Workplace flexibility has become a popular perk in recent years as more and more employees want control over their schedules and seek a greater work-life balance. But just how much leeway can employers offer in this domain?

Last week, Victoria-based employer RingPartner Inc. received some attention for its five-hour workday policy. Besides working five hours in the office, the digital marketing agency’s staff can choose when and where they want to work the rest of the day.

Read: B.C. company bests flexible working with five-hour workday

Employees, in general, value workplace flexibility, according to a recent survey by online service FlexJobs. It found 73 per cent of respondents consider flexible working the most important factor when considering a job, and 32 per cent left a job because their employer didn’t accommodate it. More than three-quarters (79 per cent) said they’d be more loyal to their employer if they offered the option.

RingPartner rolled out its five-hour workday policy to compete for talent with other businesses as a small employer, noted vice-president of client operations Sarah Gulbrandsen.

In fact, medium-sized employers should consider using flexibility to gain an edge over large employers that can typically offer better compensation and benefits, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit report published in July.

Read: Mid-size employers urged to embrace flexibility, lack of hierarchy to attract staff

In regards to how employers can offer flexibility, it’s typical for many to allow staff to work from home one or two days a week. And while RingPartner’s policy offers another way for employers to accommodate employees, is that model realistic? That’s the question in this week’s online poll.

Does a five-hour workday strike the right balance between employees working in the office for a set period every day and then having the freedom to structure the rest of their workday? Or does this framework make it hard for businesses to function because employers would have to grapple with overseeing employees who work variable hours and locations? Have your say in this week’s poll.

Read: Workers would take pay cut, reduced vacation to work flexibly: survey

Last week, Benefits Canada looked at whether Alberta’s dental fees are too high after the province’s health minister found the dental fee guide unacceptable and announced further discussions with Alberta’s dental college and association. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said Alberta’s dental fees are too high and should be in line with other provinces, while 33 per cent disagreed and said the province’s dental industry should be able to determine what it deems suitable regardless of other provinces’ guides.

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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