While work flexibility has seen a substantial increase over the last ten years, it’s really employers’ perceptions that have truly evolved.

In the video, “Workplace Flexibility and the Future of Work,” Genevieve Douglas interviews Ray Baumruk, employee research leader at Aon Hewitt, for Bloomberg BNA’s Human Resources Report about workplace flexibility.

Here are some of the major takeaways from the interview.

Work flex isn’t just for working mothers.

Baumruk believes that in the past, work flex was focused on families, and in particular, working mothers. That is no longer the case, though. “It really is just about making sure that people can be most productive whenever, wherever, and however they want to see it,” says Baumruk. “Technology has obviously given us that opportunity.” Rather than being focused on a particular segment of the workforce needing flex, it’s more about workers being able to be their most creative, most productive, while still meeting the needs of the customers.

There’s no one type of person who works well from home.

To work from home, there are certain soft skills that remote workers need. For example, being a good communicator, problem-solver, and being able to use the technological tools necessary for the job are all key components of a successful remote worker. But Baumruk claims that while there are some characteristics that lend themselves to remote work, almost anyone can telecommute—and do it well. Says Baumruk: “We’ve actually seen throughout the research and even in experience with our clients that some people who they thought there’s no way that they can do it—either they’re easily distracted, or they have to work with other individuals, so how could they possibly be separate—that have worked wonderfully.” He believes that some characteristics that used to be barriers can now be “enabling,” since technology like videoconferencing allows remote workers to stay connected, no matter what their location is.

Hiring workers with disabilities for remote jobs makes good business sense.

For workers with disabilities, getting to and from work can be difficult, if not entirely impossible. And yet, through advancements in technology, these same workers can do great work—but from home offices that don’t require commuting into an office every day. When employers focus on results, Baumruk claims, workers with disabilities “can contribute just as well.” Employers will first need to see what the laws are, “but for most employers, if they’re really looking for productivity and results,

[people with disabilities can have] all sorts of creative and great ways to contribute to the bottom line.”

Readers, does your company have a flexible work policy in place? Have you seen positive results? Let us know in the comments below!

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