ALEXANDRIA, VA—We’ve been focusing a lot on the flexible workplace this week—and with good reason. The 2012 National Study of Employers just came out and it’s revealing an increase in employers that offer flex time. Virtual offices fit clearly into this picture.

Published jointly by the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resources (SHRM), the survey shows that significantly more employers are allowing at least some employees to get flexible. Virtual offices are finding their place in the flex time work trend.

"It seems that employers are dealing with the lingering economic instability by trying to accomplish more with fewer people,” says Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of FWI and an author of the study. “Most of the gains allow employees to work longer hours or adjust those hours to care for their personal and family responsibilities while getting their work done. Although some may have expected employers to cut back on flexibility entirely during this economic downturn, we are seeing employers leverage flexibility as they look toward the future."

  • 77% use flex time and periodically change starting and quitting times within some range of hours

  • 87% take time off during the workday to attend to important family or personal needs without loss of pay

  • 63% work some of their regular paid hours at home on an occasional basis

  • 44% have control over their paid and unpaid overtime hours


"Employers continue to find ways to offer flexibility to their employees, despite economic challenges they may face," says Henry Jackson, president and CEO of SHRM. "As we look ahead, it is clear that in order to remain competitive, employers must find ways to offer flexible work options if they want to attract and retain top talent.”

Virtual offices are helping to forward the flextime work trend in several ways. Virtual offices allow for workshifting, making room for those 77 percent of workers to "use flex time and periodically change starting and quitting times within some range of hours." Virtual offices also make it possible for those 63 percent to "work some of their regular paid hours at home on an occasional basis." Flexible work and virtual offices aren’t always paired, but they are often a good match, especially for companies exploring cost-effective alternative workplace strategies.