The blended workforce of full-time, part-time, and contingent workers is on the rise. Here’s how employers can nurture and support them.
Say goodbye to the era of full-time employees who work 9 to 5 and hello to the blended workforce.
Not sure what a “blended workforce” is? We’ll help clarify.
A blended workforce is comprised of people who work in different locations with varying schedules – full-time, part-time and contingent workers (like consultants, freelancers, and contractors).
And this blended workforce is on the rise due to the increase of contingent workers. In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office notes that more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce is now employed on a contingent basis. This means that businesses now need to adapt to this diverse workforce – which isn’t always easy.
“The challenge for employers today is to merge the efforts of full-time, part-time, and contingent workers into a cohesive ‘blended workforce’ that achieves maximum productivity,” notes PNC Financial Services. “The trend of hiring contingent workers is expected to increase, so making the blended workforce effective is a critical factor for success.”
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So, how can employers nurture and support this workforce?
Flexible Work Arrangements
As the workforce changes, so are the needs of employees. What do they want most? Flexibility.
In fact, a FlexJobs survey found that people want the following in a job:
- Telecommuting all of the time (79%)
- Alternative or flexible schedule (47%)
- Telecommuting part of the time (44%)
- Part-time schedule (45%)
- Freelance (39%)
And when you think about our new “blended” workforce – these findings aren’t surprising. Employees who work part-time or on a contingent basis often do so voluntarily because they need the flexibility – for both personal and professional reasons.
For example, some employees may want to go back to school to get their MBA, but don’t necessarily want to lose their job or means of income. In this case, the employee may move into a part-time role.
In other cases, a new parent may want to spend quality time with their newborn without sacrificing their commitment to work. In this case, telecommuting may make sense.
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And flexible schedules don’t just benefit the employee. They benefit employers, too.
“Flexible work arrangements can improve recruitment and retention efforts, augment organizational diversity efforts, encourage ethical behavior, and help the organization’s efforts to be socially responsible,” note the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).
The Blended Workforce, Powered by Mobile
Worried that the mix of a blended workforce with flexible schedules is a recipe for low productivity? Fret not.
In fact, over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among their telecommuters, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com. And this productivity can be attributed to advances in technology and workplace applications.
Things like chat and video conferencing – in addition to best-in-class mobile enterprise apps – have made it easier for team members to stay connected, despite different schedules, time zones, and locations.
“Enterprises are collaborating more globally, and with more diverse and global staff,” notes Deloitte. “Employees can now work all over the world, from the jungle to the arctic, as long as they have reliable Internet.”