Workplace flexibility is essential in every organization wishing to improve engagement and retention. In fact, it is so important that Fortune has assembled for the first time a list of the best workplaces for flexibility. To even be considered for Fortune’s new 50 Best Workplaces for Flexibility list, you must offer “supportive programs and policies—and have created cultures where team members make great use of them because their leaders implicitly trust their people to do so.” Companies are evaluated based on “whether sufficient communication, leadership, and a level playing field are in place to ensure people who take advantage of this flexibility can be successful and contribute fully at work.” Additionally, companies are measured on the availability of:

  • Telecommuting
  • Flextime
  • Compressed workweeks
  • Job sharing
  • Phased retirement programs

From the list, I have selected four companies whose approaches to workplace flexibility can be modeled by business leaders who want to effectively capture this key strategy.

ONTRAPORT: We Focus on Results, Not Hours Worked

“We are trusted to taking unlimited PTO [paid time off] as long as we get our work done and make sure our department is moving forward!”

As a smaller company with only 106 team members, it can be challenging to make flexibility a priority when every person is essential. But ONTRAPORT, a business automation platform, developed a culture from the start in which people were empowered. In addition to offering health and wellness benefits, including 100-percent company-paid insurance, ONTRAPORT offers team members unlimited PTO, focusing on results rather than hours spent in the office. Read more about why ONTRAPORT was 16 on Fortune’s list.

[Tweet “For better engagement and retention, develop a culture where people are empowered.”]

HubSpot: We Trust Our People

“It’s amazing feeling like people value your personal life and realize we are people with other interests outside of work, not machines designed to make money.”

HubSpot, an inbound marketing software platform, focuses on creating a collaborative culture. They are considered one of the most difficult companies with whom to interview. They communicate openly about their culture, and have a “show, don’t tell” attitude. In return for their high expectations, they provide their team members with complete autonomy to design their workday as they see fit – including unlimited vacation time and paid sabbaticals. Read more about why HubSpot was 18 on Fortune’s list.

Ryan: We Value Work-Life Balance

“Ryan is very unique because of the MyRyan policy. The policy gives us the freedom that we deserve, no more working set hours.”

Ryan, a global tax services firm based in Texas, garnered the top position on the inaugural Fortune list . How did they achieve the number-one spot? By offering unlimited flexibility using what they call the MyRyan policy. Team members can work from home, from different Ryan offices, or in any way that fosters work-life balance. They offer tuition reimbursement, adoption assistance, and even paid time to volunteer. Learn more about why Ryan was number one on Fortune’s list.

[Tweet “Show your team members you value them by giving them autonomy and trust.”]

American Global Logistics: We Help Our Team Members Thrive

“No one hovers over your shoulder. They treat this job as a part of the human being as a whole.”

American Global Logistics offers ongoing development for their team members, to help them achieve their goals. They have a culture in which appreciation for team members is expressed regularly, and they communicate that appreciation in a number of ways. They provide a number of flexible options, including telecommuting, job sharing, and flexible scheduling. Learn more about why American Global Logistics was 48 on Fortune’s list.

Any company can do what these Fortune “bests” are doing. It starts with trust. You have to trust your team members to do their jobs – and if you don’t, why are they there?

In my experience, it takes leadership that is willing to experiment – to be willing to try options, and if those don’t work, then try something else. Leaders need to be open-minded to the idea that today’s work environments require a customized approach. Why? Because you want the best from your team. You want them to be energized and excited, productive and creative, to innovate and provide the best client service. Just as you come up with the best ideas, products, and solutions for your customers, you too, must come up with the best work environments for your most important part of your company – your people.

You don’t have to provide unlimited time off or yearlong sabbaticals to take steps toward providing more workplace flexibility. Start small by taking steps to change your culture so that team members who take advantage of existing flexibility options are on equal footing with those who are not. Sometimes, it’s as simple as changing your own mindset. What are you doing to create more flexibility in your workplace?


As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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