The Office of Human Resources Management in New York developed a programme offering staff four options for flexible working arrangements:
Aimed to assist staff in reconciling work and families responsibilities, the four options were offered to staff using the following guiding principles:
managers and staff were encouraged to rethink the manner in which the work is currently performed and how it could be done in different and better ways for all concerned using flexible working arrangements
no right or entitlement to flexible working arrangements – the Organization's interests are paramount
authorizing arrangements taking into account the needs of the service including the needs of the clients or users as well as the needs of the staff members
productivity and outputs must remained at the same level or enhanced; no extra costs may be incurred to the Organization
In the June 2004 report on implementation of the Flexible Working Arrangements in the United Nations Secretariat, reported impact in the introduction of the flexible working arrangements includes:
Productivity, quality and quantity of outputs. Departments/Offices have reported no loss of productivity in implementing the flexible working arrangements. Both staff and managers have managed their work better and on the contrary some managers have found that implementation of these arrangements have resulted in an increase of outputs produced. The quality of the work and the services rendered were not affected and operational activities were not disrupted.
Absenteeism, overtime and incidence of sick leave. The rate of sick leave reported by staff using flexible working arrangements is considerably lower than that of others who work traditional hours. In addition, the implementation of flexible working arrangements has proved effective in reducing overtime costs as the amount of overtime reported by staff who avail themselves of option 1 staggered working hours and/or option 2 compressed work schedule (10 in 9) is significantly lower than when these same staff worked on a traditional work schedule. Some managers have noted an increase in punctuality for staff members who participate, as well as a decrease in absenteeism.
Management. Several Departments/Offices have reported that implementation of the flexible working arrangements has promoted efficient time management by the managers and enhanced communication across and within work units, as well as constituting an invitation to further innovate in the way work is currently being carried out to allow for more staff to participate. Many Departments/Offices have emphasized the need for back-up mechanisms to be put in place to ensure continuity of service while implementing these arrangements.
Client-service. The flexibility offered by the option 1 staggered working hours has allowed work units to have the resources available as and when work flows in. The majority of Departments and offices reported that the implementation of the flexible working arrangements resulted in enhanced client service as it has allowed for coverage in the work unit from early morning to late evening. In some work units, the starting dates for the option 2 compressed work schedule were staggered among groups organized by work team and function to ensure continuous coverage.
Staff morale. The introduction of flexible working arrangements was met with great enthusiasm and interest by staff at large. The arrangements have proven to be popular with both staff and managers in many Departments/Offices. A large number of participants and supervisors believe that the implementation of Option 2 compressed work schedule has been a good morale booster. The general perception of most staff regarding the arrangements is that it increases their output. In addition, there is a feeling that an effort is made by management to recognize their hard work and the degree of flexibility is appreciated. Departments /Offices also reported that the introduction and continued implementation of this initiative has helped to instill a higher sense of loyalty from departmental staff, and that staff continue to appreciate the support given to them in balancing professional and personal commitments.