By Lisa Horn (@SHRMLobbystLisa), co-leader, SHRM Workplace Flexibility Initiative

It’s that time again when we make our resolutions for the New Year – resolutions that we may or may not keep, of course, but that we make nonetheless. As we turn the corner into 2013, here’s a resolution HR professionals should make (and keep!) for their organization: BE FLEXIBLE!

The 21st century workplace and workforce demand that organizations think about work differently.  Work, for example, is no longer someplace we go, but tasks we complete from home, the airport, or the Little League bleachers.  Work means delivering results for customers and clients, not sitting in a cubicle after the work is completed for no reason other than not wanting to be the first to leave.

The Building Construction Products Division of Caterpillar Inc., with 95 employees based in Cary, N.C., is a Sloan Award-winning worksite that focuses on results.  Here, the leadership realizes that flexibility is not only a necessity for employees to manage their personal and professional issues, but it also helps the company attract new talent, ensuring that the company remains competitive in its field.  Caterpillar Inc. focuses on results, rather than hours worked, so employees understand that as long as they get their work done, supervisors are able to support flexible work schedules without questions.

All 362 recipients of the 2012 Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility are excellent examples of organizations that have figured out how to make work “work” for both the employer and employees.  Whether they are well-known large firms, or medium or small organizations known primarily in their own communities, they embrace workplace flexibility as a business strategy.

So whether you are wondering how to make workflex a reality for your organization in the coming year or whether your company already utilizes innovative flex strategies, resolve in 2013 to get involved with When Work Works, a joint project of the Society for Human Resource Management and Families and Work Institute.

This national workplace flexibility initiative brings cutting-edge resources, research, and best practices uncovered through the Sloan Award to HR professionals and business leaders across the country via a network of community partners.  When Work Works will be rolling into 15 target states in 2013 –Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington – and continuing in California. Keep an eye out for a program near you!

Applications for the 2013 Sloan Award open on Jan. 14, providing you an opportunity to either showcase your organization’s flexible work environment or learn how your worksite stacks up against other employers. Apply online at www.whenworkworks.org.

Don’t let this resolution end up like that gym membership – unused! Flexible work is the future of work.  Your organization’s ability to compete may just depend on it.

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