More flexibility, better results? Issues in R&D work efficiency

  • Marko Virkebau
  • Aaro Hazak
  • Kadri Männasoo


Flexible working time and teleworking have provided grounds for debate among employers, employees, researchers and HR experts. With our study among 153 Estonian creative R&D employees we seek to better understand what the links are between flexible work arrangements and creative work results. We find that flexibility in choosing to work fully or at least partially from home or elsewhere outside the office has a positive effect on the employee’s satisfaction with his/her work results. In regard to working time arrangements, we find that men as well as those with a better education have much better chances of getting jobs that offer flexitime. This in turn has implications for the work outcome, as positions that include flexible working time options are filled by a certain type of employee. Another result from our research is that clearly evening and clearly morning types of people – “owls” and “larks” – are in general more satisfied with their creative work results. This may be due to part of their creative work being done outside normal office hours, providing a potentially less stressful work environment. Overall, employers should consider providing employees more flexibility in the timing and place of work in order to facilitate improved work results – at least in creative R&D jobs.


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