorously.

5.2 Recommendations

Based on the critical review of the literatures and critical analysis of the findings of the primary and secondary research, it is recommended that further serious research may be funded at all levels including international, national, firm level and individual levels to further refine this greatest innovation in human resources management practices. 

For future studies, the researcher recommends greater focus on direct and indirect impact of workplace flexibility on to employee performance. For instance, studies may be undertaken on the impact of workplace flexibility on organisational commitment or job satisfaction or employee turnover and so on.

To enable these studies organisations have intrinsic advantages over the academia to undertake studies on flexible work practices within their own organisation. Therefore, it is recommended that all types of organisations including for-profit, non-profit and government organisations need to conduct more studies in their organisation and contribute towards development of understanding in this significant field of study.

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 Appendix 1: Employee Perception Survey

Dear Respondent,

I am exploring the impact of workplace flexibility on individual employee performance. In order to stay successful through the recruiting and development of best quality workers, flexible working conditions are frequently provided by companies. Via improved efficiency and commitment, and for the worker through work/life advantages, these agreements tend to be a win/win scenario for the company. Your thoughts would be indispensable in order to obtain greater insight into this aspect. I shall be thankful if you can kindly answer the following questionnaire that you believe is the closest to the statement.

The Questionnaire contains statements on workplace flexibility and employee performance. You have to choose the answer which according to you is the most appropriate of all the other options. The terminologies along with their meanings are placed below.

The survey will take approximately 20 minutes and is being conducted on an anonymous basis. The proceedings of the survey will be kept as highly confidential, which will be destroyed by me in person on completion of the survey. 

Thanking you for your time.

Sincerely,

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Employee Survey Questionnaire

1. Demography

V1. I am a male / female / unisex. 

V2. I am in the age group of:

I am in the age group of 21- 30 31 – 40 51- 50 51 and above

 

V3. I am:

Married/living with a partner With caring responsibilities

 

V4. My educational qualification is:

Under graduate Graduate Post graduate  and above

 

V5. I am associated with the organisation for the past:

1 to 2 year
3 to 5 years
6 to 10 years
More than 10 years

2. Flexible Work Arrangement

V6. I work:

Flexibly With a fixed routine

 

V7. (Respondents with flexible work arrangement may answer this question please).

I have:

A formal flexible work arrangement I work with an informal flexible work arrangement

 

V8. The term of my flexible work arrangement is on the basis of:

Reduced hours  
Remote working  
Flexi-time  
Staggered hours  
Compressed hours  
Term-time only  

 

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V9. Flexible working:

Overall, I believe flexible working is good for the organisation and also for me.

 A. Direct Impact on Performance

       i. Quantity of Work

V10. I believe the overall impact of workplace flexibility on the quality my own performance is:

Positive Negative Neutral

 

V11. I believe the overall impact on the quantity of work due to working with flexible workers on others is:

Positive Negative Neutral

 

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V12. Work productivity:

I think it’s smoother because I can be more concentrated, and if I work from home, I can assume the efficiency is possibly higher.

V13. The first time, I think I wanted to prove myself. But I held a really tight check of my hours… so I could show that I was performing at least my contract hours per week.
V14. I leave here usually at five… I get home with the children for baths and bedtime, but then sit down and do another two hours of work; while if I were anywhere who said “no, you can’t leave until 5.30,” then you could skip bedtime, but then you’re much less able to take up some other job afterwards.
V15. Don’t pretend to be able to handle it by yourself, because you can’t. You have less time to do that.
     ii. Quality of Work

V16. I believe the overall impact of workplace flexibility on the quality my own performance is:

Positive Negative Neutral

 

V17. I believe the overall impact on the quality of work due to working with flexible workers on others is:

Positive Negative Neutral

 

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V18. I don’t believe like my success has been influenced at least by the level of work I do. No, I guess I’m always functioning at the same pace as I was when I was full-time, and I’m only working differently.
V19. You want to concentrate on one issue, because you’re much, far better concentrated on it… and often the standard of the job is far better, because you’re happy in the setting.
V20. In fact, what was worth going to? Where have I been to make an impact? Since it’s a community gathering and you just want the entire group to join. So, if you didn’t go, it might have been noticed, but honestly, what did I get out of going to that meeting? But I began to reflect on only heading to meetings where I might get something out of it or get something out of it for the business.

     iii. Team Working

V21. I believe that the overall impact of my own performance due to flexible working on the performance of teams within the organisation is:

Positive Negative Neutral

 

V22. I believe that the overall impact of on the performance of teams due to my colleague/s who works flexibly is:

Positive Negative Neutral

 

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V23. Team objectives vs. individual needs:

To maintain the team’s success, the need to discuss flexible functioning as a team remains strong and all deliverables are fulfilled. It is not only about reflecting on the team’s specific needs, but rather on the priorities and goals that they are there to accomplish.

V24. Employee cooperation in team working:

At the time, we thought like we would be able to handle the versatile team work and it really performed very well. “We all kind of had to sit down and say, “That is what was going to happen. Does anyone have any concerns?

V25. Employee cooperation in team working:

There is a conflict opportunity whereby the whole team thinks that because of their flexible working schedules, so-and-so leaves at 5, and yet we have to wait until 8 or 9 o’clock to finish this project: and then there is all the kind of friction that may emerge.

V26. Isolation in the team:

I came in at six, and I didn’t see any of my colleagues until 10.30 or 11 o’clock, and when you’re meant to be a team, it doesn’t help inspire you.

V27. Isolation in the team:

You’re not in the workplace because you’re planning a significant conference.

You sound as if you’re getting shut out. Can you think you have the reason to protest or to argue why you can shift the meeting to another date?

V28. Informal organisational response to team members working flexibly:

In general, people do, I don’t know whether it’s knowingly or subconsciously, prefer to arrange Tuesday-Thursday gatherings. There isn’t a lot of things going on Monday and Friday. I don’t know if it’s a deliberate thing, it’s just a really curious thing in reality.

V29. Team communication:

Your coordination needs to be outstanding, and you have to say just what you mean to your team: what they need to be delivered, if you can reach expectations, because they know that you’re going to be out if those things come up and how they need to be treated.

     iv. Retention and Recruitment

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V30. Retention:

The fact that I have the versatility is one of the reasons why I stick with the organisation. It encourages me to satisfy family responsibilities, whether they’re kids or my mom.

V31. Relationship between the employer and employee:

And all the meanings of the term, we have consistency because it’s one of the aspects that makes me… when you’re viewed as an adult, everybody comes here, so at the end of the day it’s what keeps people here. I don’t know if I can function in that culture, the idea that I would have to go to do a job where I have to stay in the office for eight thirty and everyone will leave at 5.45 pm in the evening. I believe I will find it really challenging.

V32. Women returning to work after maternity leave:

I assume that flexible employment is a crucial factor in returning to work following maternity leave for woman employees, as well as being appealing to potential hires to the company.

B. Indirect impact on performance

       i. Job Satisfaction

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V33. Job satisfaction:

Ok, operating the way I do, I guess I’m more happy with the role and I find like I genuinely think the work-life arrangement will not be correct for me to work any of the hours these individuals work. So, if it wasn’t right, I don’t believe I’d be so happy with the work.

V34. Job satisfaction:

I believe [my work satisfaction] has changed, and I can see that it’s permanent.

V35. Job satisfaction:

I felt it was so much an admin-based job and I found myself performing tasks that I figured my skills were woefully short of.

     ii. Organisational Commitment

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V36. Commitment towards organisation:

I have seen nothing but improved individual engagement.

Working at home, career vacations, shortened hours, compressed hours, and the myriad of forms we provide that have been provided and are actually busy.

V37. Loyalty towards organisation:

I think they’ve accommodated it, more inspired but still very thankful in certain respects. So, I think it sounds a little cheesy, but commitment to a company will be improved.

    iii. Stress

V38. I believe that the overall impact of my flexible working on my stress level is:

Positive effect Negative effect No effect

 

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V39. Work-life balance:

I assume levels of tension are down. In certain cases, I believe that

I count myself very lucky that I have a squad that has accepted the spirit in which it was meant to function flexibly.

The squad, I guess, is usually satisfied.

V40. Flexible work as a means of reducing stress:

I have a weekend buffer because, where it may be really intense on Monday morning and Thursday evening, I find it’s a perfect tension relief technique for an extra day.

V41. Flexible work as a means of reducing stress:

I think it actually caused me, even at work, only to be more coordinated. So it pushed me to prepare, and maybe making me a little bit more assertive.

V42. Flexible work as a source of stress:

I obviously think it’s very difficult to have to do what should be a full-time work three days a week.

 Appendix 2: Employee Survey Report

1. Demography

V1. I am a male  67 / female  33 / unisex. 

V2. I am in the age group of:

I am in the age group of 21- 30 – 30 31 – 40- 38 41- 50 28 51 and above

 4

 

V3. I am:

Married/living with a partner – 34 With caring responsibilities -66

 

V4. My educational qualification is:

Under graduate -43 Graduate– 34 Post graduate  and above-23

 

V5. I am associated with the organisation for the past:

1 to 2 year 28
3 to 5 years 32
6 to 10 years 23
More than 10 years 17
2. Flexible Work Arrangement

V6. I work:

Flexibly – 56 With a fixed routine – 44

 

V7. (Respondents with flexible work arrangement may answer this question please).

I have:

A formal flexible work arrangement– 26 I work with an informal flexible work arrangement – 30

 

V8. The term of my flexible work arrangement is on the basis of:

Reduced hours 14
Remote working 26
Flexi-time 37
Staggered hours 16
Compressed hours  
Term-time only 14
Statement Strongly disagree Disagree Can’t say Agree Strongly agree
V9. Flexible working:

Over all, I believe flexible working is good for the organisation and also for me.

10 25 x 43 22

 3. Direct Impact on Performance

1. Quantity of Work

V10. I believe the overall impact of workplace flexibility on the quality my own performance is:

Positive –  64 Negative –  6 Neutral – 30

 

V11. I believe the overall impact on the quantity of work due to working with flexible workers on others is:

Positive –  39 Negative -31 Neutral -30

 

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V12. Work productivity:

I think it’s smoother because I can be more concentrated, and if I work from home, I can assume the efficiency is possibly higher.

15 10 x 45 30
V13. The first time, I think I wanted to prove myself. But I held a really tight check of my hours… so I could show that I was performing at least my contract hours per week. 12 28 20 47 3
V14. I leave here usually at five… I get home with the children for baths and bedtime, but then sit down and do another two hours of work; while if I were anywhere who said “no, you can’t leave until 5.30,” then you could skip bedtime, but then you’re much less able to take up some other job afterwards. x 20 x 55 25
V15. Don’t pretend to be able to handle it by yourself, because you can’t. You have less time to do that. 11 17 x 39 33
1. Quality of Work

V16. I believe the overall impact of workplace flexibility on the quality my own performance is:

Positive – 84 Negative Neutral -16

 

V17. I believe the overall impact on the quality of work due to working with flexible workers on others is:

Positive  – 83 Negative -10 Neutral -7

 

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V18. I don’t believe like my success has been influenced at least by the level of work I do. No, I guess I’m always functioning at the same pace as I was when I was full-time, and I’m only working differently. x 30 x 70 x
V19. You want to concentrate on one issue, because you’re much, far better concentrated on it… and often the standard of the job is far better, because you’re happy in the setting. 9 10 19 41 21
V20. In reality, what was worth travelling to? Where have I been to make an impact? Since it’s a community gathering and you just want the entire group to join. So, if you didn’t go, it might have been noticed, but honestly, what did I get out of going to that meeting? But I began to reflect on only heading to meetings where I might get something out of it or get something out of it for the business. 6 30 11 34 19
 1. Team working

V21. I believe that the overall impact of my own performance due to flexible working on the performance of teams within the organisation is:

Positive – 28 Negative– 63 Neutral– 9

 

V22. I believe that the overall impact of on the performance of teams due to my colleague/s who works flexibly is:

Positive– 34 Negative– 54 Neutral-12

 

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V23. Team objectives vs. individual needs:

To maintain the team’s success, the need to discuss flexible functioning as a team remains strong and all deliverables are fulfilled. It is not only about reflecting on the team’s specific needs, but rather on the priorities and goals that they are there to accomplish.

6 15 8 36 35
V24. Employee cooperation in team working:

At the time, we thought like we would be able to handle the versatile team work and it really performed very well. “We all kind of had to sit down and say, “That is what was going to happen. Does anyone have any concerns?

5 60 20 13 2
V25. Employee cooperation in team working:

There is a conflict opportunity whereby the whole team thinks that because of their flexible working schedules, so-and-so leaves at 5, and yet we have to wait until 8 or 9 o’clock to finish this project: and then there is all the kind of friction that may emerge.

6 19 7 42 26
V26. Isolation in the team:

I came in at six, and I didn’t see any of my colleagues until 10.30 or 11 o’clock, and when you’re meant to be a team, it doesn’t help inspire you.

5 32 2 45 16
V27. Isolation in the team:

You’re not in the workplace because you’re planning a significant conference.

You sound as if you’re getting shut out. Can you think you have the reason to protest or to argue why you can shift the meeting to another date?

12 39 8 19 22
V28. Informal organisational response to team members working flexibly:

In general, people do, I don’t know whether it’s knowingly or subconsciously, prefer to arrange Tuesday-Thursday gatherings. There isn’t a lot of things going on Monday and Friday. I don’t know if it’s a deliberate thing, it’s just a really curious thing in reality.

33 22 7 34 4
V29. Team communication:

Your coordination needs to be outstanding, and you have to say just what you mean to your team: what they need to be delivered, if you can reach expectations, because they know that you’re going to be out if those things come up and how they need to be treated.

8 23 2 57 11

 1. Retention and Recruitment

Statement Strongly disagree Disagree Can’t say Agree Strongly agree
V30. Retention:

The fact that I have the versatility is one of the reasons why I stick with the company. It encourages me to satisfy family responsibilities, whether they’re kids or my mom.

24 12 13 35 16
V31. Relationship between the employer and employee:

And all the meanings of the term, we have consistency because it’s one of the aspects that makes me… when you’re viewed as an adult, everybody comes here, so at the end of the day it’s what keeps people here. I don’t know if I can function in that culture, the idea that I would have to go to do a job where I have to stay in the office for eight thirty and everyone will leave at 5.45 pm in the evening. I believe I will find it really challenging.

6 17 12 54 11
V32. Women returning to work after maternity leave:

I assume that flexible employment is a crucial factor in returning to work following maternity leave for woman employees, as well as being appealing to potential hires to the company.

7 18 17 54 4

 4. Indirect impact on performance

1. Job Satisfaction
Statement Strongly disagree Disagree Can’t say Agree Strongly agree
V33. Job satisfaction:

Ok, operating the way I do, I guess I’m more happy with the role and I find like I genuinely think the work-life arrangement will not be correct for me to work any of the hours these individuals work. So, if it wasn’t right, I don’t believe I’d be so happy with the work.

10 10 20 43 17
V34. Job satisfaction:

I believe [my work satisfaction] has changed, and I can see that it’s permanent.

2 8 16 42 32
V35. Job satisfaction:

I felt it was so much an admin-based job and I found myself performing tasks that I figured my skills were woefully short of.

19 43 15 15 8
1. Organisational Commitment

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V36. Commitment towards organisation:

I have seen nothing but increased person interaction.

Working at home, career vacations, shortened hours, compressed hours, and the myriad of forms we provide that have been provided and are actually busy.

x 20 4 48 28
V37. Loyalty towards organisation:

I think they’ve accommodated it, more inspired but still very thankful in certain respects. So, I think it sounds a little cheesy, but commitment to a company will be improved.

x 15 6 39 40
1. Stress

V38. I believe that the overall impact of my flexible working on my stress level is:

Positive effect – 81 Negative effect – 9 No effect – 10

 

Statement

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Can’t say

Agree

Strongly agree

V39. Work-life balance:

I assume levels of tension are down. In certain cases, I believe that

I count myself very lucky that I have a squad that has accepted the spirit in which it was meant to function flexibly.

The squad, I guess, is usually satisfied.

10 19 28 34 9
V40. Flexible work as a means of reducing stress:

I have a weekend buffer because, where it may be really intense on Monday morning and Thursday evening, I find it’s a perfect tension relief technique for an extra day.

23 10 32 27 8
V41. Flexible work as a means of reducing stress:

I think it actually caused me, even at work, only to be more coordinated. So it pushed me to prepare, and maybe making me a little bit more assertive.

x 31 20 29 20
V42. Flexible work as a source of stress:

I obviously think it’s very difficult to have to do what would be a full-time work three days a week.

32 38 15 10 5

Source:

  • [1]http://wfnetwork.bc.edu/glossary_entry.php?term=Human%20Capital,%20Definition(s)%20of&area=All
  • [2] The BPIR.com website was launched in April 2002. It was developed by the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER), Massey University and later formed into BPIR.com Ltd.
  • [3] Flexible Working and Performance. [Online] Working Families Available at: http://www.som.cranfield.ac.uk/som/dinamic-content/media/WF-DA%20Flex%20Working%20Report.pdf [Accessed 20 February 2011].
  • BIPR.com, 2010. Performance Management. [Online] Available at: http://www.bpir.com/performance-management-bpir.com/menu-id-72.html [Accessed 20 February 2011].
  • http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2006/09/images/8s06_tension-btwn-reliability-validity.JPG
  • [4] Correlation scale used for the study:
    • r= 0.95 and above – near perfect correlation
    • r = 0.80 and below 0.94 very strong correlation
    • r = 0.60 and below 0.79 strong correlation
    • r = 0.40 and below 0.59 moderate correlation
    • r = 0.20 and below 0.39 weak correlation
    • r = 0 and below 0.19 very weak correlation

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