New Work Styles that Actually Work

Going to work usually means a commute to the office and sitting at a desk from 9 to 5 every weekday — but now more than ever, you have choices when it comes to where and when you work.

Smart companies are helping their employees create a healthier work/life blend with these four increasingly available options:

1. Flexible Work Arrangements

A position with flexibility built in can help you blend your work life with your personal life and other pursuits, whether that’s caring for your kids or playing with your band. Flexible work schedules might include working partly from home, working part-time or compressing your work week into four 10-hour days with three-day weekends.

It sounds nice, right? It’s also pretty common. Consider that 80% of the companies recently surveyed by WorldatWork, a nonprofit human resources association, report that they offer some sort of flexible work arrangements to their employees.

2. Remote Working

Working in an office isn’t necessarily a requirement anymore. The number of people working remotely in the U.S. has increased by 103% since 2005, with now more than 3.7 million Americans working from home, at least part time.

Amanda Powers Harris works for KCD PR, a San Diego-based PR firm, from her home in South Carolina. She communicates with her team by phone or via Skype, and spends a week each quarter in the California office. “I’m very internally motivated, so for me it’s worked out great,” she says. “I think I’ve become more productive since I started working from home.”

3. Coworking Spaces

If you do work remotely, freelance or run a small business, coworking spaces can offer you an opportunity to join a larger, and oftentimes, like-minded community. Companies like WeWork have launched spaces in big cities across the U.S. where you can rent desks and office space.

Coworking is even taking off in smaller towns. Zilaida Salgueiro, founder of Locals Compass, a website that connects travelers with experienced locals who provide personalized itineraries, moved to Bend, Oregon in 2016 from the Bay Area. She immediately rented a desk at a local coworking space. “I know myself well enough to know that I’m more productive when I get out of the house,” she explains. “It’s also great to have a community of people to bounce ideas off, even if we don’t work at the same place.”

4. Innovative Office Design

Some companies are updating how their offices are designed to improve how people work. These “flexible” office spaces may combine open floor plans to encourage communication and spontaneous interaction along with private nooks for quiet work time.

Employers are realizing that office design can help influence company culture — and business success. Harvard Business Review profiled a pharmaceutical company who noticed that the more their sales reps spoke with their coworkers from other departments, the more they sold. So the company put in several large coffee areas and a cafeteria to facilitate interaction — and witnessed sales rise 20% as a result.

Interested in pursuing a new way to work? Before you start a new job search or break out on your own, find out if any of these options are available in your current role by speaking with your manager or HR representative.

At MetLife, we’re for the workforce. Find more insights on company culture and other workplace trends here.