APA Center for Organizational Excellence: Best Practice Honoree

The Awards

A Novel Approach to Flexibility

Minnesota – As the largest, most comprehensive literary arts center in the country, The Loft Literary Center provides cutting-edge resources for writers and readers at all levels. This non-profit organization has offered its members evening and weekend programming for more than 30 years and with more than 100 after-hour events on the calendar every month, the demands on staff can be high. The Loft’s culture of trust, respect and flexibility enables employees to design their own schedules, so they can fulfill the organization’s mission without burning out.

In 1993, with full support from the organization’s board, the Loft introduced employees to flexible scheduling and telecommuting. Working independent of a time clock gives
Loft employees the power to balance tough schedules with life demands and lead happy, fulfilling lives. Flexibility at the Loft means employees can work a three-, four- or five-day work week and decide when to be in the office, when to telecommute and when to be “off the clock” to take care of personal and family needs.

Employees who choose to take advantage of the telecommuting policy can depend on the Loft to outfit them with the technology necessary for full access to resources and co-workers. To ensure a cohesive work environment, telecommuters routinely come to the office in-person and supervisors check in with employees who work alternative schedules. When they need to work a different schedule, employees inform supervisors via email.

Flexibility at the Loft facilitates better work-life balance, and with feedback from employees, the organization’s programs and policies only get better. In an environment where management demonstrates trust and care for well-being, employees show fewer signs of physical and emotional burnout, as well as lower stress levels and higher morale.

By adopting policies and providing resources for flexibility, the Loft has increased staff participation and retained valuable employees, preserving institutional knowledge and reducing turnover costs. The Loft credits its employees’ ability to design and manage their own work schedules for building an outcome-based mentality that promotes creative solutions, higher productivity and a more cost-effective workforce. For Loft employees, that’s flexibility that works.

"We have worked to create a culture that supports the nature and goals of our business. As importantly, we communicate our culture to associates, clients and prospects through many channels every day. This helps us align people with the goals of our business, and has contributed to our success with employee satisfaction and with company growth and profits."

Will Ruch
CEO and Managing Partner
Versant