Effects of a Flexibility/Support Intervention on Work Performance
PURPOSE: To estimate the effects of a workplace initiative to reduce work-family conflict on employee performance.
DESIGN: A group-randomized multisite controlled experimental study with longitudinal follow-up.
SETTING: An information technology firm.
PARTICIPANTS: Employees randomized to the intervention (n = 348) and control condition (n = 345).
INTERVENTION: An intervention, "Start. Transform. Achieve. Results." to enhance employees' control over their work time, to increase supervisors' support for this change, and to increase employees' and supervisors' focus on results.
METHODS: We estimated the effect of the intervention on 9 self-reported employee performance measures using a difference-in-differences approach with generalized linear mixed models. Performance measures included actual and expected hours worked, absenteeism, and presenteeism.
RESULTS: This study found little evidence that an intervention targeting work-family conflict affected employee performance. The only significant effect of the intervention was an approximately 1-hour reduction in expected work hours. After Bonferroni correction, the intervention effect is marginally insignificant at 6 months and marginally significant at 12 and 18 months.
CONCLUSION: The intervention reduced expected working time by 1 hour per week; effects on most other employee self-reported performance measures were statistically insignificant. When coupled with the other positive wellness and firm outcomes, this intervention may be useful for improving employee perceptions of increased access to personal time or personal wellness without sacrificing performance. The null effects on performance provide countervailing evidence to recent negative press on work-family and flex work initiatives.