Workplace flexibility can provide businesses with greater coverage, especially in a global economy. Several reports indicate that firms offering flexible work arrangement can then achieve greater flexibility in deploying staff such as an ability to offer extended hours of business to customers. (93)
"At Deloitte, the firm surveyed business managers to assess client satisfaction with the service provided by employees on flexible work arrangements. Only 1% of managers thought clients were dissatisfied; 84% assessed clients as being satisfied or very satisfied. Deloitte managers reported that flexible work arrangements are an asset in meeting business objectives—except in winning business, in which case flexibility was judged to have a neutral effect." (24)
At a largest search site firm in Texas, the company posted 25 consecutive years of growth and a 50% revenue increase over the last two years. "Client retention drives our success," [a spokesperson] said, and the company builds that customer loyalty by giving employees a great workplace&mdash'the very best in the entire state, according to Texas Monthly. Flexibility is one of the firm's pillars. "We treat our team members beautifully," he explained, and they treat their clients the same way. "In a service business, that's what it's all about." (34)
A recent WorldatWork survey (2010) found that 41% of employees who are involved in telecommuting or other remote work provide their services at the customer/clients' place of business. (92)
In a Canadian study involving 2,200 smaller businesses (with less than 100 employees), The Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being found that supporting flexible work arrangements enhanced customer service at small businesses. (29) For example, the owner of an 18-employee professional services business summed up the benefits to him as follows:
"When employees have got the flexibility to support their family, they're much better at their job and they have a much more fulfilling life, and happy employees mean happy clients."
An Australian report into the retail sector suggests that work-life balance policies are important for front-line service staff—if employees are stressed or worried about family issues, this can spill-over into their interactions with customers or clients. Disgruntled employees can also sabotage customer relations. (91)