W6 Assignment BA420

W6 Assignment ‘Alternate Work Arrangements’AlternateWork ArrangementsVariousalternative work arrangements exist for use in businesses and other types oforganizations; included among the options are compressed work weeks, flexiblework schedules, telecommuting, and job sharing. This case focuses onalternative work arrangements in general rather than on a particular oneexclusively; however, telecommuting does receive additional attention.Thecase revolves around the potential advantages and disadvantages that are associatedwith alternative work arrangements, and the factors that are contributing to anincreased use of various alternative work arrangements by employers. Withrespect to the various advantages and disadvantage that are identified in thecase, the positives seem to outweigh the negatives. “Organizations that offerflexible working arrangements are, and will continue to be, employers ofchoice. ¼ Employees consistently rank flexible schedules high on their list ofdesired benefits; employers who are reluctant to offer these popular perks willfind themselves falling short in the bidding wars for talent.” The caseidentifies three underlying factors that are driving the movement toward theincreased utilization of alternative work arrangements in many differentworkplaces. These factors are: (a) the needs, desires, and expectations ofworkers for greater flexibility at work; (b) fuel costs and fuel consumptionassociated with commuting, and the related carbon footprint impact; and (c) therestrictive impact of the 2008-2009 economic recession on job opportunities.Thecase concludes by pointing out that many nations have experimented successfullywith various flexible work programs and some countries have enacted legislationpromoting alternative work arrangements. It then poses the question: “Will theUnited States government and American businesses be adequately prepared to meetfuture economic challenges, at least in part, by embracing the movement towardincreasing use of alternative work arrangements?”Case Study – Alternative Work Arrangements: Possible Solutions fora Plethora of Problems?Alternativework arrangements, such as compressed work weeks, flexible work schedules,telecommuting, or job sharing, can have positive and negative consequences foremployers and employees. In general, alternative work arrangements can generatebeneficial outcomes, particularly for employers, such as “increased employeeretention, loyalty and morale; higher productivity; improved recruiting ofhighly qualified workers; decreased employee tardiness and unscheduledabsences; and maximum use of facilities and equipment.” On the employees’ side,telecommuting—one type of alternative work arrangement—has favorable effects onperceived autonomy, the resolution of work–family conflicts, job performance,job satisfaction, and the experience of stress. What is more, it does not harmperceived career prospects or the quality of workplace relationships. On thedownside, however, are the challenges associated with making these programswork for both employer and employees: handling issues regarding employeetraining, work monitoring, and performance evaluation; maintaining lines ofcommunication with bosses and coworkers; and changing the attitudes of managerswho might be uncomfortable with anything other than traditional workingarrangements.Onbalance the positives seem to outweigh the negatives. “Organizations that offerflexible working arrangements are, and will continue to be, employers ofchoice.¼ Employees consistently rank flexible schedules high on their list ofdesired benefits; employers who are reluctant to offer these popular perks willfind themselves falling short in the bidding wars for talent.”Althoughalternative work arrangements can be highly beneficial for both employers andemployees, we need to ask the question: “What seems to be the underlyingfactors that are driving the movement toward the increased utilization ofalternative work arrangements in many different workplaces?” One factorreflects the needs and desires of workers. “Many people today are seekingflexibility at work. Parents ¼ may want more time for family. Students hope tofit employment into a busy class schedule. And some people look for work afterretirement. Whatever their situation, they’re not alone in wanting a job that’sa better match for their lives.”Youngerworkers and those nearing retirement age are two particular segments of theworkforce that can be meaningfully targeted by employers offering variousalternative work arrangements. Younger workers are entering the workforce withdifferent expectations than previous generations of workers. Whereas theirparents were work-centric, most members of Generations X and Y give priority totheir personal lives; or at the very least they desire to balance their worklives and personal lives. Sharif Khan, vice-president of human resources atMicrosoft Canada, says, “Gen X and Gen Y are coming into the workplace with theexpectation that they’re going to be treated as individuals, [who] ¼ want to beable to fit their life and their work together comfortably, as opposed tofocusing on work and dealing with life after the fact.”Anotherimportant demographic group in the workforce consists of those individualsnearing retirement. “Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age. While manyBoomers may choose to stretch their retirement date based on some combinationof lifestyle choice and recent market developments, many are opting forless-demanding positions or reduced workloads.” “By 2020, 16 percent of theU.S. population will be age 65 and over, up from 12 percent in 1999. ¼ Yetleaders of many organizations ignore aging workforce issues despite thepotential problems they see coming, and some damage seems likely to occurbefore the issues receive appropriate attention.” “[T]he size of the BabyBoomer demographic group exceeds current graduating classes, and replacingtheir experience will be a challenge for most firms.”Increasingly,business and governmental organizations are adopting alternative work arrangementsfor economic reasons. For example, a May 2008 poll conducted by the Society forHuman Resource Management indicated that 18 percent of responding organizationsoffered telecommuting in order to help employees with rising fuel costs. Fourmonths later, with fuel prices continuing to soar, the percentage oforganizations offering the telecommuting option had risen to 40 percent. InOctober 2008, when gasoline prices were peaking, Ann Bednarz, writing inNetwork World, reported that “[g]as shortages in the Southeast United Statesare prompting companies to consider expanding their telework programs soemployees can conserve fuel. Other options workers are weighing include greateruse of carpools and public transit, along with alternative scheduling arrangementssuch as four-day work weeks.”Inaddition to the dramatic increase in fuel costs in the summer and autumn of2008, concerns about global warming and long commutes have fostered interest inalternative arrangements. Moreover, two recession-related factors could leadmore employees to seek out long-distance telecommuting options for at leastpart of their time on the job. First, the slow housing market limits people’sability to move to new jobs. Consequently, rather than physically commuting a longdistance for a new job, part-time, long-distance telecommuting could be anoption. Second, the weak job market that has been caused by the recessionappears to be increasing the number of commuter marriages wherein the spouseswork in different cities. Here too, part-time, long-distance telecommutingmight be a viable option.Manynations have experimented successfully with various flexible work programs; andindeed, some countries have enacted laws to make alternative work arrangementsmore accessible to employees. Although the United States has not enacted suchlegislation, the demographic and economic changes that are occurring may resultin alternative work arrangements laws that “could play an important role inpreparing the U.S. economy for the future.”Willthe U.S. government and American businesses be adequately prepared to meetfuture economic challenges, at least in part, by embracing the movement towardincreasing use of alternative work arrangements?Thiscase was written by Michael K. McCuddy, The Louis S. and Mary L. Morgal Chairof Christian Business Ethics and Professor of Management, College of BusinessAdministration, Valparaiso University.Write a 2- 3 page paper.  In your paperdiscuss the following questions with concepts from the course:1. How can employees benefit from alternative work arrangements? Why?2. What are some of the possible negative outcomes for employersand/or employees regarding alternative work arrangements? Please explain youranswer.3. What types of factors are influencing organizations to considerusing alternative work arrangements? Explain how alternative work arrangementscan address the problems/issues that are raised by these factors.4. Should the availability of alternative work arrangements toemployees in the United States be mandated by law? Why or why not?Includea title page and 3-5 references.  Only one reference may be fromthe internet (not Wikipedia). The other references must be fromthe Grantham University online library.  Please adhere to the Publication Manualof the American Psychological Association (APA), (6th ed., 2nd printing)when writing and submitting assignments and papers.

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