Are you looking for a flexible job? Whether you want more flexibility to take care of children or parents, pursue a new career, tend to a health issue, or engage in a serious hobby, today it seems that just about everyone desires a work schedule that is more in their control. Furthermore, research shows that flexible arrangements benefit both the employee as well as the employer. What’s not to love about flexibility?
More than ten years ago when I had my first child, flexible jobs were not really a thing. Sure, they existed at a few organizations, but you couldn’t really “search” for such positions. Rather you had to have worked for a company for several years and already proved your worth. Then, and only then, could request a flexible schedule. If powers that be were forward-thinking in terms of supporting such arrangements, you just might be granted your wish. Otherwise, you were out of luck.
Fast forward a decade later, and the flexible work movement has taken off. Thanks to technological advances and a rapidly changing work world, today there are many more flexible job opportunities as well as ways to find them. Finally job seekers can say they are actually “searching” for flexible work and have helpful resources at their disposal to aid in such pursuits.
Finding Flexible Work Today
Over the next few months, I will be highlighting different methods for identifying opportunities and securing flexible work in a new blog series, Finding Flexible Work Today. I will plan to update this series each year, as resources tend to change frequently.
To kick off the Finding Flexible Work Today series, this first post highlights best company lists for flexible jobs. Now and then we hear about some of the organizations that authentically value flexible work environments, have policies and people in place to support these arrangements, and actually put them into practice. Who are these trailblazing companies and where can we find them?
Who Really Supports Flexible Work?
Many of these organizations are recognized and included in best company lists. Below are the most up-to-date lists focusing specifically on flexible work (and sometimes other benefits as well) that I am aware of, but please let me know if I have missed any. Keep in mind that although an organization may be included on one of these lists, it is still beneficial to conduct further research. Find out what current employees are saying about a particular employer. Pay close attention during the interview process and ask questions that shed light on flexibility policies and the culture at the company. (More on these methods in upcoming blog posts).
Although the organization may have supportive programs in place, actual implementation may depend on your specific manager, and how he/she feels about such practices. Over the years, I’ve heard more than one client say to me, “I’ve worked at that company, and I did not find it to be flexible or supportive!” Nevertheless, best company lists are a great place to start to learn about who is implementing flexible work arrangements in at least some areas of their organizations.
Lists of Best Companies for Flexible Work
FlexJobs has created a comprehensive list of top companies offering flexible positions (i.e., telecommuting, part-time, flextime, and freelance), which is based on their experience working with and researching more than 40,000 companies since 2013. You can peruse the top 100 companies or filter by field, Fortune 500 companies, type of flex, or state. Each company profile includes an overview, selected success stories, and blog posts that FlexJobs staff members or guest experts have written.
In addition, FlexJobs puts together an annual list of companies that posted the most remote jobs during the previous year, and the 2017 list was recently released in January: The FlexJobs 2017 100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs. “Remote friendly” on this list means the positions include at least some type of remote work and sometimes are 100% work-from-home roles. This list is slightly different from the “remote jobs” filter list resulting from the resource above; the recent 2017 remote jobs list includes the most recent stats for the past year.
When Work Works is “a nationwide initiative which brings research on workplace effectiveness and flexibility into community and business practice. It is a project of Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).” The When Work Works (WWW) Award has been given out since 2005 and “honors organizations that are using workplace flexibility as a strategy to make work “work” better—for both the employer and the employee.” The application process consists of companies submitting details about their workplace practices and policies, and a second part in which employees complete surveys about their experiences with such programs. The list of winning companies will be updated on April 28.
Fortune and Great Place to Work created Fortune’s first ever flexibility list in 2016 (see below for more information about Great Place to Work*). The top 50 companies were chosen from a survey of 209,000 employees working at Great Place to Work’s certified organizations. These workers were asked not only about job sharing, telecommuting, compressed work weeks, flexible scheduling, and phased retirement opportunities, but also if their workplace cultures support such arrangements. The list provides profiles of the top companies, including a basic overview and the types of flexibility offered. You can also view a more extensive profile via a link to the Great Place to Work website.
Note that Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work for 2017 was also just released March 9. Readers can filter results of the top 100 organizations by flexible arrangements, particularly telecommuting, job sharing, and compressed work weeks.
Fortune and Great Place to Work created this list of the top 50 workplaces for parents, which again was derived from surveying employees working at Great Place to Work’s certified companies. To create this particular list, the workers were asked about company policies that support their personal lives, flexible work arrangements, and professional development and advancement opportunities. This list will be updated in November 2017.
Working Mother has been compiling their list of 100 best companies since 1985. Companies can apply for a spot by completing a 400-question survey focusing on parental leave policies, flexibility policies and their use (men vs. women), childcare services, caregiving support, eldercare services, lactation support, health and wellness services, manager training and accountability, advancement and retention programs, representation of women employees, and promotion rates of women. The researchers considered not only the availability of programs and policies but also the usage and accountability of managers who oversee them. This list is typically updated in October of each year.
Although Working Mother’s list is not specifically about just flexibility, you can view this handy chart for more specifics regarding the top 100 companies’ family friendly policies. Three of the indicators included are the percentage of employees who use flextime, percentage of employees who telecommute, and whether they train their managers to implement and manage employee flexible work arrangements.
Working Mother also puts together other best lists, including:
- The 2017 NAFE Top 60 Companies for Executive Women
- The 2017 NAFE Top 10 Nonprofit Companies for Executive Women
- The 2016 Working Mother & Flex-Time Lawyers 50 Best Law Firms for Women
- The 2016 Best Companies for Multicultural Women
It is worth noting a major difference among these lists: Fortune/Great Place to Work’s surveys collect information directly from employees about company policies and their experiences. On the other hand, FlexJobs and Working Mother’s lists are based on information and data submitted by the company, and When Work Works is a combination of the two. Could there be dissimilar results between among these varying perspectives? Perhaps, which means it would be beneficial to investigate all these lists and compare their reports.
*More on Great Place to Work®: Great Place to Work (GPW) is “the global authority on building, sustaining, and recognizing high-trust, high-performing workplace cultures.” GPW has created a Trust Index Employee Survey, which is taken by millions of employees worldwide. Results are used to create more than 20 Best Workplace lists in partnership with Fortune. Employers can also enroll in GPW’s certification program, which allows them to automatically be considered for a place on the best company lists. See the website for more on their latest lists.
Readers, have you had any experiences with these “best companies” for flexible work? Please share in the comments below!
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