The Worklife/Progression Trade-Off: How Flexible Work Arrangements Relate to Job Satisfaction and Career Success
This study examines flexible working arrangements (FWAs) and work-life balance and how these relate to employees’ job satisfaction and career progression in New Zealand. This thesis investigates teleworking, flexi-time, part-time employment, and job sharing. Research suggests FWA positively impacts both employees and organisations (Thompson, Payne, & Taylor, 2015; Casper & Harris, 2008). Other studies show compelling evidence of the impact that flexible working arrangements have on employee engagement and attraction to the job and its significance on organisational performance (Dineen & Allen, 2016). As Thompson, Payne, and Taylor (2015) state, to be an employer of choice, the ability to offer flexible working arrangements is central to attracting job seekers who are in a position to choose. However, as well as benefits, we found that some negatives come with flexibility and remote work, based primarily around isolation, visibility, and promotion opportunities (Cooper & Kurland, 2002; Cohen & Single, 2001). By drawing on the available research and official statistics and exploring individuals' work experiences through interviews, the study analysed the positive and negative sides of flexible working arrangements. Twelve people were interviewed for this study. Face-to-face interviews were conducted using semi-structured questions. This study is qualitative and analysed through a thematic method using NVivo software. Interviews were transcribed, and data was analysed through thematic analysis. Analysing the data produced themes to answer the research questions: RQ1. In what context, by what means does the use of flexible work arrangements improve the well-being of employees? RQ2. What are the sacrifices and downsides for New Zealand employees in terms of visibility and career progression when using flexible work arrangements? The findings indicate that flexible working arrangements are associated with work-life balance. Work-life balance is also a vital intermediary which helps employees balance their work and personal commitments and this correlates to employees’ job satisfaction. Most studies leave out the aspect of employees’ input and independence in flexible working arrangements. This study will fill a knowledge gap and provide a rare local source for many New Zealand organisations. The findings can also act as a trigger for future research opportunities.