Allison Greenwald, senior product manager at The Alley Group, spent five weeks in Alaska on a flexible schedule.

Thanks to: Allison Greenwald

Millions of Americans are quitting their jobs and rethinking what they want when it comes to work-life balance. Companies are responding to this and meeting the needs of their employees in areas such as remote working, flexible hours, four-day work weeks, compensation and more. This story is part of a series that looks at the “Great Reshuffle” and the shift in workplace culture that’s happening right now.

Allison Greenwald has one perk that many Americans crave: flexibility.

As a senior product manager at information technology and services company Alley, she can use her remote job to do other things that may arise in her life, from grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments to sports and travel.

While the company does not set hours, each team determines when to meet. For Greenwald, that means logging in for a daily 15-minute check-in at 11 a.m. Eastern Time and some afternoon meetings. She does the rest when it suits her.

“I’ve had some really incredible things to do,” says Greenwald, who is 29 and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

“You don’t have to be in the same place every week.”

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So far, the highlight of her time at Alley, which she joined last May, was a five-week trip to Homer, Alaska, in August. During the weekday afternoons, she spent much of her free time hiking and exploring the area. On the weekends, she traveled to different parts of the state to take group walks.

Since then she has also spent time in Austin, Las Vegas and Utah. She also visits Vermont regularly.

“I’ve been taking winter walks, from 8 to 11, before the day starts,” she said. “I took long afternoon walks.”

But the flexibility doesn’t mean that employees are slacking. The work is done.

“We have small tight-knit teams and so if something isn’t done, you’re letting yourself down, you’re failing your team, and you’re failing the company,” explains Greenwald.

“It’s a very effective system.”

Alley, which has about 74 employees, has had a remote policy since its inception more than a decade ago. The general philosophy is that employees are adults and can self-manage, said Bridget McNulty, partner and chief operating officer at the company.

“It comes down to trust,” she says. “We trust the people we hire to join our team.

“There is a mutual agreement to work together and we take that very seriously.”

Flexibility is a sought-after perk for employees in this era of the “great layoff,” also known as the “great reshuffle.”

According to Bankrate’s 2022 Job Seeker Survey, 55% of US adults say the ability to work from home or have a more flexible schedule is more important to them than it was before the pandemic. In comparison, 52% said higher wages were more important. The survey surveyed nearly 2,500 adults, of whom 1,416 were employed or looking for a job.

Flexibility can also benefit employers

Allison Greenwald, senior product manager at The Alley Group, spent five weeks in Alaska on a flexible schedule.

Thanks to: Allison Greenwald

The trend is also visible in other studies. In LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends, 64% of job seekers named work-life balance a top priority when choosing a new job. Meanwhile, 60% mentioned fees and benefits.

This is driving a shift in corporate culture, with more and more companies offering flexible work arrangements and investing in the well-being of their employees.

“While it’s true that employees benefit greatly from flexible schedules, savvy employers know that offering flexible schedules also benefits them,” said Brie Reynolds, career services manager and career coach at FlexJobs.

“Flexible schedules can improve retention, attract top talent, increase productivity, increase employee engagement, and more.”

Greenwald doesn’t rule out returning to an office environment one day, but she doesn’t want to give up the flexibility, which she says is good for her well-being.

“I don’t worry about running errands or running to the grocery store between meetings,” she said.

“In an office environment, or rather an environment where there was less confidence, I think I would feel very anxious doing all those things.”

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