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sustainabilityArticleWork Flexibility, Job Satisfaction, and JobPerformance among Romanian Employees—Implications for Sustainable HumanResource ManagementAdriana AnaMaria Davidescu 1,2,* , Simona-Andreea Apostu 1,3, Andreea Paul 4 andIonut Casuneanu 51 Department of Statistics and Econometrics, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romana Square,15–17 Dorobant,i St., Sector 1, 010552 Bucharest, Romania; [email protected]2 Labour Market Policies Department, National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection,6–8, Povernei Street, 010643 Bucharest, Romania3 Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy House-Bucharest, District 5, Calea 13 Septembrie, 13,010374 Bucharest, Romania4 Department of International Economic Relations, Bucharest University of Economic Studies,15–17 Dorobanti St., Sector 1, 010552 Bucharest, Romania; [email protected]5 Department of Management, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, 15–17 Dorobanti St., Sector 1,010552 Bucharest, Romania; [email protected]* Correspondence: [email protected]yahoo.comReceived: 5 June 2020; Accepted: 23 July 2020; Published: 29 July 2020Abstract: In light of future work challenges, actual human resource management (HRM) needs tobe redesigned, including long-term development, regeneration, and renewal of human resources,passing from consuming to developing human resources by incorporating the concept of sustainability.Thus, sustainable HRM is seen as an extension of strategic human resources, presenting a new approachto human resource management. The labor market is constantly changing, atypical work acquiring asignificant relevance, especially in these current times of coronavirus crisis restrictions. In Romania,promoting the law of teleworking transformed labor flexibility into a topic of interest, and became anincreasingly vital requirement for employment and a motivating factor for Romanian employees.In such a context, this paper aims to investigate the link between employee development and worktimeand workspace flexibility as relevant characteristics of sustainable HRM, job satisfaction and jobperformance among Romanian employees in order to identify how to redesign HRM in the face of“future work” challenges. Additionally, the paper aims to examine the impact of different types offlexibility—contractual, functional, working time, and workspace flexibility—in order to highlightthe relevance of employee development and employee flexibility as important aspects of sustainableHRM in increasing the overall level of employee job satisfaction. In order to make this possible,an “employee flexibility composite indicator,” which takes into account different types of flexibility,has been developed using feedback from Romanian employees, which was gathered by a nationalrepresentative survey using multiple correspondence analysis. Furthermore, the impact of bothindividual and employee flexibility on overall level of job satisfaction has been quantified using binarylogistic regression models. Within the research, there is a particular focus on the impact of new typesof workspaces (flex office, co-working, total home office, partial home office—FO, CW, HOT, HOP) onjob performance, job satisfaction, organizational performance, professional growth and development,social and professional relationships, and personal professional performance as well as on the overalllevel of work motivation. The empirical results revealed that these new types of workspaces arehighly appreciated by employees, generating a growing interest among them. Partial home working,the mix between working from home and working in a company’s office, has been considered anoptimal solution in increasing organizational performance, social and professional relationships,Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086; doi:10.3390/su12156086 www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainabilitySustainability 2020, 12, 6086 2 of 53learning and personal development, and the overall level of work motivation. The results of themultiple correspondence analysis highlighted a medium level of flexibility among those Romanianemployees interviewed, with only one third of them exhibiting high levels of flexibility. The empiricalanalysis of logistic regression analysis pointed out the role of functional flexibility, working time,and workspace flexibility along with the flexibility composite indicator in increasing the level ofjob satisfaction in employees. Therefore, if the challenge is to redesign the actual human resourcemanagement in order to include the concept of sustainability, attention needs to be on a combinationof employee development-flexible time and flexible places, leading to an increase in both employeejob satisfaction and organizational performance as important outcomes of sustainable HRM.Keywords: sustainable human resource management; work flexibility; job satisfaction;job performance; Romania; employee survey; composite indicator; multiple correspondence analysis;logistic regression analysis; new types of workspaces1. IntroductionEmployees are key stakeholders in the formation and development of the organisation’s human andsocial capital and are a key source of knowledge and support for the development and implementationof sustainable human resource management (HRM). In the face of current challenges, the concept ofHRM needs to be redefined, with sustainable HRM being a more appropriate approach to actual humanresource management. Sustainable HRM’s aims is for long-term objectives and results, with a focus onemployee and environmental care, employee participation and development, external partnership,flexibility, compliance with labor regulations, cooperation between employees, equity, and equality,all without affecting profitability.Among the main characteristics of sustainable HRM, the two core characteristics—employeedevelopment and a combination of flexible working time and new types of workspaces—are particularlyimportant in terms of their impact on the two main outcomes of sustainable HRM—job satisfactionand job performance.The labor market is constantly changing, and the role of the employee is incredibly important.When employees are able to choose their preferred working hours, they tend to be more motivatedand spend a longer period of time without changing jobs. In recent years, this paradigm shift resultedin an increase in employee autonomy, interruptions during work schedules to meet employee needs,employee participation in decision making, workspace modelling, and increasing employee creativityand productivity. Sustainable HR practices are largely influenced by the level of job performance andsatisfaction; therefore, in-depth knowledge of these factors is essential in redefining HRM according tocurrent needs.Work flexibility offers employees a balance between their professional and personal lives,leading to job satisfaction and high performance and an overall improvement of the organizationas a whole. Work flexibility is very important, and with digital advancements and improvedtechnology, employees are able to continue their work anywhere they wish, provided they have aninternet connection.Atypical job roles have become significantly more common, especially characterized today by therestrictions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Although full-time permanent employment representsmost of today’s workforce, the increasing prevalence of non-standardized forms of employmenthas brought structural change to work patterns, most likely resulting in a change to employee jobsatisfaction levels, providing information that could be incredibly valuable to us.In Romania, promoting the law of teleworking transformed labor flexibility into a topic of interest,becoming an increasingly essential condition required for employment and a motivating factor forRomanian employees.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 3 of 53In such a context, this paper aims to investigate the link between employee development andworktime and workspace flexibility as relevant characteristics of sustainable HRM, job satisfaction,and job performance among Romanian employees in order to identify how to redesign HRM in theface of ‘future work’ challenges. Furthermore, the paper aims to examine the impact of different typesof flexible contracts, functional, working hours, and workspace flexibility in order to highlight therelevance of employee development and employee flexibility as important aspects of sustainable HRMin increasing the overall level of employee job satisfaction.Could different forms of work flexibility lead to an increase in job satisfaction and job performance?This is the main question of our research. In attempting to answer to this question, the empiricalanalysis will be structured on three levels. On the first level, we will examine the main characteristicsof both job satisfaction and work flexibility among Romanian employees, highlighting the impactof new forms of workspace flexibility on job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and spacemanagement, level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professionalrelationships, level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation.First, we will investigate the key differences regarding the main forms of work flexibilityamong Romanian employees, focusing particularly on contractual flexibility, working time flexibility,functional flexibility, and workspace flexibility. Second, we will identify the main determinants of workflexibility for Romanian employees and build a composite flexibility indicator using the results fromthe multiple correspondence analysis (MCA). Finally, we will investigate both the potential impact ofthe composite flexibility indicator and the impact of individual flexibility forms on the overall level ofjob satisfaction of Romanian employees using the binary logistic regression model, revealing its mainimplications for achieving the desideratum of sustainable HRM.This paper contributes to the sustainable HRM literature in several ways. First, it analyses theimpact of two important characteristics of sustainable HRM employee development and worktime andworkspace flexibility, grounded in an evidence-based approach on two major outcomes of sustainableHRM (job satisfaction and job performance), contributing to the diminution of the gap in scientificknowledge especially at a national level. Second, the paper offers a first attempt at investigating theimpact of the new forms of workspaces on job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and spacemanagement, level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professionalrelationships, level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation. This isparticularly important when taking into account the restrictions regarding social distancing in thecontext of the current health crisis. Third, the paper considers a multi-dimensional approach of workflexibility from the perspective of working time and workspaces as well as employee development,which is considered to be an important characteristic of sustainable HRM. Fourth, the paper provides,to our knowledge, a first composite measure of work flexibility seen from different angles at anindividual level that offers a global view of the main elements of flexibility present within Romanianorganizations. Furthermore, the paper analyzes how this synthetic measure impacts employee jobsatisfaction as an important outcome of sustainable HRM, thus highlighting the way in which theHRM needs to be redesigned.The paper is organized in the following sections. Section 1 represents the introduction,highlighting the relevance of the topic and the main aim of our research. Section 2, the literature reviewhas been organized into four main sub-sections and starts with an introductory section on sustainableHRM presenting the main conclusions from the literature regarding job satisfaction, work flexibility,and sustainable HRM and a short presentation of the particularities of work flexibility in times ofcrisis. Sections 2.2–2.4 present the most relevant conclusions from literature regarding the relationshipbetween work flexibility and job satisfaction, work flexibility and job performance, as well as workflexibility and a combination of the two.Section 3 is dedicated to the presentation of survey design, some theoretical considerations,the methodology, and the data.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 4 of 53Section 4 is dedicated to empirical results and it is divided into seven sub-sections. The first isdedicated to the presentation of a profile of Romanian employees profile, while the next two present themain characteristics of job satisfaction and work flexibility among Romanian employees. Analysis ofthe impact of new forms of workspace flexibility on job satisfaction, job performance, personal timeand space management, level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal andprofessional relationships, level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation.Section 4.5 presents the main differences among Romanian employees regarding different forms ofwork flexibility, and Section 4.6 is dedicated exclusively to the development of a composite indicatorof Romanian employee flexibility using multiple correspondence analysis. The last sub-section triesto respond to the following question, “Does flexible working increase job satisfaction?” to capturethe impact of both the flexibility composite indicator and the individual forms of work flexibilityon job satisfaction using the binomial logistic regression models emphasizing the main implicationsfor achieving sustainable HRM desideratum. The paper ends with main conclusions and policyimplications, which are considered fundamental in the process of redesigning HRM in the face of“future work” challenges.2. Theoretical Considerations and Hypothesis Development2.1. Sustainable Human Resource Management LiteratureEmployees are key stakeholders in the formation and development of the organisation’s human andsocial capital and are a key source of knowledge and support for the development and implementationof sustainable HRM. The employees are one of the most important stakeholders in an organization andthe organization as a whole is a stakeholder of HRM.In a volatile labor market, it is becoming increasingly important to change the prevailing situationwhere human resources are consumed rather than developed, if the focus is to increase the retention ofemployees. In this endeavor, sustainable HRM has been included as a response to changes regardingsocietal levels, labor market, and employment relations. Sustainable HRM represents an extensionof strategic HRM and presents a new approach to people management [1], being seen as a possiblesolution to lead humanity back into HRM [2], while sustainability refers to resource regeneration,development, and renewal. However, the difference between strategic and sustainable HRM implieslarger aims; while strategic HRM is determined by organizational performance, mainly in terms ofeconomic outcomes, sustainable HRM also considers social human, environmental, and financialoutcomes [1].In terms of sustainability, it represents a survival strategy for organizations to arrange systemswhere employees would have (a) the intention to work for a particular organization, (b) the capabilityto perform tasks in a proper manner for business, and (c) the possibility to work toward better health,lower stress, or a work–life balance [3].Sustainable HRM is the result of various disciplines and research areas, focusing on corporatesustainability and social responsibility and sustainable work systems. It respects the classic concepts andpractices regarding strategic management of human resources from the private sector [4]. Most HRMmodels present the concept of work flexibility as having a direct and significant influence on themanagement of people in organizations [5].It has a wide scope, involving the creation of adequate working conditions, sustainable leadership,cooperation and teamwork, diversity and multiculturalism, ethics and governance, value creation andinculcation, health and safety, workforce involvement, and a sustainable environment [6]. Sustainabilitycan be used as a principle for HRM itself and the tasks of sustainable HRM are twofold. First, it cultivatesthe conditions for personal employee sustainability and advances the ability of HRM systems toregularly attract, regenerate and develop motivated and engaged employees by sustainably buildingthe HRM system itself [3].Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 5 of 53Esfahani et al. investigated the important features of a sustainable HRM in innovative organizationsto identify the relationship between psychological capital, human resource flexibility, and sustainableHRM [7]. They examined HRM in innovative organizations that can benefit from psychological capitaland flexibility of human resources, with the results indicating that flexibility and functional optimismof human resources significantly influenced the sustainability of human resources. Kazlauskaite andBuciuniene [8] strongly believed that, in order to achieve and support the sustainable competitiveadvantage, companies need to have unique, valuable, and inimitable employees.A relevant contribution to the literature concerns the proposal made by Stankeviciute andSavaneviciene [1] identifying 11 characteristics of sustainable HRM—long-term orientation, care ofemployees, care of the environment, profitability, employee participation and social dialogue,employee development, external partnership, flexibility, compliance beyond labor regulations,employee cooperation, fairness, and equality. From all these characteristics, employee developmentand flexibility affect overall level of job satisfaction, which is the subject matter of our research.In designing sustainable HRM, Cohen et al. [9] mentioned three characteristics—equity, well-being,and employee development—and the study is particularly relevant for our research in terms of thelast factor.Zaugg [10] have taken into account the following characteristics of sustainable HRM: flexibility,employee participation, value orientation, strategy orientation, competency and knowledge orientation,stakeholder orientation, and building mutually trustful employee–employer relationships. Park [11]associated six themes with sustainable HRM—a diverse workforce, employees’ development, flexibility,volunteer work, employees’ health, and green HRM.A model of sustainable HRM and organizational performance was proposed by Nyameh [12],highlighting the role of training, rewards, and participation on sustainable HRM outcomes, such asemployee satisfaction, employee motivation, and employee retention or loyalty.Stankeviˇciut ¯ e and Savaneviˇcien ˙ e [ ˙ 1] argued that sustainable HRM reduces the negative impactof HRM on employees and contributing to employee wellbeing by decreasing work-related stress,work-family conflict, and burnout.HRM practices lead to attracting, motivating, and retaining employees to ensure the survival ofthe organization [13]. This practice considers that human capital plays a significant role in achievingthe organization’s goals [14], being positively correlated with the employee engagement if usedproperly [15]. HRM practices are influenced by organizational performance and improve employeewell-being through job satisfaction and organizational commitment [16]. Other HRM practices suchas training and development and performance assessment encourage the employees to work better,thus increasing the organizational performance [17]. Training gives employees the opportunity toobtain knowledge and skills that can help them achieve their responsibilities adequately, resulting inimproved performance [18]. The characteristics of sustainable HRM affect employee satisfaction;therefore, to ensure sustainability and increase the efficiency of the organization, it is necessary to meetthe needs of employees who benefit from good working conditions [1].Figure 1 highlights the most relevant studies focusing on work flexibility, job satisfaction and jobperformance, and also studies at the intersection of these three relevant topics. Table 1 presents anoverview of the most relevant studies regarding work flexibility, job satisfaction, and job performanceat a national level.In order to increase business efficiency, competitiveness, success, and to ensure sustainability,it is commonly agreed that the focus needs to also be on satisfying the needs of employees byproviding them with good working conditions [19–21]. Additionally, Al Mamun et al. [22], Cantele andZardini [23], Delmas and Pekovic [24], Pintão et al. [25], and Dongho [26] reinforced the core importanceof employee satisfaction and the fact that their productivity crucially impacts the company’s success orfailure. An increase in the overall level of employee satisfaction also increases the level of retention.Work environment and working conditions are very important in this context. The ideal situation is foremployees to be satisfied with their conditions and work environment [27–29]. The importance ofSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 6 of 53work environment in terms of enhancing satisfaction and motivation of employees, while increasingcorporate sustainability performance, has been highlighted by Chang et al. [30], Chatterjee et al. [31],Gianni et al. [32], Roxas et al. [33], and Chandrasekar [34].Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 6 of 56Figure 1. The conceptual framework of theoretical considerations between work flexibility, jobsatisfaction, and job performance.In order to increase business efficiency, competitiveness, success, and to ensure sustainability, itis commonly agreed that the focus needs to also be on satisfying the needs of employees by providingthem with good working conditions [19–21]. Additionally, Al Mamun et al. [22], Cantele and Zardini[23], Delmas and Pekovic [24], Pintão et al. [25], and Dongho [26] reinforced the core importance ofemployee satisfaction and the fact that their productivity crucially impacts the company’s success orfailure. An increase in the overall level of employee satisfaction also increases the level of retention.Work environment and working conditions are very important in this context. The ideal situation isfor employees to be satisfied with their conditions and work environment [27–29]. The importance ofwork environment in terms of enhancing satisfaction and motivation of employees, while increasingcorporate sustainability performance, has been highlighted by Chang et al. [30], Chatterjee et al. [31],Gianni et al. [32], Roxas et al. [33], and Chandrasekar [34].Strenitzerová and Achimsky [6] offer a new perspective of the achievement of employee satisfactionand loyalty as part of sustainable human resource management, revealing that higher financial rewardslead to the greatest satisfaction, while the employees’ age, job position, and length of employment stronglyimpact employee loyalty. The results present a particular interest for our research, since employeesatisfaction is seen as a key challenge for sustainable human resource management.Giovanis [35] explored the relationship between job satisfaction, employee loyalty, and twotypes of flexible employment arrangements—teleworking and flexible timing—revealing a positivecausal effect from these employment arrangements on job satisfaction and employee loyalty. Also,our research treats the relationship between different forms of work flexibility and job satisfactionamong Romanian employees.Analyzing different forms of employment and their relationship with employee loyalty, KotRadojewska and Timenko [36] provided evidence that the employees with an indefinite durationemployment contract exhibited a higher level of loyalty compared to those with a fixed-termemployment contract. This relevant finding will also be included in our research, but with an impacton job satisfaction.Figure 1. The conceptual framework of theoretical considerations between work flexibility,job satisfaction, and job performance.Strenitzerová and Achimsky [6] offer a new perspective of the achievement of employee satisfactionand loyalty as part of sustainable human resource management, revealing that higher financialrewards lead to the greatest satisfaction, while the employees’ age, job position, and length ofemployment strongly impact employee loyalty. The results present a particular interest for our research,since employee satisfaction is seen as a key challenge for sustainable human resource management.Giovanis [35] explored the relationship between job satisfaction, employee loyalty, and two typesof flexible employment arrangements—teleworking and flexible timing—revealing a positive causaleffect from these employment arrangements on job satisfaction and employee loyalty. Also, our researchtreats the relationship between different forms of work flexibility and job satisfaction amongRomanian employees.Analyzing different forms of employment and their relationship with employee loyalty,Kot-Radojewska and Timenko [36] provided evidence that the employees with an indefinite durationemployment contract exhibited a higher level of loyalty compared to those with a fixed-termemployment contract. This relevant finding will also be included in our research, but with animpact on job satisfaction.Although there is an extensive body of literature written of job satisfaction, Gazioglu andTansel [37] provide an interesting analysis of the determinants of job satisfaction in Britain consideringthe following four different measures of job satisfaction: satisfaction with their influence over thejob, satisfaction with the amount of pay received, satisfaction with the sense of achievement gained,and satisfaction with the level of respect given from supervisors. Among the interesting resultsobtained, and taking into account the aim of our research, they found that long working hoursreduce satisfaction, while those employees who had job training were more satisfied than thosewho had no training opportunities. These results are even more relevant from the perspective ofSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 7 of 53working time and functional flexibility and led us to research how these characteristics affect Romanianemployee satisfaction.Flexibility is an important characteristic of sustainable HRM [1,11] that primarily reflects the needsof employees. Sustainability in the field of human resources and its benefits imply a broader approachto labor regulations, as compliance with institutional requirements does not lead to sustainability [38].It represents the capability of organizations to confront the dynamics and uncertainty of theirenvironments, rapidly changing their organizational routines or resource bases.Work flexibility and its implementation have occupied an important place in the last few decadesin industrial sociology and human resource management, becoming a popular term in many fields anddirections of research, presented as a necessity in the contemporary workplace [39]. Since organizationalenvironments have become more complex and dynamic, companies increasingly use HRM practicesthat enhance their flexibility, such as contingent work, part-time or temporary work, and flexiblecontract work [40].From the perspective of employees’ initiatives regarding the work they performed or the waythey are employed, Reilly [41] proposed five types of work flexibility—functional, numerical, temporal,local, and financial. An alternative classification of work flexibility arrangements have been proposedby the International Classification for Standards, according to which there are two types of workflexibility—on the one hand, there is a quantitative flexibility (involving changes regarding the numberof employees and working hours), and on the other hand, there is a qualitative flexibility (involvingthe content of competence and quality of work) [42].Among the main characteristics of sustainable HRM pointed out by Stankeviciute andSavaneviciene [1], two core characteristics are of particular interest for our research—employeedevelopment and a mix of flexible working time, and new types of workspaces to increase jobsatisfaction leading to sustainable HRM. Casuneanu identified the following four different formsof work flexibility: working time flexibility, contractual flexibility, functional flexibility (vocationaltraining), and wage flexibility [43].In light of sustainability, functional flexibility achieved through employee development is evenmore important from the perspective of acquiring of skills and developing capacities that employeeswill need in the future. Thus, the development of employees needs to take into account the investmentin future skills, and the employees’ need to be regarded as two facets: the main asset as well as anagent of change [1]. Hirsig et al. [44] argue that, “it becomes more and more important to invest incontinuous training and education for the workforce rather than in infrastructure and equipment.”Hirsig et al. [44] and Stankeviˇciut ¯ e and Savaneviˇcie [ ˙ 1] highlighted the importance of investmentin training and education for human resources, creating a win–win situation both for employees (futureemployability and career opportunities) and for employer (profitability and success).The presence of sustainability in HRM can be revealed through employee development throughon the job training, which can be seen as a cost-saving approach, leading in turn to higher jobmotivation [45] as well as through mentoring and sharing the knowledge with new employees [46],sending the message that through training and development, the company is interested in their longterm retention. Employee development can be seen also as a mechanism for helping individuals inachieving their own self-development and self-enrichment goals or as learning opportunities seen as a“sustainable” investment in personnel [46,47]. In conclusion, employees’ development is regardedas an important element of sustainable HRM and represents an important aspect of our research,aiming to examine its relationship with job satisfaction.Flexibility represents another important characteristic of sustainable HRM, mainly being reflectedin terms of employee needs. Furthermore, we refer to different types of work flexibility, from contractualflexibility or flexible employment to working time arrangements and new workspaces.Among these forms of work flexibility, the relatively short-term perspective of contractualflexibility based on different types of employment contracts (part-time work or fixed-term employment)makes it difficult to support in some ways the idea of sustainability, which implies a long-run approach.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 8 of 53According to Stankeviˇciut ¯ e and Savaneviˇcien ˙ e [ ˙ 1], the only way in which this contractual flexibilitycould lead to sustainability is if it helps the labor market integrate particular groups (students orpersons with disabilities). Although flexible employment does not support the idea of sustainabilitywithin HRM, the increasing incidence of non-standardized forms of employment are creating structuralchanges regarding work patterns in Romania, leading us to include it in the analysis with the aim ofrevealing its impact on the overall level of job satisfaction.On the other hand, flexible working time and workspaces support the sustainability in the HRM,not only from the perspective of the environmental benefits, due to working from home and thus lessuse of company cars and less need for large company buildings [48], but also from the perspective ofthe employees’ heightened satisfaction, freedom, and control, it being acknowledged that a mix offlexible working time and new types of workspaces increases job satisfaction, leading to sustainableHRM [1]. From this precise point of view, it very important to identify the forms of work flexibilitythat exhibited a positive impact on employee job satisfaction and job performance.If a company intends to adopt a sustainable HRM, their focus needs to be on their employees’development, advancing them in sustainability by assigning task forces, in-depth training, flexibleworkhours, and a workspace with beneficial environmental impacts.Work Flexibility in Times of CrisisBefore the coronavirus crisis, employees were already demanding a new focus on life. Workplacesfaced constant change prior to the pandemic, and there will be more to come. In her article publishedon Gallup website [49], Mullen O’Keefe argued that, “Flexibility will look different in each workplacebecause culture is as unique to an organization as DNA is to a person.”Certain jobs require employees to be physically present. Thus, this particularly situation whichwe are facing, offers the opportunity of revisiting the company policies in order to better incorporateflexibility overall. There is a debate how the labor market will look after the pandemic, and ananswer needs to be given of whether employees will continue working from home when public healthrestrictions are no longer necessary.According to Mullen O’Keefe, in addition to the “when,” managers should consider if the “where”for workers can change too [49]. Full-time remote work is not the only solution. According toCheremond [50], the main findings of the recent Gartner poll revealed that one of the future worktrends post pandemic refers to the increase of remote working, stipulating that 48% of employees mostlikely will decide to work remotely at least part of the time after COVID-19 compared with only 30% ofthem before the pandemic; flexible working will be a new normal after the virus.The measures of social and physical distance aimed at stopping the transmission of COVID-19 andpreventing the emergence of new ones imposed physical distance between people (at least one meter)and reduced contact with contaminated surfaces, encouraging and supporting a virtual connectionwithin families and communities. Regarding the development of professional activities, work flexibilitywas introduced, such as teleworking, distance learning, reduction and avoidance of congestion, and theclosure of non-essential facilities and services [51].The coronavirus pandemic resulted in the largest number of employees worldwide being forced towork remotely, with working at home becoming the new normal [52]. The impact of COVID-19 on thelabor market differs considerably between countries. Employees in Germany have a well-establishedshort-term work schedule and are unlikely to be affected by the crisis. Within countries, impacts areuneven and exacerbate existing inequalities. Workers in alternative employment arrangements andoccupations, characterized by a small part of the tasks performed from home, have experienced reducedhours, job losses, and declining earnings [53]. Working from home can be useful for people working inIT or other industries, but there are employees for whom working from home is not possible, even ina crisis. The health crisis has affected training efforts; therefore, retraining has become a challenge.All these consequences could have been minimized if they had been planned well in advance or ifemployees had been familiar with such strategies [54].Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 9 of 53All measures taken during the coronavirus crisis will have short-term and long-term effects onpeople’s lives, especially on working life, given the changes regarding work arrangements (short-termwork, flexible location, and time). The relationships between work and career of people working inflexible roles could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, generating an examination of the effectson the work and career of those people, so that the pandemic can contribute to the flexible workingoffset [55]. The importance of employee satisfaction during the crisis, referring to the coronaviruscrisis, was analyzed by Shan and Thang. The results indicated that companies with higher employeesatisfaction are more resistant to negative shocks across the market during the COVID-19 outbreak [56].Akkermans et al. identified the Covid-19 pandemic as a career shock, which will have a majorimpact on people’s work and careers. The impact of the crisis will depend on contextual and individualfactors and will affect people differently depending on their stage of career and life. Although thepandemic represents a negative career shock, it can have long-term positive implications, the short-termconsequences are different from the long-term ones [57].Before the coronavirus crisis, the business world was already opening up to the idea of remotework. A survey conducted by LinkedIn at the end of 2019, indicated that home working is anattractive concept for both employers and employees, with benefits such as better work–life balance,increased productivity, and lower costs for buildings and infrastructure. This idea was strengthenedduring the pandemic, as it was observed that flexibility in work is a viable solution, with somemanagers claiming that it increased employee productivity, which could lead to a reassessment of howpeople will work after the pandemic [58].Megan Brenan [59] has already indicated a change—“three out of five US workers who didtheir homework during the coronavirus pandemic would prefer to continue working as far away aspossible,” and 41% said they would prefer to return to their work or office to work after the crisis.These changes will result in a work reorganization, as long as flexibility does not change performancetargets. Flexibility at work must be “business as usual” and not just something to resort to in timesof crisis.As the pandemic resets major work trends, HR leaders need to rethink workforce andemployee-related strategies. Among these trends, one already marked shifts, others have newimpacts, referring to an increase the remote work, contingent worker expansion, a separation of criticalskills and roles, the (de)humanization of employees, and a transition from designing for efficiency todesigning for resilience.2.2. Work Flexibility and Job Satisfaction LiteratureJob Satisfaction is an essential criterion that cannot be overestimated, representing a combinationof psychological, physiological, and environmental circumstances that determine an employee’ssatisfaction with their job [48], emotional stability, and conscientiousness [60].Regarding the employee role at work, satisfaction can be defined as emotional orientations on thepart of employees toward the work roles they perform [47], greatly influencing employee motivation,which influences productivity and, therefore, organization performance as a whole [61].Many studies have highlighted the fact that employee motivation influences job satisfaction,while the level of motivation has an impact on productivity and therefore on company performance.The employees’ perceptions of the nature of their work have a considerable impact on job satisfactionlevel, with financial compensation having a significant impact on overall employee satisfaction [47].Other studies have analyzed job performance, satisfaction and the intention of resigning, the result ofwhich indicates that low-performing employees leave their jobs for various reasons [62].The factors that significantly influence job satisfaction and career advancement are age,work seniority, gender, education, position in the organization [63–65], employee abilities, and countryof residence [42]. Other determinants of job satisfaction are communication and the nature of work [66],as well as the national culture, which moderates the relationship between leadership behavior and jobsatisfaction [67] and generates an increase in satisfaction [68].Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 10 of 53At a national level, employee job satisfaction has been the subject of many empirical studies,analyzing factors influencing employee satisfaction [69] and testing empirically motivation theories [70].Key factors enhancing overall levels of job satisfaction are communication and nature of work [71],the economic status provided by a particular job [69], emotional stability [60], financial incentives [72],and the combination between extrinsic factors (bonuses and monetary benefits) and intrinsic factors(professional fulfilment and good relationships) [73].Origo and Pagani [42] and Possenriede and Plantenga [74] analyzed the relationship between workflexibility and job satisfaction revealing that temporary and local work flexibility requires employees’control over their professional life, improving the link between paid work and private life, and leadingto an increase in the overall level of job satisfaction. Flexible work leads to greater job satisfaction andlow level of burnout and stress [75], with benefits to employee health and well-being [76] correlatingwith a good work–family relationship and high job satisfaction [77]. The results of these studies are ofparticular importance, since the relationship between work flexibility and job satisfaction is the subjectmatter of our research.The main factors that influence job satisfaction and flexibility in different Romanian companieswere investigated by Că¸suneanu et al. [78], revealing that a flexible schedule is essential in improvingwork motivation, with employees of small companies assigning a higher level of importance to remotework or teleworking. Romanian employees expect to be rewarded for personal characteristics andwork behavior with non-financial rewards, appreciation, and recognition being equally importantas any financial rewards [71]. Other studies have indicated that rewards positively influence jobsatisfaction [79].Based on previous theoretical considerations, the following hypotheses are created to stipulatehow the main four types of flexibility (contractual, functional, working time, and workspace) willhighlight the relevance of employee development and employee flexibility as part of sustainable HRMin increasing the overall level of job satisfaction:Hypothesis 1 (H1). On average, there is a moderate level of work flexibility among Romanian employees.Hypothesis 2 (H2). Different types of work flexibility lead to an increase in the overall level of job satisfaction,contributing to the achievement of sustainable HRM.Hypothesis 3 (H3). The employee flexibility composite indicator leads to an increase in overall level of jobsatisfaction, contributing to the achievement of sustainable HRM.2.3. Work Flexibility and Job Performance LiteratureJob performance is a central element within industrial and organizational psychology,reflecting scalable actions, behaviors, and outcomes that employees engage with, or contribute to,within organizations [80], and being defined by how employee behaviors contribute to organizationalgoals [81]. Job performance is influenced by individual characteristics (experience and ability),outcomes (e.g., feedback and job security), work environment [82], and education [83]. The generalindividual determinants for job performance are declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge andskills, and motivation [84].In accordance to our objectives, it is worth to mention the findings of Waldman and Spangler [85],who developed an integrated model of job performance, influenced by individual characteristics(experience, ability), outcomes (feedback, job security), but also by work environment.In Romania, several intrinsic factors contribute to increased job performance, resulting in employeesfeeling appreciated and consequently pursuing the organization’s objectives, leading to an increase in jobinvolvement, a decrease in absenteeism, and a boost in self-confidence [86] leading to fewer fluctuationsregarding the job [85]. Additionally, factors such as self-determination [87], job tability, authority,responsibility and autonomy at work, workplace comfort, advancement prospects, benefits packages,Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 11 of 53professional development, job attractiveness, remuneration [85], effective communication betweenmanagement and employees, early distribution of tasks, a feeling of recognition, and an attractivesalary [88] are also important in increasing employee performance.Work adjustment theory states that work flexibility leads to higher employee involvement and anincreased level of job performance. If Bal and DeLane [89] proved that the relationship between workflexibility and job performance was mediated by employee commitment, it was also demonstrated thattime flexibility significantly impacted labor productivity [90,91].Significant results proving that work flexibility leads to performance has been provided byBeltrán-Martín et al. [92], Lepak et al. [93], Martinez-Sanchey et al. [90], Bran and Udrea [91] andValverde et al. [94].Research has also proven that investments in human capital also increase labor productivity,as well as employee stability in the labor market, employability, and adaptability to new global laborconditions, including job performance [95,96].Today, flexibility in the workplace is an increasing need in companies in order to recruit the beststaff and to increase productivity among employees. Labor market flexibility is important as it is apositive quality that is highly valued by both jobseekers and employers.Based on previous theoretical considerations, the following hypotheses have been created in orderto stipulate how the new forms of workspace flexibility lead to an increase in job performance, a bettermanagement of personal time and space, a higher level of comfort, improved personal and professionalrelationships, a higher level of learning and professional development, and increased work motivation:Hypothesis 4 (H4). Total home office (HOT), as a new type of working, is associated with a higher level of jobperformance, a better management of personal time and space, and a higher level of comfort.Hypothesis 5 (H5). Partial home office (HOP), as a new type of working, is associated with a higher levelof organizational performance, improved work motivation, improved personal and professional relationships,and higher level of learning and professional development.Hypothesis 6 (H6). Co-working (CW), as new type of working, is associated with improved personal andprofessional relationships and higher levels of learning and professional development.Hypothesis 7 (H7). Flex office [FO], as new type of working, is associated with improved personal andprofessional relationships.Hypothesis 8 (H8). Partial home office (HOP) is associated with an improved level of work motivation.2.4. Theoretical Considerations on the Relationship between Work Flexibility, Job Satisfaction,and Job PerformanceFlexible work practices are designed to meet the needs of employers, thus improving the work–lifebalance of employees in a manner consistent with the needs of the company and conducing to jobsatisfaction and job performance. For both companies and the labor market in general, work flexibilityis seen as the key to success, influencing working conditions, productivity, profitability, and overallperformance. Economists argue that work flexibility has relevant effects on workers’ well-being andjob satisfaction [3,95].Carvalho and Cabral-Cardoso revealed that numerical and functional flexibility can be achievedsimultaneously and interdependently by implementing a unique HRM system based on workforcecommitment [97]. Businesses with flexible operations often have several forms of flexible workingmodels that reflect an innovation in human resource management [98].Analyzing the influence of sustainable human resource management (HRM) practices on workplaceperformance, Manzoor et al. demonstrated that HRM practices, such as employee selection, participation,and empowerment significantly and positively influenced employee work performance [95].Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 12 of 53National empirical evidence on work flexibility has been demonstrated by the studies ofCasuneanu [96], Lefter et al. [99], Dima et al. [100], Lefter and Casuneanu [101], and Lefter et al. [102],and Casuneanu et al. [78].In summary, the core idea of all empirical studies regarding work flexibility characteristics ofRomanian employees refers to teamwork and usage of information technology as primordial elementsof flexibility, while the most important forms of flexibility in the opinion of Romanian employees areteam autonomy and working time flexibility. Therefore, the importance of work flexibility is onceagain highlighted, and the motivation of our research could also be explained from this perspective.Although there are several other studies examining the relationship between work flexibility andjob satisfaction, and studies examining the relationship between work flexibility and job performance,there are relatively few studies analyzing the relationship between work flexibility and both jobperformance and satisfaction simultaneously.Significant results of the impact of work flexibility on job satisfaction and job performance havebeen provided by Orpen [103], Solanki [104], Al Omar et al. [105], Govender et al. [106], Lefter et al. [101],Casuneanu [96], and Burtăverde [107]. In his study, Orpen [103] validated only the relationship betweenwork flexibility and job satisfaction and invalidated the relationship between work flexibility andjob performance.The link between flexible work arrangements, satisfaction, and performance was investigated byGovender et al. [106]. The results indicated that most employees are satisfied with their actual workarrangements and work flexibility which could contribute to their decision to remain with their currentemployer. Job performance and work flexibility have a strong positive correlation and flexible workarrangements improve employee retention and job satisfaction, increasing productivity.The link between work flexibility, job satisfaction and job performance in Romania was analyzed byLefter et al. [99] using survey data based on a sample of 220 employees; the empirical results highlightingthat work flexibility (flexible schedule, teleworking, or reduced working time) significantly influencesjob satisfaction and job performance. In addition, flexible work has been found to significantly influenceemployee well-being, personal and professional performance, and the overall level of motivation.Casuneanu [96] pointed out the importance of flexible hours, among other motivational factors,in increasing the overall level of employee job satisfaction.In this context of work flexibility and job satisfaction, and respectively, work flexibility and jobperformance, it is also worth analyzing potential links between job satisfaction and job performancewithin the literature. The relationship between job satisfaction and job performance has been studiedthroughout the history of industrial and organizational psychology, with many researchers consideringa causal relationship between satisfaction and performance [108].Satisfied employees are found to perform better and contribute to the organization success [109].The positive relationship between job satisfaction and job performance has been provided by thestudies of Christen et al. [110], Katzell et al. [111], O’Leary et al. [112], Norris and Niebuhr [113],Petty et al. [114], and Neagu [115].Pavalache-Ilie [80] studied the relationship between “good soldier syndrome” and job satisfactionby researching two independent studies (public and private) conducted in Romania. The resultsindicated that job satisfaction is associated with performance behaviors (e.g., organizational citizenship,self-efficacy, hospitality, and seniority within the organization), with the involvement in publicorganizations being more intense than in private ones.In the context of today’s economy, when professionals can choose from a wide range of offersavailable on the labor market, employers must reinvent themselves and begin to offer potentialemployee’s alternative benefits other than simply financial ones. Most of the time, the flexibility of theorganization can determine, not only the employee’s longevity but, more importantly, their motivationto work hard and to be productive. Employer flexibility benefits not only the employees but also theorganization that offers it. Rigidity removes talent, and in a free, growing market, potential employeeshave the opportunity to explore their options before they choose a position.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 13 of 53Table 1. An overview of the most relevant studies on work flexibility job satisfaction and job performance at a national level.Domain Authors Study Method ResultsWorkflexibilityLefter, Davidescu, andCasuneanu (2017) [99] Sample of 100 employeesPrincipalComponentsAnalysisMost respondents consider teamwork and the use of informationtechnology to be key elements of work flexibility.Dima, T, uclea, Vrânceanu,and T, igu [100] Sample of 1180 employeesModel based onstructuralequationsAt an individual level, telework could establish a greater work-lifebalance, and at a social level, it could generate lasting effects forlong-term labor management.Lefter and Că¸suneanu(2018) [101] Sample of 220 employees Questionnaire The main forms of flexibility at work in Romanian companies are represented by teamwork, computer use, and telework.Casuneanu, Lefter, andDavidescu (2019) [78] Sample of 220 employees QuestionnaireMeasures to be taken to improve employee motivation are flexibleprogram in case of big companies, while the small companiesemployees consider the ability to work from home (remote work) ornear to the house (teleworking) to be important.Lefter, Casuneanu, andEnache (2018) [102] Sample of 220 employees QuestionnaireThe main elements of flexibility (teamwork and usage of informationtechnology) are very important for Romanian employees-autonomy ofwork teams and working time flexibility.JobsatisfactionPook, Fustos, and Marian(2003) [65]Sample of 932 employees fromHungary, Poland and Romania Questionnaire Degree of functioning, gender and position significantly influence job satisfaction and advancement.Analoui (2000) [74] 23 Romanian organizations Questionnaire andsample interviewsRecognition and appreciation, salary and remuneration, promotionstatus and professional satisfaction are key factors among Romanianmanagers.Săveanu and Săveanu(2011) [69] Sample of 1489 subjects European Values Survey 2008 Work is very important for Romanians, and the main factor that influences job satisfaction is the economic situation.Matei and Abrudan(2016) [68]100 online recruitmentcompanies QuestionnaireIntrinsic factors have generated an increase regarding the level ofsatisfaction, proving that the theory is not adequate to the Romaniancultural context.Burlacu and Birsan(2016) [116] Sample of 500 subjects QuestionnaireAlmost half of the interviewees consider that the salary is not sufficientto cover the monthly expenses, the salaries cannot be consideredsatisfactory nor can they ensure a proper quality of life.Tampu (2016) [72] Sample of 629 employees Questionnaire Main motivational factors are focusing on extrinsic and intrinsicmotivation, attitude at work, job satisfaction, rewards, and incentives.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 14 of 53Table 1. Cont.Domain Authors Study Method ResultsJobsatisfactionMatei and Fataciune(2016) [66]Sample of 120 employees frompublic and private sectorJob satisfactionsurveyCommunication and the nature of work are determinants of jobsatisfaction work, highlighting a higher satisfaction for privateemployees.Cristescu, Stănilă, andAndreica (2013) [73]Sample of 355 employees frompublic sector QuestionnaireA combination of external advantages (bonuses and non-monetarybenefits) and intrinsic factors (satisfaction and professional fulfilment,good relations with the local community) increase the professionalmotivation of civil servants.JobperformanceMihalcea (2013) [85] Sample QuestionnaireLeaders who registered task orientation, dominance, ambition,independence, and self-confidence generate a low level of satisfactionamong their employees, being identified by moderate correlation, andmanagers who generated professional satisfaction were characterizedby sensitivity to other people’s problems, the need for affiliation andsupport, less assertive and reduced control over the work ofsubordinates.Ölçer and Florescu(2015) [87] Sample QuestionnaireCompetence, self-determination and impact have positively influencedthe work performance of employees. Job satisfaction led to jobperformance, and job satisfaction partially mediated the relationshipsbetween competence and performance at work.Bercu and Onofrei(2017) [86] Sample QuestionnaireThe results revealed that intrinsic factors are a priority, employees whofeel valued will pursue the organization’s goals, work involvement willincrease, absenteeism will be reduced and there will be less fluctuationsin the workplace. The main motivation of civil servants leading to jobperformance is job stability, followed by authority, responsibility andautonomy at work, comfort, prospect of advancement, benefitspackage, professional development, job attractiveness, andremuneration.Tampu and Cochina(2015) [88]Sample of 629 employees frommultinationals in Bucharest QuestionnaireCommunication between the management team and employees, earlydistribution of tasks, recognition or an attractive salary are relevant inincreasing employee performance.Suciu, Mortan, and Lazăr(2013) [70]Sample of civil servants in theNorth-West Region Questionnaire The results highlighted a direct link between job performance and expectation, influencing their motivation to work.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 15 of 53Table 1. Cont.Domain Authors Study Method ResultsWorkflexibilityand jobsatisfactionCă¸suneanu, Lefter, andDavidescu (2019) [78] Sample QuestionnaireThe empirical results revealed that the employees of small companiesare the most satisfied with their current job and the salary received, andthe least satisfied are the employees of medium or large companies.Buzea (2014) [79] Sample QuestionnaireThe results showed that Romanian employees expect to be rewardedfor personal characteristics, followed by work behavior. Non-financialrewards, appreciation, and recognition are just as important as thefinancial reward.Tănăsescu and Leon(2019) [117] Sample QuestionnaireThe results showed that rewards positively influence job satisfaction,while the relationships between job satisfaction and job performance,and between rewards and job performance are not significant.Flexibilityand jobperformanceWallace (2003) [118]Sample in eight countries (UK,Netherlands, Sweden, Czechia,Hungary, Slovenia, Romania,and Bulgaria)The results identified high flexibility for highly educated people andlow flexibility for people with low education, low incomes, and oftenwith young workers and those in rural areas.Bran and Udrea (2016) [91] Sample QuestionnaireThe results identified that increasing work flexibility significantlyimproved job performance, motivation leading to performance, and inconjunction with flexibility lead to superior performance.Serban (2012) [119] Sample QuestionnaireLabor market flexibility has a beneficial impact on labor productivity.Investments in human capital increase labor productivity, employeestability in the labor market, employability and adaptability to newglobal labor conditions, including job performance.Jobsatisfactionand jobperformanceNeagu (2010) [115] Sample QuestionnaireThe results concluded that job satisfaction is positively correlated withcommunication and motivation, and inversely correlated withorganizational commitment.Pavalache-Ilie (2013) [80] Sample QuestionnaireThe results showed that job satisfaction is associated with performancebehaviors (organizational citizenship, self-efficacy, hospitality, andseniority within the organization), and the involvement in publicorganizations being more intense than in private ones.Ionescu and Horga(2013) [120]Sample of employees in tourismsector QuestionnaireThe results highlighted the importance of job satisfaction and effectivecommunication within companies, leading to higher financialperformance.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 16 of 53Table 1. Cont.Domain Authors Study Method ResultsWorkflexibility, jobsatisfactionand jobperformanceLefter, Davidescu, andCasuneanu (2017) [99] Sample of 220 employees QuestionnaireEmpirical results identified that work flexibility (flexible workinghours, teleworking or reduced working hours) significantly influencedjob satisfaction and job performance. In addition, flexible work hassignificantly influenced well-being, personal and professionalperformance, and motivation.Burtăverde (2015) [107] Sample of 144 employees QuestionnaireThe results indicated life satisfaction in general is directly correlatedwith honesty and health, and between emotional factor and jobsatisfaction the link is reversed. A positive relationship wasdetermined between conscientiousness, job satisfaction, satisfactionwith life and health, and between openness and satisfaction with life.Casuneanu (2011) [96] Sample of 402 employeesCATI system(telephone-assistedtelephoneinterview).Employees are looking for jobs that provide them with stability andsecurity.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 17 of 533. Data and MethodsIn order to investigate the relationship between work flexibility as part of sustainable HRM andjob satisfaction and job performance as sustainable HRM outcomes among Romanian employees,the research aims to respond to the following specific questions:What kind of work flexibility elements are present in Romanian organizations? To what extentare different forms of work flexibility present within Romanian organizations? Is HOT, as a newtype of working, related to a higher level of job performance and comfort and better management ofpersonal time and space? Is HOP, as a new type of working, related to a higher level of organizationalperformance, higher work motivation, higher personal, professional relationships, and higher level oflearning and professional development? Is CW, as a new type of working, related to higher personal,professional relationships and higher level of learning and professional development? Is FO, as a newtype of working, associated with higher personal, professional relationships? Is HOP related to ahigher level of work motivation? Overall, is there an average medium level of work flexibility amongRomanian employees? What is the level of work flexibility registered by most employees? How manyemployees have a high level of work flexibility?Do different forms of work flexibility increase the overall level of job satisfaction? Does an employeeflexibility composite index lead to an increase in the overall level of job satisfaction, contributing to theachievement of sustainable HRM?In order to assess this, a quantitative sociological survey was conducted based on a structuredquestionnaire among adults aged 15–64 who, at the time of the survey, were employees. The samplingwas of probabilistic stage-type stratified. The sampling layers targeted were employee regionaldistribution, distribution by areas of activity, gender distribution, and distribution by area of residence(urban/rural). The study was conducted on a nationally representative sample of 220 people.Data collection was performed on 16 counties and Bucharest, cumulating a total of 50 samplingpoints (national, urban and rural). The study was conducted face to face and the collection period was29 October–11 November 2018. The national representation of the sample has been assessed, by testingthat there is no statistically significant difference between population mean and sample mean for thecharacteristic-respondent age, by testing that there is no statistically significant difference betweenpopulation variance at regional level and sample variance at regional level, and through a similarsample gender distribution at national level with that one of the population.The questionnaire contains information regarding the overall level of job and salary satisfaction,the most relevant motivational factors, the main elements of work flexibility present in Romaniancompanies, the main forms of work flexibility, urgent measures to be taken by the organization’smanagement to improve flexibility and job satisfaction, new spaces of working and how working inthese spaces could impact wellbeing, professional growth and development, social and professionalrelationships, personal professional performance, and organizational performance.The research assessed the notoriety of new types of working (HOT, HOP, FO, and CW) onorganizational performance and feedback from people in offices.Flex office (FO) designates spaces with impersonal and non-territorial workstations, correlatedwith spaces that create better facilities for meetings, concentration, creative activities, learning activities,and others. Co-working (CW) refers to the activities carried out in rented spaces, by people withdiverse, frequently complementary activities, which they could also carry out at home, but prefer to doin a multi-relationship environment. Home office is work from home, either full time (HOT) or parttime (HOP).Within the survey, the following four types of work flexibility have been analyzed: working timeflexibility, contractual flexibility, functional flexibility, and workspace flexibility.Contractual flexibility was assessed through different types of contracts—full-time employmentcontract, part-time employment contract, fixed-term employment contract, work-from-home contract,distance work (work from a distance, from home or close to home), or other types of contracts (onrequest, division of labor) using dichotomous variables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 18 of 53Working time flexibility was evaluated based on seven items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Functional flexibility was evaluated based on three items quantified using dichotomous variablescoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Working space flexibility was evaluated based on three items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The presence of the main forms of work flexibility was assessed using dichotomous variablesencoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The major characteristics of working time and functional flexibility were quantified usingdichotomous variables encoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The urgent measures to be taken by the organization’s management to improve flexibility andjob satisfaction of employees’ work were quantified using dichotomous variables coded by 1—forpresence and 0—otherwise.The potential impact of new types of working on work efficiency and productivity, on improvinginterpersonal relationships by meeting new people, the ability to gain new knowledge, the abilityto increase company performance due to increased profit and more efficient use of workspace,increased personal comfort, and more efficient management of working time, and the increase ofemployee motivation was evaluated based on nine items quantified using dichotomous variablescoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The analysis of the main specificities of work flexibility and job satisfaction was performedbased on descriptive statistics and charts. The investigation of the main differences of opinionregarding the main forms of work flexibility among Romanian employees was performed based on thenon-parametric Mann–Whitney and Kruskal–Wallis tests.In order to develop a multidimensional flexibility indicator, we have incorporated informationfrom four areas totaling 18 binary items with 36 categories as follows (Figure 2):X contractual flexibility: four items;X working time flexibility: seven items;X functional flexibility: three items;X working space flexibility: four items.Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 18 of 56Working time flexibility was evaluated based on seven items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Functional flexibility was evaluated based on three items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Working space flexibility was evaluated based on three items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The presence of the main forms of work flexibility was assessed using dichotomous variablesencoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The major characteristics of working time and functional flexibility were quantified usingdichotomous variables encoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The urgent measures to be taken by the organization’s management to improve flexibility andjob satisfaction of employees’ work were quantified using dichotomous variables coded by 1—forpresence and 0—otherwise.The potential impact of new types of working on work efficiency and productivity, onimproving interpersonal relationships by meeting new people, the ability to gain new knowledge,the ability to increase company performance due to increased profit and more efficient use ofworkspace, increased personal comfort, and more efficient management of working time, and theincrease of employee motivation was evaluated based on nine items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The analysis of the main specificities of work flexibility and job satisfaction was performed basedon descriptive statistics and charts. The investigation of the main differences of opinion regardingthe main forms of work flexibility among Romanian employees was performed based on the nonparametric Mann–Whitney and Kruskal–Wallis tests.In order to develop a multidimensional flexibility indicator, we have incorporated informationfrom four areas totaling 18 binary items with 36 categories as follows (Figure 2): contractual flexibility: four items; working time flexibility: seven items; functional flexibility: three items; working space flexibility: four items.Figure 2. Figure 2. The scheme of employee flexibility composite indicator (CFI). The scheme of employee flexibility composite indicator (CFI).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 19 of 53Taking into account the fact that the variables are dichotomous, multiple correspondenceanalysis (MCA) has been applied [121]. MCA has been applied by Asselin and Vu Tuan [122]in Vietnam; Ki et al. [123] in Senegal; Ningaye and Ndjanyou [124] and Njong and Ningaye [125] inthe case of Cameroon; and be Njong and Ningaye [125], Ezzari and Verme [126], Canuel et al. [127],and Asselin [121] to generate composite indices for poverty.From the technical point of view, MCA is obtained by using a standard correspondence analysison an indicator matrix (i.e., a matrix whose entries are 0 or 1). The MCA assumption is extractinga first factor which retains maximum information contained in this matrix and furthermore, to usethis information to generate a composite indicator for each employee [128]. The difference betweenthis approach and PCA is that the dependent variable is unobserved and cannot be used directly toestimate correlation coefficients, employee flexibility being considered as a multidimensional latent(unobserved) variable [128].For the construction of a CFI from K ordinal categorical indicators, the monotonicity axiom,stipulating that if employee “i” increases its situation for a given variable, then its composite flexibilityindex value CFIi increases: its flexibility level increases (larger values mean higher flexibility).The monotonicity axiom translates into the first axis ordering consistency (FAOC) principle [123].This implies that the first axis must have growing factorial scores indicating a movement fromnon-flexible to flexible working status. For each of the nominal variables, the MCA calculates adiscrimination measure on each of the factorial axes. It represents the variance of the factorial scoresof all the modalities of the variable on the axis and measures the magnitude with which the variableexplains the axis.Category quantification plots represent an alternative method of presenting discrimination ofvariables that can identify category relationships. The coordinates of each category on each dimensionare presented in order to dispose which categories are related to each variable [129].In order to build the composite indicator of flexibility, the weights given by MCA, correspondingto the standardized scores on the first factorial axis, will be used. When all the variable modalitieshave been converted into a dichotomous nature coded 0/1, giving a total of P binary indicators, the CFIfor a certain employee “i” can be written as [121]CPIi = 1KW1Ii1 + W2Ii2 + · · · + WpIip, (1)where W = the weight (score of first standardized axis, (score/pλ1)) of category p, Ip = binary indicator0/1, which takes on the value 1 when the employee has the modality and 0 otherwise. The CFIvalue reflects the average global flexibility level of a particular employee. Furthermore, the index istransformed using the percentile rank to take values between 0 and 100.Using the composite indicator of employee work flexibility, we can assess the impactof work flexibility on the overall level of job satisfaction using binomial logistic regression.Alternatively, as robustness analysis, we have taken into account in the analysis the potential influenceof each type of work flexibility (contractual flexibility, working time, and functional flexibility andworkspace flexibility) together with individual control variables on the job satisfaction.In order to do that, we have considered:– Dependent variable:• Job satisfaction level was measures using a five-point Likert scale using the followingcategories: 1—very dissatisfied to 5—very satisfied answering to the following question:Are you satisfied with your current job? Furthermore, the variable has been transformedinto a dichotomous one with the categories 1—satisfied and 0—otherwise.– Explanatory variables on work flexibility:Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 20 of 53• Contractual flexibility: Within the organization you are employed: (1) based on an indefiniteduration employment contract with full time working; (2) on the basis of an employmentcontract of indefinite duration with part-time work; (3) based on a fixed-term employmentcontract with full working time; (4) based on a fixed-term employment contract with part-timework; (5) based on home working contract; based on “telework” contract (work at distance,from home or from a space near the house); based on other types of contracts (on call,job sharing) coded with 1—yes, 0—no.• Elements of working time flexibility coded by 1—yes, 0—no: Do you work 40 h a week at themain job? Do you have more than one job? Do you work the same number of hours everyday? Do you work the same number of days every week? Do you start and end the programat fixed hours? Do you work in shifts? Do you work flexible hours?• Elements of functional flexibility conditioned by 1—yes, 0—no: Participation in trainingcourses paid by the employer; Participation in payment courses from own sources;Beneficiaries of on-the-job training;• Elements of new workspace flexibility, coded by 1—yes, 0—no: total home working, partialhome working, coworking, and flex office.– Control variables:• Gender: a dummy variable in which 1—man and 2—women.• Age: a polychotomous variable with values: 1 for under 26 years, 2 for 26–35 years, 3 for36–45 years, 4 for 46–55 years, 5 for over 55 years.• Principal occupation: a polychotomous variable with the following values: 1—specialistwith higher education; 2—general manager, director or person holding a senior managementposition; 3—person holding a middle management position (head of department, head ofoffice); 4—Technician; 5—employee in public services (hospital, public catering, education,police, fire, etc.); 6—skilled worker; 7—unskilled worker; 8—another situation.• Degree of salary satisfaction: a dichotomous variable that answers the question, How satisfiedare you with the salary you receive? With: 1—satisfied, 0—otherwise.• Degree of satisfaction regarding working conditions: a dichotomous variable that answers thequestion, How satisfied are you with working conditions? With: 1—satisfied, 0—otherwise.• Seniority within the company: a polychotomous variable with values: 1 for under 1 year;2 for 1–3 years; 3 for 3–5 years; 4 for 5–10 years; 5 for over 10 years.• Company size: a polychromatic variable with the following values: 1 for 1–9 employees;2 for 10–49 employees; 3 for 50–249 employees; 4 for more than 250 employees.• Sector of activity: a polychotomous variable with values 1—agriculture; 2—manufacturingindustry; 3—wholesale; 4—retail trade; 5—services; 6—construction; 7—other sector.• Legal status of the company: a polychotomous variable with values 1—limited liabilitycompany (srl); 2—joint stock company; 3—partnership; 4—limited partnership (joint stockcompany); 5—autonomous company; 6—national society; 7—other.Logistic regression models the relationship between a set of independent variables xi (categorical,continuous) and a dichotomous dependent variable (nominal, binary) Y. Such a dependent variableoccurs when it belongs to two classes, categories—presence/absence, yes/no.The regression equation obtained provides information about (1) the importance of variables inclass differentiation and (2) the classification of an observation into a class. Logistic regression can beextended to incorporate more than one explanatory variable, which can be quantitative or qualitative.The logistic regression model can then be written as follows:lnp1 – p! = β0 + β1×1 + β2×2 + · · · + βkxk, (2)Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 21 of 53where p being P(y = 1|x1, x2, : : : , xk) and is the probability of the event and x1, x2, : : : xk are theexplanatory variables:
P(y = 1 jx1, x2, : : : , xk) =1 + exp(β0 + β1×1 + β2×2 + · · · + βkxk),
(3)
exp(β0 + β1×1 + β2×2 + · · · + βkxk)For the coefficient βi, we obtainexp β0 =P(y = 1 x1, x2, : : : , xk = 0)1 – P(y = 1 x1, x2, : : : , xk)=P(y = 1 x1, x2, : : : , xk = 0P(y = 0 x1, x2, : : : , xk = 0, (4)After estimating the coefficients, the significance of the coefficients, the general goodness of themodel classification, and the capacity of the model to discriminate between the two groups defined bythe response variable is evaluated.When building the model step by step, checking if the variable removed from the model issignificant, so if the model can be simplified, the LR test is recommended.Because some data is “rare” (scattered), statistics comparing two models is not distributed χ2,using the Hosmer–Lemeshow test. The test consists of classifying the predicted probabilities intodeciles (10 groups based on the percentile rank) and calculating the χ2 statistic that compares theobserved frequencies with the predicted ones. Small values of the statistics indicate a good fit ofthe forecasted data, so an adequacy of the model. In the logistic regression, were used Cox & SnellPseudo-R2 and Nagelkerke Pseudo-R2 as goodness of fit indicators.4. Empirical Results4.1. Romanian Employee Sample ProfileFrom the total of 220 Romanian employees interviewed, 55% were males, 30% aged between36–45 years old, and 30% aged between 46–55 years old. Five percent of them registered their ageas under 26 years old, and 7% were elderly (55 years and over). Almost 27% of employees have aslength of service over 10 years, while 82% of employees declared not to have management positionexperience. Regarding the received monthly salary, 46% of the respondents declared to earn less than2500 lei, while only 38% of them declared to earn between 2500–5000 lei. Only a very small proportionof 2% of the respondents declared to have a salary greater than 7500 lei.Taking into account professional status, 42% of employees were declared to be skilled workers,only 19% were higher education specialists, and 15% were public services employees. Most of theemployees come from Bucharest-Ilfov (20%) or the north-west and center regions (13%), most ofthem working in small companies with at most 50 employees (31%), followed by those ones fromlarge companies (27%), from services (44%), manufacturing industry (24%), and retail trade (11%).Seventy percent of respondents were declared to work in limited liability companies, and only 7%were in the public sector (Figure 3).Sustainability Sustainability20202020,,1212, 6086 , x FOR PEER REVIEW 22 of 56 22 of 53Figure 3. Figure 3. Dashboard of the Romanian employee sample profile. Dashboard of the Romanian employee sample profile.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 23 of 534.2. Analysing the Main Characteristics of Work Flexibility and Job Satisfaction from the Perspective ofRomanian EmployeesInvestigating what are the main elements of work flexibility present among Romanianorganizations, 81% of employees mentioned team working, 47% indicated computer usage, followed byteleworking (24%) and job rotation (20%) (Figure 4).Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 23 of 564.2. Analysing the Main Characteristics of Work Flexibility and Job Satisfaction from the Perspective ofRomanian EmployeesInvestigating what are the main elements of work flexibility present among Romanianorganizations, 81% of employees mentioned team working, 47% indicated computer usage, followedby teleworking (24%) and job rotation (20%) (Figure 4).Figure 4. Main elements of work flexibility present in Romanian companies.In line with our objectives and examining the particularities of different forms of work flexibility,it can be highlighted that flexible employment was found only to a very small extent, only 3% ofemployees declared to work based on part-time contract, and only 1% of employees work on the basisof fixed duration contract with full time (Figure 5).Figure 5. Types of Romanian employee contracts.Also, flexible time arrangements seem to have a relatively small prevalence among Romanianorganizations—almost 40% of employees declared they work in a flexible manner and in shifts, whilean even smaller proportion declared to have flexible working hours per day and per week, flexiblenumber of days per week, or work outside normal working hours. Only 55 of interviewedrespondents declared to have more than one job (Figure 6).15% 17% 20% 24% 47%81%on the basis of anindefinite workingcontract with fullworking time:96%on the basis of anindefinite workingcontract withpart-time work:3%on a fixedduration contractof employmentwith full-timework: 1%on a fixed-termcontract withpart-time work:0%Figure 4. Main elements of work flexibility present in Romanian companies.In line with our objectives and examining the particularities of different forms of work flexibility,it can be highlighted that flexible employment was found only to a very small extent, only 3% ofemployees declared to work based on part-time contract, and only 1% of employees work on the basisof fixed duration contract with full time (Figure 5).Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 23 of 564.2. Analysing the Main Characteristics of Work Flexibility and Job Satisfaction from the Perspective ofRomanian EmployeesInvestigating what are the main elements of work flexibility present among Romanianorganizations, 81% of employees mentioned team working, 47% indicated computer usage, followedby teleworking (24%) and job rotation (20%) (Figure 4).Figure 4. Main elements of work flexibility present in Romanian companies.In line with our objectives and examining the particularities of different forms of work flexibility,it can be highlighted that flexible employment was found only to a very small extent, only 3% ofemployees declared to work based on part-time contract, and only 1% of employees work on the basisof fixed duration contract with full time (Figure 5).Figure 5. Types of Romanian employee contracts.Also, flexible time arrangements seem to have a relatively small prevalence among Romanianorganizations—almost 40% of employees declared they work in a flexible manner and in shifts, whilean even smaller proportion declared to have flexible working hours per day and per week, flexiblenumber of days per week, or work outside normal working hours. Only 55 of interviewedrespondents declared to have more than one job (Figure 6).15% 17% 20% 24% 47%81%on the basis of anindefinite workingcontract with fullworking time:96%on the basis of anindefinite workingcontract withpart-time work:3%on a fixedduration contractof employmentwith full-timework: 1%on a fixed-termcontract withpart-time work:0%Figure 5. Types of Romanian employee contracts.Also, flexible time arrangements seem to have a relatively small prevalence among Romanianorganizations—almost 40% of employees declared they work in a flexible manner and in shifts, while aneven smaller proportion declared to have flexible working hours per day and per week, flexible numberof days per week, or work outside normal working hours. Only 55 of interviewed respondents declaredto have more than one job (Figure 6).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 24 of 53Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 24 of 56Figure 6. Characteristics of working time flexibility in Romanian companies.The functional flexibility related to employee training is found only to a small extent inRomanian companies—only a third of employees testify that they have attended training coursespaid by their own employer or they have benefited from on the job training. A very small proportion(13%) of the Romanian employees invest in themselves by paying courses from their own funds(Figure 7).Figure 7. Main forms of functional flexibility.From the new types of workspaces assuring an increased level of flexibility, home working andpartial home working are the most commonly known and used among employees and companies(Figure 8).0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%Have you attendedtraining courses paidfor by your employer?Have you benefitedfrom on-the-jobtraining?Have you attendedpaid training coursesfrom your ownsources?Figure 6. Characteristics of working time flexibility in Romanian companies.The functional flexibility related to employee training is found only to a small extent in Romaniancompanies—only a third of employees testify that they have attended training courses paid by theirown employer or they have benefited from on the job training. A very small proportion (13%) of theRomanian employees invest in themselves by paying courses from their own funds (Figure 7).Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 24 of 56Figure 6. Characteristics of working time flexibility in Romanian companies.The functional flexibility related to employee training is found only to a small extent inRomanian companies—only a third of employees testify that they have attended training coursespaid by their own employer or they have benefited from on the job training. A very small proportion(13%) of the Romanian employees invest in themselves by paying courses from their own funds(Figure 7).Figure 7. Main forms of functional flexibility.From the new types of workspaces assuring an increased level of flexibility, home working andpartial home working are the most commonly known and used among employees and companies(Figure 8).0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%Have you attendedtraining courses paidfor by your employer?Have you benefitedfrom on-the-jobtraining?Have you attendedpaid training coursesfrom your ownsources?Figure 7. Main forms of functional flexibility.From the new types of workspaces assuring an increased level of flexibility, home working andpartial home working are the most commonly known and used among employees and companies(Figure 8).Numerical flexibility though flexible compensation and working time flexibility through flexiblework schedule have been mentioned as main measures needed in order to increase work flexibility.Teleworking has been stipulated by only 13% of employees (Figure 9).Romanian employees tend to be satisfied and very satisfied with their current job, almost 70% ofthem declaring this. Regarding salary, a higher proportion (31%) of them declare themselves neutral,and only 54% of them consider that the salary level is satisfactory for them (Figure 10).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 25 of 531Figure 8. Main forms of workspace flexibility.Figure 8. Main forms of workspace flexibility.Numerical flexibility though flexible compensation and working time flexibility through flexiblework schedule have been mentioned as main measures needed in order to increase work flexibility.Teleworking has been stipulated by only 13% of employees (Figure 9).Romanian employees tend to be satisfied and very satisfied with their current job, almost 70%of them declaring this. Regarding salary, a higher proportion (31%) of them declare themselvesneutral, and only 54% of them consider that the salary level is satisfactory for them (Figure 10).Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 26 of 56 Figure 9. Figure 9.Main measures to be taken to increase the work flexibility. Main measures to be taken to increase the work flexibility.Figure 10. Distribution of employees according to the level of satisfaction with the current job and salary.Investigating the correlation between job satisfaction and salary satisfaction, it can be stated thatjob satisfaction is directly correlated with salary—the higher the salary, the higher the satisfaction.This fact was highlighted by a positive and highly statistically significant value of both Kendall andSpearman correlation coefficients of the ranks of both Kendall and Spearman, the association beingone of medium intensity (Table 2)veryunsatisfiedunsatisfied eitherunsatisfiedeither satisfiedsatisfied very satisfied3% 5%22%43%27%3%12%31%36%18%How satisfied are you with your current job? How satisfied are you with the salary you receive?Figure 10. Distribution of employees according to the level of satisfaction with the current job and salary.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 26 of 53Investigating the correlation between job satisfaction and salary satisfaction, it can be stated thatjob satisfaction is directly correlated with salary—the higher the salary, the higher the satisfaction.This fact was highlighted by a positive and highly statistically significant value of both Kendall andSpearman correlation coefficients of the ranks of both Kendall and Spearman, the association beingone of medium intensity (Table 2).Table 2. The level of correlation between job satisfaction and salary satisfaction.How Satisfied AreYou with YourCurrent Job?How Satisfied AreYou with the SalaryYou Receive?Kendall’s tau_bHow Satisfied AreYou with YourCurrent Job?CorrelationCoefficient 1.000 0.601 **Sig. (2-tailed) 0.000Spearman’s rho How Satisfied AreYou with the SalaryYou Receive?CorrelationCoefficient 1.000 0.662 **Sig. (2-tailed) 0.000**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed). Sig. = Significance.Asked how they evaluated the motivation system in Romanian companies, most of respondentsSustainability (46%) declared that it has not changed and only 34% of them said that it has improved (Figure 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 27 of 56 11).Figure 11. In your opinion, compared to the previous year, how the motivation system in yourcompany changed?For Romanian employees, bonuses, a potential good salary, work attractiveness and job stabilityhave been identified as the highest motivational factors. It is worth mentioning that a mix of financialnon-financial incentives, together with bonuses and salaries, work attractiveness, and job stabilitywere ranked on the first positions.Therefore, it seems that, compared to previous years in which the focus was on non-financialincentives, in the recent period, financial incentives tend to return as important for Romanianemployees (Figure 12).4.49 4.50 4.53 4.55 4.564.424.35 4.374.02 4.04Figure 11. In your opinion, compared to the previous year, how the motivation system in yourcompany changed?For Romanian employees, bonuses, a potential good salary, work attractiveness and job stabilityhave been identified as the highest motivational factors. It is worth mentioning that a mix offinancial-non-financial incentives, together with bonuses and salaries, work attractiveness, and jobstability were ranked on the first positions.Therefore, it seems that, compared to previous years in which the focus was on non-financialincentives, in the recent period, financial incentives tend to return as important for Romanian employees(Figure 12).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 27 of 53have been identified as the highest motivational factors. It is worth mentioning that a mix of financialnon-financial incentives, together with bonuses and salaries, work attractiveness, and job stabilitywere ranked on the first positions.Therefore, it seems that, compared to previous years in which the focus was on non-financialincentives, in the recent period, financial incentives tend to return as important for Romanianemployees (Figure 12).Figure 12. The most important motivational factors for the Romanian employees.Romanian employees mentioned the importance of financial incentives, even if it is known thatthis type of measure will produce effects only in the short-term, the relevance of functional flexibilitythrough the participation to training courses, and the working time flexibility through a flexibleprogram as the main measures in increasing employee work motivation (Figure 13).4.49 4.50 4.53 4.55 4.564.424.35 4.374.02 4.04Figure 12. The most important motivational factors for the Romanian employees.Romanian employees mentioned the importance of financial incentives, even if it is known thatthis type of measure will produce effects only in the short-term, the relevance of functional flexibilitythrough the participation to training courses, and the working time flexibility through a flexibleprogram as the main measures in increasing employee work motivation (Figure Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 28 of 56 13).Figure 13. Main measures that need to be taken in order to improve the motivation of the employeesof the organization.Taking into account one of our objectives regarding the way in which new types of workspaces(FO, CW, HOT, HOP) influence job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and spacemanagement, level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professionalrelationships, level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation.This part of the analysis has a direct correspondence to our research questions and refers tohypotheses H4–H8. The survey evaluates the best workplace from the employee point of view,targeting two clusters-one of employees working in offices, at the level of which a choice of a differentwork space than the one in which they are currently working has been forced, and the second one ofrespondents who do not work in offices at the level of which there is the possibility to choose,including the space in which they currently work as a desirable space. For both clusters of employees,the impact on job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and space management, level ofcomfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professional relationships, levelof professional development, and the overall level of work motivation was assessed.However, from the perspective of work flexibility, we have undertaken in the analysis only thefirst cluster of employees working in offices (individual office, office space with up to 10 units, andFigure 13. Main measures that need to be taken in order to improve the motivation of the employees ofthe organization.Taking into account one of our objectives regarding the way in which new types of workspaces(FO, CW, HOT, HOP) influence job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and space management,level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professional relationships,level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation.This part of the analysis has a direct correspondence to our research questions and refers tohypotheses H4–H8. The survey evaluates the best workplace from the employee point of view,targeting two clusters-one of employees working in offices, at the level of which a choice of a differentwork space than the one in which they are currently working has been forced, and the second one ofrespondents who do not work in offices at the level of which there is the possibility to choose, includingthe space in which they currently work as a desirable space. For both clusters of employees, the impactSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 28 of 53on job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and space management, level of comfort, level oforganizational performance, level of personal and professional relationships, level of professionaldevelopment, and the overall level of work motivation was assessed.However, from the perspective of work flexibility, we have undertaken in the analysis only the firstcluster of employees working in offices (individual office, office space with up to 10 units, and officespace with more than 10 units); these forms of working space flexibility are very important (Figure 14).Home working have been mentioned as the perfect space for increasing employee productivity(42.1%), employee comfort (36.8%), and personal time and space management (34.7%).Partial home working is seen as optimal solution for increasing professional developmentby learning new things (35.1%), for increasing the organizational performance (33.8%), and forstrengthening social and professional relationships (31.2%).High percentages of positive contributions were assigned for CW in terms of personal andprofessional relationship improvement, as well as learning and professional development, while FOwas designated to lead to personal and professional relationship improvement.In terms of work motivation, almost one third of employees (29.8%) mentioned partial homeworking as the perfect mix between higher productivity (produced from working from home) and thesocial development obtained through the interaction of new people/colleagues.Therefore, the new ways of working are well known and frequently used, and there is greatopenness and interest in them. Home working has the most appreciations mainly in terms of laborproductivity, comfort, and time and space management, while partial home working has highlyappreciated in terms of organizational performance, relationships, learning and personal development.In terms of relationships, learning and personal development contributions were also made byco-working and flex-office. However, the most suitable solution, which results from the study, is a mixbetween working from home and working in company offices.4.3. A Brief Overview on the Main Differences Regarding Work Flexibility among Romanian EmployeesAccording to another objective of our research, we have investigated the main differences regardingwork flexibility characteristics among Romanian employees, the main findings being synthesized asfollows (Table 3):• The functional flexibility through training courses paid by the employer is more widespread inlarge companies, among employees from age group 26–35 years being mostly higher educationspecialists and technicians, or working in west and center regions, while employees fromBucharest-Ilfov tend to pay for training courses themselves. Employees from age group 55 yearsold benefited from on-th- job training;• The lack of flexible working time arrangements has been pointed out by men, by employees aged36–55 years old, by unqualified workers, by workers with small level of seniority in the company,being more prevalent in South-East region;• The contractual flexibility is more widespread among young employees under the age of 26 yearsold, among men who are more inclined to have a flexible remuneration, depending on the effortand the allocated time, together with the extension of holidays and also among employees with ahigh level of seniority;• The new ways of working tend to be more commonly known among employees from microcompanies, to be relevant for both qualified and unqualified workers, to be appreciated byemployees from the age group 36–45 years old. Home working and partial home working aremore present in the north-east region, while co-working and flex office are more prevalent inthe north-west;• Teleworking has been designated as a main measure to increase work flexibility by men, by youngemployees, by employees from the central region, by employees from middle management, by thoseSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 29 of 53with between 3–5 years of experience in management positions, and by those with mediumearnings. Teleworking is also important for small companies and for limited liability companies.• A flexible working schedule, flexible remuneration and the extension of holidays were consideredrelevant methods for increasing work flexibility among men, higher education specialists,and employees in medium and high-level management;• Teamwork is important as a measure in increasing work flexibility for those employees with highsalaries belonging to middle management;• Updating job posts according to new tasks is more common in large companies and among thosewith high salaries and those with more than 10 years’ experience.Figure 14. The impact of new forms of workspace.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 30 of 53Table 3. The empirical results of the main differences regarding work flexibility characteristics.GenderSig. (Mann–Whitney Test)RegionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)AgeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)MainOccupationSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Length ofServiceSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Experiment inManagementPositionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)SalarySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanySizeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanyLegal StatusSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Sector ofActivitySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Contractual flexibility(type of contracts). 0.172 0.581 0.000 * 0.643 0.018 ** 0.381 0.713 0.884 0.621 0.423Main forms of work flexibility present at the jobRotation of stations. 0.417 0.081 *** 0.228 0.272 0.884 0.433 0.655 0.289 0.959 0.572Teamwork. 0.194 0.235 0.581 0.084 *** 0.862 0.237 0.098 *** 0.300 0.581 0.318Computer usage. 0.855 0.084 *** 0.073 *** 0.038 ** 0.795 0.361 0.140 0.342 0.542 0.862Teleworking (remote work, athome or at a nearby office). 0.050 ** 0.000 * 0.038 ** 0.072 *** 0.385 0.001 * 0.022 ** 0.081 *** 0.009 * 0.523Improving of workorganization of work. 0.862 0.241 0.033 ** 0.931 1.000 0.620 0.559 0.616 0.528 0.714Updating job post accordingto new tasks. 0.285 0.177 0.523 0.992 0.311 0.020 ** 0.074 *** 0.098 *** 0.371 0.727Main elements regarding the working time flexibilityDo you work 40 h per weekat the main job? 0.243 0.272 0.007 * 0.882 0.094 *** 0.910 0.542 0.813 0.831 0.098 ***Do you have more thanone job? 0.723 0.387 0.571 0.035 ** 0.311 0.451 0.332 0.489 0.019 ** 0.674Do you work the samenumber of hours every day? 0.523 0.055 ** 0.419 0.298 0.553 0.446 0.375 0.630 0.260 0.122Do you work the samenumber of days every week? 0.315 0.165 0.921 0.810 0.427 0.433 0.410 0.842 0.251 0.637Start and finish the programat fixed hours? 0.086 *** 0.000 * 0.011 * 0.054 ** 0.003 * 0.645 0.179 0.376 0.514 0.069 ***Are you working in shifts? 0.946 0.016 ** 0.219 0.000 * 0.791 0.165 0.003 0.060 0.194 0.003 *Do you work flexible? 0.122 0.000 * 0.395 0.536 0.505 0.522 0.393 0.870 0.239 0.494Have you been consultedabout changes in workorganization and yourworking conditions?0.061 *** 0.000 * 0.521 0.050 ** 0.698 0.403 0.550 0.090 *** 0.263 0.920Is your work evaluatedperiodically? 0.818 0.000 * 0.715 0.082 *** 0.311 0.927 0.359 0.187 0.773 0.050 **Do you think you are wellinformed about the healthand safety risks of yourworkplace?0.291 0.001 * 0.138 0.122 0.151 0.545 0.583 0.203 0.556 0.407Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 31 of 53Table 3. Cont.GenderSig. (Mann–Whitney Test)RegionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)AgeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)MainOccupationSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Length ofServiceSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Experiment inManagementPositionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)SalarySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanySizeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanyLegal StatusSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Sector ofActivitySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Main forms of functional flexibilityAttending training coursespaid by the employer. 0.890 0.001 * 0.040 ** 0.042 ** 0.125 0.000 * 0.036 ** 0.029 ** 0.621 0.419Attending paid trainingcourses from yourown sources.0.152 0.046 ** 0.469 0.000 * 0.392 0.030 ** 0.017 ** 0.354 0.659 0.187Benefit fromon-the-job training. 0.151 0.542 0.018 ** 0.054 ** 0.600 0.786 0.223 0.372 0.809 0.885Level of satisfactionassociated with the workingconditions of current job.0.895 0.051 ** 0.002 ** 0.161 0.786 0.505 0.011 * 0.460 0.364 0.337Main measures that need to be taken to increase the flexibility of employing the workforce and the working time of employeesA flexible work schedule. 0.320 0.483 0.288 0.093 *** 0.608 0.318 0.269 0.718 0.128 0.764The ability to work fromhome or from a space nearhome (teleworking).0.049 ** 0.110 0.072 *** 0.573 0.310 0.875 0.649 0.674 0.043 ** 0.887Independent working teamsto manage their time togetherto identify a task(work team autonomy).0.116 0.837 0.207 0.632 0.263 0.771 0.264 0.918 0.734 0.738Flexible remuneration,depending on the effort andthe allocated time.0.025 ** 0.671 0.608 0.074 *** 0.427 0.249 0.472 0.184 0.373 0.165Ability to work outside ofregular program hours. 0.304 0.832 0.551 0.808 0.185 0.680 0.660 0.982 0.772 0.593Better management of thespace to minimize travelduring work.0.790 0.224 0.522 0.442 0.875 0.193 0.988 0.337 0.377 0.695Better management of fixedassets (technologies,equipment) to put as littleeffort into their use.0.132 0.069 *** 0.637 0.613 0.498 0.840 0.609 0.779 0.063 *** 0.563Extending holidays. 0.090 *** 0.173 0.661 0.078 *** 0.200 0.797 0.138 0.654 0.562 0.221Reduction of work week. 0.909 0.238 0.227 0.683 0.684 0.451 0.775 0.618 0.628 0.683Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 32 of 53Table 3. Cont.GenderSig. (Mann–Whitney Test)RegionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)AgeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)MainOccupationSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Length ofServiceSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Experiment inManagementPositionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)SalarySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanySizeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanyLegal StatusSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Sector ofActivitySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)New ways of workingHome working. 0.032 ** 0.000 * 0.011 * 0.000 * 0.459 0.011 * 0.016 ** 0.017 ** 0.058 *** 0.049 **Partial home working. 0.050 ** 0.000 * 0.005 * 0.000 * 0.627 0.011 * 0.015 ** 0.012 ** 0.120 0.048 **Co working. 0.043 ** 0.000 * 0.009 * 0.000 * 0.493 0.011 * 0.005 * 0.018 ** 0.096 *** 0.084 **Flex office. 0.079 *** 0.000 * 0.004 * 0.000 * 0.541 0.011 * 0.007 * 0.016 ** 0.080 *** 0.109Note: *** Correlation is significant at the 0.10 level (two-tailed). ** Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (two-tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 33 of 534.4. Building to Measure the Romanian Employee Flexibility Using Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA)In line with the research question, “Overall is there a high level of work flexibility among Romanianemployees?” and trying to test the hypothesis H1, the present section used the MCA for buildinga first multi-dimensional work flexibility indicator for Romanian employees aiming to capture thephenomenon from different angles. The research has been structured into two main stages.In the first stage, all 18 items with 56 modalities from four dimensions of flexibility have beenincluded in the analysis in order to provide a first indication of the of the association patterns with theprinciple component. In the second stage, we have reversed some items of contractual flexibility andworking time flexibility dimensions in order to achieve the monotonicity axiom. Also, in this step,the number of variables was reduced to meet the consistency properties of the principal component.Therefore, we have eliminated the presence of fixed-term employment contracts with full workingtime, working the same number of days per week, and the presence of job training in order to assurethe first axis ordering consistency (FAOC-I) applying MCA to 15 items.Knowing from literature that several forms of work flexibility support sustainability andacknowledging that the contractual flexibility can support sustainability only under specific conditions,however, the main goal of the paper was to offer a global perspective from different point of view ofindividuals work flexibility level by building a global index highlighting the contribution of the mainexistent types of work flexibility among Romanian organizations.It is worth mentioning that, even if contractual flexibility could support sustainability only inparticular situations, while the other dimensions of work flexibility exhibited positive impact ofsustainable HRM, the contribution of this component in the overall measure of work flexibility is thesmallest, and therefore, the impact could be considered negligible.The empirical results of final MCA based on Burt matrix are presented in Table 4. The MCAperformed on the remaining variables led to an increase in the explanatory power of the first factor,which rose from 54% to 62.4%. The second dimension explained another 14.5%, cumulating a total of79.94% of principal inertia (Table 4).Table 4. Inertia decomposition of flexibility variables.Dimension Principal Inertia Percent Cumulating PercentDim. 1 0.0384 62.4 62.4Dim. 2 0.0090 14.54 76.94Dim. 3 0.0016 2.57 79.51Dim. 4 0.0001 0.15 79.66Dim. 5 0.0000 0.07 79.73Total 0.0616 100The value of Cronbach’s Alpha (0.73) supported our hypothesis of building a composite flexibilityindicator, the value being superior to the threshold of 0.7.In order to determine the CFI for each employee, based on the functional form of the CFi previouslyexpressed, the weights (factorial scores on first axis presented in Appendix A) attributed to the variablemodalities were used. Analyzing the weights from Appendix A, we can determine the relevance thatthe analysis attributes to each type of flexibility. As a rule of thumb, we consider values larger thantwo as an indication of key flexibility factors. Therefore, we find employees who practice all the newworkspaces such as home-working, partial home-working, co-working, and flex-office and who havealso participated in paid courses from their own resources as having the highest level of flexibility.Analyzing the discriminating power of each indicator in each of the factorial axis, we can weeasily see that the most discriminating indicators, in the first axis, are (Figure 15)
X
Do you work in shifts? (0.857)
X
Have you participated in paid courses from your own resources? (0.833)
Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 34 of 53
X
Do you practice co-working? (0.822)
X
Have you participated in training courses paid for by your employer? (0.819)
X
Do you practice partial home working? (0.802)The most discriminating indicators, in the second axis areDo you work 40 h a week at your main job? (0.77)
X
X
You are an employee on the basis of a fixed-term employment contract with part-time work (0.568)
X
You are an employee on the basis of an indefinite employment contract with full workingtime (0.534)You are an employee on the basis of an indefinite employment contract with part-time work (0.463)
X
Analyzing the joint category plot (Figure 16), it can be observed that the closer the responsecategory’s vector position is to the origin, the more similar the response profile is to the averageprofile [126]. A feature of MCA when using binary variables is that the positive and negative pointfor each variable is situated 180 degrees away from the origin on the map [130]. The interest is inseeing “which” side each point falls on relative to the other variables, and we can mention that theresponse categories for presence of work flexibility are mostly on the positive side of Dimension 1, andthose for absence of work flexibility on the negative side, in all areas except for indefinite employmentcontract with full working time. This separation of “1s” and “0s” on either side of Dimension 1 showsthat, with the exception of indefinite employment contract with full working time, the most importantdifference in the sample is between having and not having work flexibility. This separation also impliesthat areas are positively correlated except for an indefinite employment contract with full working time.After analyzing the signs of the weights, we concluded that a negative sign reduces flexibility,while a positive sign positively contributes to employee flexibility. Using these weights, we createdthe CFI of each employee. To avoid having negative values of CFI, we estimated the average of thenegative values of the CFI and add the absolute value of this average to the CFI of each employee toobtain the positive CFI scores.Analyzing the relative contribution of the variables to the composite flexibility indicator, we canhighlighted that working in shifts, participation in courses paid from the own resources, co-working,and participation in courses paid by the employer contribute the most to the construction of the firstaxis which is the axis of working time flexibility and functional flexibility mix (Table 5).Table 5. The relative contribution of the variables to the first dimension.Variables Relative Contribution (%) to the First DimensionYou are employee on the basis of an indefinite employmentcontract with full working time. 0.39You are employee on the basis of an indefinite employmentcontract with part-time work. 0.71You are employee on the basis of a fixed-term employmentcontract with part-time work. 0.08Do you work 40 h a week at your main job? 1.03Do you have more than one job? 6.25Do you work the same number of hours every day? 1.58Do you start and end the program at fixed hours? 6.41Do you work in shifts? 11.87Do you work flexible hours? 4.31Have you participated in training courses paid for by youremployer? 11.35Have you participated in paid courses from your own sources? 11.54Do you practice home working? 11.03Do you practice partial home working? 11.11Do you practice co-working? 11.39Do you practice flex-office? 10.97100.00Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 35 of 53Figure 15. Multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) dimension discrimination measure.ST1-indefinite employment contract with full working timeST2-indefinite employment contract with part-time workST3-fixed-term employment contract with part-time workST4-Do you work 40 h a week at your main job?ST5-Do you have more than one job?ST6-Do you work the same number of hours every day?ST7-Do you start and end the program at fixed hours?ST8-Do you work in shifts?ST9-Do you work flexible hours?ST10-Have you participated in training courses paid by employer?ST11- Have you participated in courses paid from your own sources?ST12-Do you practice home-working?ST13-Do you practice partial home-working?ST14-Do you practice co-working?ST15-Do you practice flex-officeFigure 15. Multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) dimension discrimination measure.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 36 of 53Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 37 of 56Figure 16 Figure 16. . Joint category plot of the Joint category plot of the explored variable categories. explored variable categories.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 37 of 53Following the MCA procedure, we can finally calculate the CFI for each employee as the averageof its weight categories corresponding to the average of standardized scores on the first factorial axis.The extreme values of the CFI calculated are -0.933 (the employee with the lowest level ofwork flexibility) and 3.026 (the employee with the highest level of work flexibility) among Romanianemployees, stipulating that• An employee that has the smallest CFI value (-0.933) has an indefinite employment contract withfull working time, working 40 h a week at the job, having usually only one job, working the samenumber of hours every day, starting and ending the program at fixed hours, working in shifts andnot working in flexible hours, not participating in training courses paid for by the employer orwith its own resources, and not practicing any forms of workspace (HOT, HOP, CW, FO).• An employee that has the highest CFI value (3.026) has an indefinite employment contract withpart-time work or a fixed-term employment contract with part-time work, not working 40 h aweek at the job, having more than one job, not working the same number of hours every day,not starting and ending the program at fixed hours, not working in shifts and working in flexiblehours, participating in training courses paid for by the employer or with its own resources,and practicing all types of workspace (HOT, HOP, CW, FO).To facilitate interpretation, we have rescaled the work flexibility indicator to take values between0 and 100, where 0—lowest level of flexibility and 100—highest level of flexibility. The average levelof flexibility index among interviewed Romanian employees was computed to be 50.22 revealing amedium level of flexibility, with significant differences among demographic variables. Analyzingthe main descriptive statistics (Table 6), we can mention that the average level of flexibility indexamong interviewed Romanian employees was computed to be 50.22, revealing a medium level ofwork flexibility among Romanian employees, while most of Romanian employees (n = 85 employees)rather exhibited a small level of work flexibility, while for medium and high level, the frequenciesare balanced (n = 69 employees respectively 66 employees). The empirical results of Chi-Square testrevealed that there are no statistically significant differences among three categories of employees(employees with low, medium, and high flexibility), the distribution being equilibrated. However,only 30% of Romanian employees registered a higher level of work flexibility, the index value beinghigher than the threshold of 70.Table 6. Descriptive statistics of composite index of work flexibility.Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative PercentValid≤35.00 85 38.6 38.6 38.635.01–70.00 69 31.4 31.4 70.070.01+ 66 30.0 30.0 100.0Total 220 100.0 100.0Analyzing the variations in the work flexibility index according to regions of development,company size, the legal regime of the company, the activity sector, and the main occupation ofthe employee, we can mentioned that the ANOVA analysis supported the hypothesis of statisticaldifferences for all the variables, with the only exception of the company size. Therefore, employeesfrom the center and Bucharest-Ilfov; from national companies or public institutions; from companiesactivating in wholesale, services, or constructions; being general managers, directors, or a personholding a senior or a middle management position; or being a higher education specialist have a higherlevel of work flexibility.The correlation coefficient between work flexibility indicator and the overall level of job and salarysatisfaction revealed in both cases a positive statistically significant relationship but weak as intensity(Figure 17).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 38 of 53activating in wholesale, services, or constructions; being general managers, directors, or a personholding a senior or a middle management position; or being a higher education specialist have ahigher level of work flexibility.The correlation coefficient between work flexibility indicator and the overall level of job andsalary satisfaction revealed in both cases a positive statistically significant relationship but weak asintensity (Figure 17).Figure 17. The relationship between work flexibility index and salary and job satisfaction level.4.5. Flexible Working Increases Job Satisfaction? An Empirical Analysis among Romanian Employees Basedon Binomial Logistic Regression Models0.001.002.003.004.005.00low work flexibilitylevelmedium workflexibility levelhigh work flexibilitylevelOverall level of job satisfaction Overall level of salary satisfactionFigure 17. The relationship between work flexibility index and salary and job satisfaction level.4.5. Flexible Working Increases Job Satisfaction? An Empirical Analysis among Romanian Employees Based onBinomial Logistic Regression Models TC “4.6.4. Contribut,ii Privind Evident,ierea Impactului Elementelor deFlexibilitatea în Muncă Asupra Nivelului General de Motivare al Angajat,ilor Români Utilizând Modelul deRegresie Logistică Binomială” nf C nl “3”In line with our research questions and aiming to test the hypotheses H2–H3, we have investigatedthe impact of work flexibility, considered as an overall measure as well as individual components,highlighting its implications on job satisfaction as one of the main outcomes of sustainable HRM. If thefocus is the transition to sustainable HRM, it makes sense to identify the characteristics of sustainableHRM that could lead to an increase in the outcomes of sustainable HRM. Therefore, in this context,we anchored work flexibility and its implication on job satisfaction. The empirical results are presentedin Table 7. In order to capture the impact of both overall measure and individual forms of workflexibility, two logistic regression models have been estimated.Table 7. The empirical results of the relationship between work flexibility and job satisfaction.Model I Model IIVariables B Sig. Exp (B) B Sig. Exp (B)Degree of satisfaction regarding salary(ref = otherwise)satisfied4.645 0.000 *** 104.077 3.699 0.000 *** 40.427Work flexibility composite indicator 0.026 0.020 ** 1.026Control variablesGender (ref = male)female 1.131 0.100 * 3.099 0.321 0.558 1.378Occupation (ref = higher education specialist) 0.108 0.030general manager, director or a person holdinga senior management position -3.146 0.086 * 0.043 -1.114 0.501 0.328person holding a middle managementposition (head of department, head of office) -0.576 0.752 0.562 1.382 0.599 3.985technician -2.831 0.035 ** 0.059 -3.648 0.004 *** 0.026employed in public services (hospital, publiccatering, police, firefighters) -0.518 0.624 0.596 0.669 0.491 1.951qualified worker -2.530 0.008 *** 0.080 -1.120 0.138 0.326unqualified worker -2.870 0.019 ** 0.057 -2.803 0.009 *** 0.061Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 39 of 53Table 7. Cont.Model I Model IIVariables B Sig. Exp (B) B Sig. Exp (B)Age (ref = under 26) 0.879 0.55926–35 years -0.576 0.700 0.562 -2.195 0.137 0.11136–45 years -0.939 0.547 0.391 -2.441 0.111 0.08746–55 years -1.092 0.478 0.335 -2.508 0.095 * 0.081Over 55 years -1.846 0.403 0.158 -1.959 0.272 0.141Seniority (ref = less than 1 year) 0.109 0.1851–3 years -0.469 0.683 0.625 0.460 0.661 1.5853–5 years -0.946 0.446 0.388 0.131 0.912 1.1405–10 years -0.841 0.468 0.431 0.242 0.824 1.274Over 10 years 1.281 0.281 3.601 1.690 0.111 5.419Company size (ref = 1–9 employees) 0.048 0.11810–49 employees 1.520 0.070 * 4.574 0.660 0.357 1.93450–249 employees -0.885 0.329 0.413 -0.922 0.250 0.398Over 250 employees 0.710 0.405 2.033 0.545 0.501 1.724Company activity sector (ref = agriculture) 0.088 0.124Manufacturing industry -0.904 0.625 0.405 -0.032 0.985 0.969Wholesale -2.846 0.202 0.058 -2.383 0.233 0.092Retail -3.006 0.127 0.049 -1.639 0.315 0.194Services -3.446 0.065 * 0.032 -2.347 0.140 0.096construction -0.258 0.894 0.772 -0.163 0.921 0.849Another sector -1.038 0.607 0.354 -1.000 0.586 0.368Company legal regime (ref = limited liabilitycompany)Stock company0 0.357General Partnership -0.297 0.765 0.743Limited Partnership -18.649 1.000 0.000Autonomous company 2.759 0.199 15.781National company -2.043 0.058 * 0.130Public Institution -0.826 0.480 0.438Constant 0.245 0.932 1.277 2.351 0.302 10.492Contractual flexibilityType of contract (ref = based on employmentcontract of indefinite duration with fullworking time)1.000based on an indefinite employment contractwith part-time work -0.066 0.982 0.936based on a fixed-term employment contractwith full working time 20.215 0.999 601,744,208.607based on a fixed-term employment contractwith part-time work 20.911 1.000 1,207,026,856.9Working time flexibilityDo you work 40 h a week at your main job?(Ref = no)Yes-1.078 0.279 0.340Do you have more than one job? (Ref = no)Yes 23.323 0.998 13,465,568,754.7Do you work the same number of hours everyday? (Ref = no)Yes1.581 0.061 * 4.861Do you work the same number of days eachweek? (Ref = no)Yes-1.557 0.083 * 0.211Do you start and end the program at fixedhours? (Ref = no)Yes-0.874 0.285 0.417Do you work in shifts? (Ref = no)Yes 0.417 0.532 1.518Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 40 of 53Table 7. Cont.Model I Model IIVariables B Sig. Exp (B) B Sig. Exp (B)Do you work flexible hours (ref = no)Yes 0.627 0.337 1.872Functional flexibilityDid you participate on training courses paidfor by the employer? (Ref = no)Yes1.602 0.024 ** 4.962Did you participate on paid courses from yourown sources? (Ref = no)Yes-0.884 0.417 0.413Have you received training at work? (Ref =no)Yes-0.180 0.807 0.836Workspace flexibilityHave you practiced home working? (Ref = no)Yes 6.151 0.014 ** 469.008Did you practice home working partially?(Ref = no)Yes3.031 0.100 * 0.048Did you practice co-working? (Ref = no)Yes 2.105 0.101 * 8.203Did you practice flex-office? (Ref = no)Yes -0.219 0.857 0.804Note: *** Correlation is significant at the 0.10 level (two-tailed). ** Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level(two-tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed).The empirical results of the first model highlighting the influence of individual forms of flexibilityon the overall level of job satisfaction among Romanian employees revealed salary satisfaction exhibiteda positive and statistically significant impact on the job satisfaction, revealing that employees who aresatisfied with received earnings tend to be satisfied with their job.The empirical results highlighted that gender and occupation as individual characteristics andcompany size and company activity sector as employment related characteristics significantly influencedthe overall level of job satisfaction of Romanian employees.Women are more satisfied with their job compared to men, while compared to job satisfaction ofspecialists with higher education, people with senior management positions, technicians, and skilledand unskilled workers tend to be less satisfied with their jobs.Compared to micro-enterprises, employees of small companies with up to 10 employees are moresatisfied with their current job, while employees from services tend to be less satisfied with their jobsin comparison with those from agriculture, a sign of the coefficient being a negative one.Age and seniority of employees do not significantly impact the degree of satisfaction with theircurrent job, the probabilities of the coefficients being higher than the maximum significance thresholdof 10%.Analyzing now the impact of different forms of work flexibility on job satisfaction, the empiricalresults revealed that contractual flexibility captured by indefinite employment contract with part-timework or fixed-term employment contract with full time or part –time does not reflect any impact onthe satisfaction of Romanian employees regarding their job, the probabilities of the coefficients beinggreater than the maximum significance level of 10%.Elements of working time arrangements statistically impacted the overall level of job satisfactioneven, revealing a certain pattern. Romanian employees are more satisfied working the same number ofhours per day, but more willing to have a flexibility in the number of days per week, and this behaviorsignificantly influence the overall level of their satisfaction. In the last few years, more and moreSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 41 of 53Romanian employers allowed their own employees to either work from home or have a shorter Friday,or a totally free day, and this is also reflected in the level of satisfaction.Functional flexibility statistically and positively impacted the overall level of job satisfactionmainly through the channel of training courses paid by the employer who lead to an increase in thegeneral job satisfaction of employees.Workspace flexibility statistically and positively impacted the overall level of job satisfactionthrough its channels of home working, partial home-working and co-working. For Romanianemployees, it has become essential that employers allow a mix of home and office working, as well asworking in rented spaces, in an environment with several social relations, characterized by importantcommunity relations and resource sharing (resource sharing), to increase the level of satisfaction andalso the longer-term retentive degree.The empirical results of the second model, highlighting the influence of multidimensional flexibilitycomposite indicator on the overall level of job satisfaction among Romanian employees, confirmed thatsalary satisfaction preserved the same positive and statistically significant impact on job satisfaction.Technicians and unskilled workers tend to be less satisfied with their job, while the level of jobsatisfaction tends to decrease with the age, employees from the age group 46–55 years old being lesssatisfied with their jobs compared with the youth.Employees from national companies tend to be less satisfied with their jobs compared with thoseones from limited liability companies.The impact of the overall measure of work flexibility on the overall level of job satisfaction waspositive and highly significant, revealing that a higher level of work flexibility, taking into account acombination of different forms, increases the employee level of job satisfaction. A 10 unit increase inthe work flexibility index increases the log odds of job satisfaction by 0.26.The Hosmer and Lemeshow test (Appendix B), which shows whether the model adequatelydescribes the data, highlights a good fit of the data because the probability is above the 5% threshold.The classification table provides us with information about the classification of individuals.Thus, of those who declared themselves satisfied, the model correctly classifies 140 people, with apercentage of 92.1%, while of those who declared themselves dissatisfied or neutral, the model correctlyclassifies a number of 55 individuals, cumulating in a success rate of 82.1%. In total, the model correctlyclassifies a percentage of 89% (Table 8).Table 8. Classification table a. Degree of satisfaction with the current job.ObservedPredictedJob_SatisfPercentage CorrectElse Satisfied tModel Ijob_satisf Else 55 12 82.1Satisfied 12 140 92.1Overall Percentage 89.0Model IIjob_satisf Else 49 16 75.4Satisfied 13 135 91.2Overall Percentage 86.4a The cut value is 0.500.4.6. A Brief Overview on the Main Empirical ResultsSummarizing the most relevant empirical results of our research, we should mention that:Hypothesis 1 was supported by the fact that the average value of the composite index of workflexibility registered the value of 50.22, pointing out a medium level of work flexibility among Romanianemployees. Additionally, in order to respond to the following research questions: “What is the levelof work flexibility registered by most employees?” and “How many employees have a high level ofSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 42 of 53work flexibility?”, we can say that almost 40% of Romanian employees exhibited a small level of workflexibility, and only one third of Romanian employees registered a higher level of work flexibility,the index value being higher than the threshold of 70.Hypothesis 2 was only partially supported by the empirical results.Contractual flexibility proxies by indefinite employment contract with part-time work or fixed-termemployment contract with full time or part time does not support hypothesis H2, not leading to anincrease in the job satisfaction due to the coefficients’ lack of significance.Working time arrangements only partially supported H2. Although both were working the samenumber of hours per day, and the same number of days per week, Romanian employees are morewilling to have flexibility in the number of days per week, behavior that significantly influences theoverall level of their satisfaction. In the last few years, more and more Romanian employers allowedtheir own employees to either work from home or have a shorter Friday or a totally free day, and thisis reflected also in the level of satisfaction. Working time arrangements brings its share of contributionto sustainable HRM through flexible number of days per week leading to an increase in the overalllevel of job satisfaction.Functional flexibility supported hypothesis H2 through the statistically significant coefficientof training courses paid by the employer who lead to an increase in the general job satisfaction ofemployees. The functional flexibility brings its share of contribution to sustainable HRM through thechannel of employee development, an important characteristic of HRM.Workspace flexibility supported H2 through the statistically and positive impact of home working,partial home working and co-working, leading to an increase in overall job satisfaction. For Romanianemployees, it becomes essential that this mix of home and office working, as well as working inrented spaces, in an environment with several social relations, characterized by important communityrelations and resource sharing (resource sharing) to increase the level of satisfaction and also thelonger-term retentive degree.Hypothesis 3 was supported by the positive and highly significant coefficient of the work flexibilitycomposite index, a global measure including different forms of flexibility and leading to an increase inthe level of job satisfaction.H4 was supported through a high percentage of positive contributions, confirming that HOT, as anew type of working, is associated with a higher level of job performance, a better management ofpersonal time and space, and a higher level of comfort.H5 was supported through a high percentage of positive contributions, confirming that HOP,as a new type of working, is associated with a higher level of organizational performance, a higherwork motivation, higher personal and professional relationships, and a higher level of learning andprofessional development.H6 was supported through a high percentage of positive contributions, confirming that CW, as anew type of working, is associated with higher personal and professional relationships, and higherlevel of learning and professional development.H7 was supported through a high percentage of positive contributions, confirming that FO, as anew type of working, is associated with higher personal and professional relationships.H8 was supported through high a percentage of positive contributions, confirming that HOP isassociated with a higher level of work motivation.4.7. Emphasizing the Main Implications for Sustainable HRMIn the face of current challenges, the concept of HRM needs to be redefined, with sustainable HRMbeing a more appropriate approach to actual human resource management. Sustainable HRM aims atlong-term objectives and results, being characterized by employee and environmental care, employeeparticipation and development, external partnership, flexibility, compliance with labor regulations,cooperation between employees, equity, and equality, without affecting profitability.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 43 of 53Among the main characteristics of sustainable HRM, two core characteristics:employee development and a mix of flexible working time and new types of workspaces areparticularly important from the perspective of their impact on two main outcomes of sustainable HRM:job satisfaction and job performance.In the light of achieving sustainable HRM, the positive influence of employee development on jobsatisfaction as an important outcome of sustainable HRM can be revealed.Employees are key stakeholders in the formation and development of the organization’s human andsocial capital and are a key source of knowledge and support for the development and implementationof sustainable HRM.Employees working desired hours tend to be more motivated and spend a longer periodof time without changing jobs. In recent years, this paradigm shift conduced to an increase onemployee autonomy, interruptions during work schedules to meet employee needs, employeeparticipation on decision making, workspace modelling, increasing employee creativity andproductivity. Job performance and satisfaction influences sustainable HR practices, so their knowledgeis essential to be able to redefine HRM according to current needs. If an organization wants to practicesustainable HRM, it should focus on developing employees in sustainability, by engaging them throughtaskforces, trainings and in the sustainability strategy’s design and implementation.Employee development needs to be oriented mainly in the acquiring of skills and capacities thatemployees can use in the future and seeing employees as a main asset as well as agents of change [3].Hirsig et al. [43] and Stankeviˇciut ¯ e and Savaneviˇcie [ ˙ 3] highlighted the importance of investment intraining and education for human resources, creating a win–win situation both for employees (futureemployability and career opportunities) and for employer (profitability and success).The presence of sustainability in HRM can be revealed through employee development via on thejob training, which can be seen as a cost saving approach, leading in turn to higher job motivation [43]as well as from the perspective of attracting new employees [3] sending the message that the companyis interested in their long term retention.From the perspective of sustainable HRM, flexible employment forms hardly support the idea ofsustainability and do not highlighted any impact of job satisfaction at the level of Romanian employees.A mix of flexible working times and new types of workspaces represents a potential solutionfor sustainable HRM, increasing the level of job satisfaction and resulting in lesser use of companycars and reduced need for large buildings, both of which will help the environment. Other than that,employees will benefit from increased freedom and control which will lead to a better work-life balanceand lower levels of stress.Therefore, if the challenge is to redesign the actual human resource management in order toachieve the desideratum of sustainable HRM, the attention needs to be on a mixture of employeedevelopment-flexible and time-flexible places leading to an increase in both employee job satisfactionand organizational performance, as important outcomes of sustainable HRM. Sustainable HRM shouldstrive to be involved with the sustainability strategy from the beginning, which will positively influencetheir perceived possibilities for putting sustainability on the map and their role in enthusing, facilitatingand motivating employees for sustainability.5. Conclusions and Policy Implications5.1. Main Conclusions of the ResearchOver time, the global market has undergone important changes in the nature of the workthat employees and organizations have to deal with, such as more knowledge-intensive content,rapid technological change, constant innovation, and more flexible jobs and time programs.The role of the employee become even more important. Employees working desired hours tendto be more motivated and spend a longer period of time without changing jobs. In recent years thisparadigm shift conduced to an increase on employee autonomy, interruptions during work schedulesSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 44 of 53to meet employee needs, employee participation on decision making, workspace modelling, increasingemployee creativity and productivity. The knowledge of job performance and satisfaction as importantoutcomes of is essential to be able to redefine HRM according to current needs.Work flexibility offers to employees a balance between professional and personal life, leading tojob satisfaction and performance, with positive consequences of the well-being of the organization.Work flexibility is very important, digital transformations and technology allowing a carrying out ofactivities based on an internet connection in many areas.In such a context, the paper investigated the relationship between employee development andworktime and workspace flexibility as relevant characteristics of sustainable HRM, job satisfactionand job performance among Romanian employees in order to identify how to redesign HRM in theface of “future work” challenges. Thus, the paper aims to examine the impact of different types offlexibility—functional, working time and workspace flexibility in order to highlight the relevance ofemployee development and employee flexibility as important aspects of sustainable HRM in increasingthe overall level of employee job satisfaction.In order to do that, an employee flexibility composite indicator taking into account the main fourtypes of flexibility has been developed on the basis of Romanian employees’ points of view gathered bya national representative survey using the multiple correspondence analysis. Furthermore, the impactof both individual types of flexibility as well as employee flexibility composite indicator on the overalllevel of job satisfaction has been quantified using binary logistic regression models. Within the research,special attention was granted to the impact of new types of workspaces (FO, CW, HOT, HOP) on thejob performance, job satisfaction, organizational performance, professional growth and development,social and professional relationships, and personal professional performance as well as on the overalllevel of work motivation.The empirical results revealed that the main forms of work flexibility mentioned by Romanianemployees were work in team, computer usage, teleworking and job rotation. Analyzing the responseprovided by the respondents, it can be highlighted that flexible forms of employment or functionalflexibility were present on the Romanian labor market only in a small extent, a larger field being wonby working time flexibility and workspace flexibility.The functional flexibility related to employee training was found only to a small extent withinRomanian companies, only a third of employees benefiting from training course paid by theirown employer.A little more than one third of Romanian employees declared to work in a flexible manner and aneven smaller proportion declared to benefit from flexible working hours, flexible number of days perweek, working in shifts, or work outside normal working hours.In terms of workspace flexibility, the new types of workspaces were highly appreciated byemployees, creating a great openness and interest in them.Home working has the most appreciations mainly in terms of labor productivity, comfort and timeand space management, while partial home working has highly appreciated in terms of organizationalperformance, relationships, learning and personal development. In terms of relationships, learning andpersonal development, contributions were also made by co-working and flex-office. However, the mostsuitable solution, which results from the study, is a mix between working from home and working incompany offices, with accents in rented spaces co-working.Another important result of our research was the composite index of work flexibility foremployees, whose average value pointed out an almost medium level of work flexibility with Romanianorganizations, while only a third of Romanian employees exhibited a higher level of work flexibility.The research pointed out significant differences among demographic variables. Therefore, employeesfrom the center and Bucharest-Ilfov; from national companies or public institutions; from companiesactivating in wholesale, services, or constructions; general managers, directors, or a person holdinga senior or a middle management position; or higher education specialists have a higher level ofwork flexibility.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 45 of 53The empirical analysis of logistic regression analysis pointed out the role of functional flexibility,working time and workspace flexibility together with the flexibility composite indicator in increasingthe level of job satisfaction. Therefore, if the challenge is to redesign actual human resource managementin order to include the concept of sustainability, attention needs to be on employee developmenttogether with the mix of flexible working time and workspaces that will increase the employee jobsatisfaction, thus leading to sustainable HRM.Romanian employees mentioned the importance of financial incentives even if it is known that thistype of measure will produce effects only on short-term, the relevance of functional flexibility throughthe participation to training courses and the working time flexibility through a flexible program as themain measures in increasing employee work motivation.The empirical results of logistic regression analysis pointed out the role of two core characteristicsof sustainable HRM: employee development and a mix of flexible working time and new types ofworkspaces are particularly important from the perspective of their impact on two main outcomes ofsustainable HRM, job satisfaction, and job performance.Contractual flexibility does not reflect any impact on the satisfaction of Romanian employeesregarding their job.Working time arrangements statistically impacted the overall level of job satisfaction, revealing acertain pattern. Romanian employees are more satisfied working the same number of hours per daybut more willing to have a flexibility in the number of days per week, and this behaviour significantlyinfluence the overall level of their satisfaction. In the last few years, more and more Romanianemployers allowed their own employees to either work from home or have a shorter Friday or a totallyfree day and this is reflected also in the level of satisfaction.Functional flexibility statistically and positively impacted the overall level of job satisfactionmainly through the channel of training courses paid by the employer who lead to an increase in thegeneral job satisfaction of employees.Workspace flexibility statistically and positively impacted the overall level of job satisfactionthrough its channels of home working, partial home-working and co-working. For Romanianemployees, it has become essential that employers allow a mix of home and office working, as well asworking in rented spaces, in an environment with several social relations, characterized by importantcommunity relations and resource sharing (resource sharing), to increase the level of satisfaction andalso the longer-term retentive degreeAlso, the overall measure of work flexibility exhibited a positive impact on job satisfaction,revealing that a higher level of work flexibility, in a combination of different forms, increases theemployee level of job satisfaction.Therefore, if the challenge is to redesign the actual human resource management in orderto achieve the desideratum of sustainable HRM, the attention needs to be on a mix of employeedevelopment-flexible and time-flexible places, leading to an increase in both employee job satisfactionand organizational performance, as important outcomes of sustainable HRM.5.2. Policy ImplicationsIn the context of today’s economy, when professionals can choose from a wide range of offersavailable on the labor market, employers must reinvent themselves and begin to offer potentialemployee’s alternative benefits, other than simply financial ones. Most of the time, the flexibility of theorganization can determine both the employee’s longevity and, more importantly, their motivation towork hard and to be productive. Employer flexibility benefits not only the employees, but also theorganization that offers it. Rigidity removes talent, and in a free, growing market, potential employeeshave the opportunity to explore their options before they choose a position.The labor market is constantly changing, atypical work acquiring a significant influence, especiallyin these current times of the coronavirus crisis restrictions. A Gallup article published in early April2020 has already indicated a change, “three out of five US workers who did their homework duringSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 46 of 53the coronavirus pandemic would prefer to continue working as far away as possible,” while 41% saidthey would prefer to return to work or the office to work as they did before the crisis.Covid-19 produced major changes, including work. All these changes will result in a workreorganization, as long as flexibility do not change performance targets. In time of coronavirus crisisworking at home became the new normal, work flexibility must be “business as usual” and not justsomething to resort to in times of crisis.After the coronavirus crisis passes, its effects will be felt in both the long term and short term.Related to work, some managers consider continuing their work from home because they have noticedan increase in productivity from employees and lower costs. It is obvious that most employees willnotice changes regarding work compared to the period before crisis. In Australia, the country that hasmanaged this health crisis very well, it is being discussed that the work week will be reduced to fourdays a week as a new measure regarding work flexibility in order to restart the economy as soon aspossible, but also to protect citizens. Other organizations are considering work flexibility, a four-daywork week with the fifth day being dedicated to volunteering.In the event of a crisis, we can respond with either resilience or resistance. According to Mercer’s2020 Global Talent Trends Study [130] in times of actual crisis, companies said they planned toincrease strategic partnerships (40%), use more variable talent pools (39%), and invest in automation(34%). Flexible operation is a crucial component, only 44% of companies consider systematicallyevaluating jobs for their adaptation, making flexibility dependent on the job, rather than on a person’scircumstances. Resilience is influenced by the type of industry involved. According to a COVID-19survey, the sectors that have been significantly impacted following disruptions are healthcare (56%),retail (56%), mining (55%), manufacturing (46%), and automation (43%). Clearly, business models thatare difficult to digitize, highly dependent on people, or that rely heavily on global supply chains arethe most exposed. In contrast, the least affected sectors are professional services (4%), high technology(5%), education (9%), insurance (10%), and telecommunications (12%). Depending on how long thesituation continues, many of them will feel the effects of limited funding for discretionary projects andvalue-added services.The state of emergency has removed some preconceived notions. For example, it turns out that wecan work from home, and very well at that. Therefore, this crisis is a great opportunity for companiesand employees to reinvent themselves.Author Contributions: Conceptualization, A.A.D., I.C., and S.-A.A.; methodology, A.A.D. and S.-A.A.; software,A.A.D.; validation, A.A.D., S.-A.A., and A.P.; formal analysis, I.C. and A.P.; investigation, A.A.D. and S.-A.A.;resources, I.C.; data curation, S.-A.A., I.C., and A.P.; writing—original draft preparation, A.A.D., S.-A.A., A.P.,and I.C.; writing—A.A.D., S.-A.A., A.P., and I.C.; visualization, A.A.D.; supervision, A.A.D. and S.-A.A. All authorshave read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.Funding: This research received no external funding.Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.Appendix ATable A1. The results of multiple correspondence analysis (final weights).Dim. 1Contractual flexibilityYou are employee on the basis of an indefinite employmentcontract with full working time
yesno
-0.0451.058
You are employee on the basis of an indefinite employmentcontract with part-time work
yesno
1.667-0.047
You are employee on the basis of a fixed-term employmentcontract with part-time work
yesno
0.738-0.003
Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 47 of 53Table A1. Cont.Dim. 1Working time flexibilityDo you work 40 h a week at your main job? yes 0.649no -0.079Do you have more than one job? yes 1.963no -0.093Do you work the same number of hours every day? yes 0.474no -0.162Do you start and end the program at fixed hours? yes 1.031no -0.451Do you work in shifts? yes 0.766no -1.171Do you work flexible hours? yes 0.430no -0.255Functional flexibilityHave you participated in training courses paid for by youremployer?
yesno
0.863-0.429
Have you participated in paid courses from your own sources? yes 2.732no -0.398Workspace flexibilityDo you practice home working? yes 2.625no -1.199Do you practice par
sustainabilityArticleWork Flexibility, Job Satisfaction, and JobPerformance among Romanian Employees—Implications for Sustainable HumanResource ManagementAdriana AnaMaria Davidescu 1,2,* , Simona-Andreea Apostu 1,3, Andreea Paul 4 andIonut Casuneanu 51 Department of Statistics and Econometrics, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romana Square,15–17 Dorobant,i St., Sector 1, 010552 Bucharest, Romania; [email protected]2 Labour Market Policies Department, National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection,6–8, Povernei Street, 010643 Bucharest, Romania3 Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy House-Bucharest, District 5, Calea 13 Septembrie, 13,010374 Bucharest, Romania4 Department of International Economic Relations, Bucharest University of Economic Studies,15–17 Dorobanti St., Sector 1, 010552 Bucharest, Romania; [email protected]5 Department of Management, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, 15–17 Dorobanti St., Sector 1,010552 Bucharest, Romania; [email protected]* Correspondence: [email protected]Received: 5 June 2020; Accepted: 23 July 2020; Published: 29 July 2020Abstract: In light of future work challenges, actual human resource management (HRM) needs tobe redesigned, including long-term development, regeneration, and renewal of human resources,passing from consuming to developing human resources by incorporating the concept of sustainability.Thus, sustainable HRM is seen as an extension of strategic human resources, presenting a new approachto human resource management. The labor market is constantly changing, atypical work acquiring asignificant relevance, especially in these current times of coronavirus crisis restrictions. In Romania,promoting the law of teleworking transformed labor flexibility into a topic of interest, and became anincreasingly vital requirement for employment and a motivating factor for Romanian employees.In such a context, this paper aims to investigate the link between employee development and worktimeand workspace flexibility as relevant characteristics of sustainable HRM, job satisfaction and jobperformance among Romanian employees in order to identify how to redesign HRM in the face of“future work” challenges. Additionally, the paper aims to examine the impact of different types offlexibility—contractual, functional, working time, and workspace flexibility—in order to highlightthe relevance of employee development and employee flexibility as important aspects of sustainableHRM in increasing the overall level of employee job satisfaction. In order to make this possible,an “employee flexibility composite indicator,” which takes into account different types of flexibility,has been developed using feedback from Romanian employees, which was gathered by a nationalrepresentative survey using multiple correspondence analysis. Furthermore, the impact of bothindividual and employee flexibility on overall level of job satisfaction has been quantified using binarylogistic regression models. Within the research, there is a particular focus on the impact of new typesof workspaces (flex office, co-working, total home office, partial home office—FO, CW, HOT, HOP) onjob performance, job satisfaction, organizational performance, professional growth and development,social and professional relationships, and personal professional performance as well as on the overalllevel of work motivation. The empirical results revealed that these new types of workspaces arehighly appreciated by employees, generating a growing interest among them. Partial home working,the mix between working from home and working in a company’s office, has been considered anoptimal solution in increasing organizational performance, social and professional relationships,Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086; doi:10.3390/su12156086 www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainabilitySustainability 2020, 12, 6086 2 of 53learning and personal development, and the overall level of work motivation. The results of themultiple correspondence analysis highlighted a medium level of flexibility among those Romanianemployees interviewed, with only one third of them exhibiting high levels of flexibility. The empiricalanalysis of logistic regression analysis pointed out the role of functional flexibility, working time,and workspace flexibility along with the flexibility composite indicator in increasing the level ofjob satisfaction in employees. Therefore, if the challenge is to redesign the actual human resourcemanagement in order to include the concept of sustainability, attention needs to be on a combinationof employee development-flexible time and flexible places, leading to an increase in both employeejob satisfaction and organizational performance as important outcomes of sustainable HRM.Keywords: sustainable human resource management; work flexibility; job satisfaction;job performance; Romania; employee survey; composite indicator; multiple correspondence analysis;logistic regression analysis; new types of workspaces1. IntroductionEmployees are key stakeholders in the formation and development of the organisation’s human andsocial capital and are a key source of knowledge and support for the development and implementationof sustainable human resource management (HRM). In the face of current challenges, the concept ofHRM needs to be redefined, with sustainable HRM being a more appropriate approach to actual humanresource management. Sustainable HRM’s aims is for long-term objectives and results, with a focus onemployee and environmental care, employee participation and development, external partnership,flexibility, compliance with labor regulations, cooperation between employees, equity, and equality,all without affecting profitability.Among the main characteristics of sustainable HRM, the two core characteristics—employeedevelopment and a combination of flexible working time and new types of workspaces—are particularlyimportant in terms of their impact on the two main outcomes of sustainable HRM—job satisfactionand job performance.The labor market is constantly changing, and the role of the employee is incredibly important.When employees are able to choose their preferred working hours, they tend to be more motivatedand spend a longer period of time without changing jobs. In recent years, this paradigm shift resultedin an increase in employee autonomy, interruptions during work schedules to meet employee needs,employee participation in decision making, workspace modelling, and increasing employee creativityand productivity. Sustainable HR practices are largely influenced by the level of job performance andsatisfaction; therefore, in-depth knowledge of these factors is essential in redefining HRM according tocurrent needs.Work flexibility offers employees a balance between their professional and personal lives,leading to job satisfaction and high performance and an overall improvement of the organizationas a whole. Work flexibility is very important, and with digital advancements and improvedtechnology, employees are able to continue their work anywhere they wish, provided they have aninternet connection.Atypical job roles have become significantly more common, especially characterized today by therestrictions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Although full-time permanent employment representsmost of today’s workforce, the increasing prevalence of non-standardized forms of employmenthas brought structural change to work patterns, most likely resulting in a change to employee jobsatisfaction levels, providing information that could be incredibly valuable to us.In Romania, promoting the law of teleworking transformed labor flexibility into a topic of interest,becoming an increasingly essential condition required for employment and a motivating factor forRomanian employees.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 3 of 53In such a context, this paper aims to investigate the link between employee development andworktime and workspace flexibility as relevant characteristics of sustainable HRM, job satisfaction,and job performance among Romanian employees in order to identify how to redesign HRM in theface of ‘future work’ challenges. Furthermore, the paper aims to examine the impact of different typesof flexible contracts, functional, working hours, and workspace flexibility in order to highlight therelevance of employee development and employee flexibility as important aspects of sustainable HRMin increasing the overall level of employee job satisfaction.Could different forms of work flexibility lead to an increase in job satisfaction and job performance?This is the main question of our research. In attempting to answer to this question, the empiricalanalysis will be structured on three levels. On the first level, we will examine the main characteristicsof both job satisfaction and work flexibility among Romanian employees, highlighting the impactof new forms of workspace flexibility on job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and spacemanagement, level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professionalrelationships, level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation.First, we will investigate the key differences regarding the main forms of work flexibilityamong Romanian employees, focusing particularly on contractual flexibility, working time flexibility,functional flexibility, and workspace flexibility. Second, we will identify the main determinants of workflexibility for Romanian employees and build a composite flexibility indicator using the results fromthe multiple correspondence analysis (MCA). Finally, we will investigate both the potential impact ofthe composite flexibility indicator and the impact of individual flexibility forms on the overall level ofjob satisfaction of Romanian employees using the binary logistic regression model, revealing its mainimplications for achieving the desideratum of sustainable HRM.This paper contributes to the sustainable HRM literature in several ways. First, it analyses theimpact of two important characteristics of sustainable HRM employee development and worktime andworkspace flexibility, grounded in an evidence-based approach on two major outcomes of sustainableHRM (job satisfaction and job performance), contributing to the diminution of the gap in scientificknowledge especially at a national level. Second, the paper offers a first attempt at investigating theimpact of the new forms of workspaces on job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and spacemanagement, level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professionalrelationships, level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation. This isparticularly important when taking into account the restrictions regarding social distancing in thecontext of the current health crisis. Third, the paper considers a multi-dimensional approach of workflexibility from the perspective of working time and workspaces as well as employee development,which is considered to be an important characteristic of sustainable HRM. Fourth, the paper provides,to our knowledge, a first composite measure of work flexibility seen from different angles at anindividual level that offers a global view of the main elements of flexibility present within Romanianorganizations. Furthermore, the paper analyzes how this synthetic measure impacts employee jobsatisfaction as an important outcome of sustainable HRM, thus highlighting the way in which theHRM needs to be redesigned.The paper is organized in the following sections. Section 1 represents the introduction,highlighting the relevance of the topic and the main aim of our research. Section 2, the literature reviewhas been organized into four main sub-sections and starts with an introductory section on sustainableHRM presenting the main conclusions from the literature regarding job satisfaction, work flexibility,and sustainable HRM and a short presentation of the particularities of work flexibility in times ofcrisis. Sections 2.2–2.4 present the most relevant conclusions from literature regarding the relationshipbetween work flexibility and job satisfaction, work flexibility and job performance, as well as workflexibility and a combination of the two.Section 3 is dedicated to the presentation of survey design, some theoretical considerations,the methodology, and the data.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 4 of 53Section 4 is dedicated to empirical results and it is divided into seven sub-sections. The first isdedicated to the presentation of a profile of Romanian employees profile, while the next two present themain characteristics of job satisfaction and work flexibility among Romanian employees. Analysis ofthe impact of new forms of workspace flexibility on job satisfaction, job performance, personal timeand space management, level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal andprofessional relationships, level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation.Section 4.5 presents the main differences among Romanian employees regarding different forms ofwork flexibility, and Section 4.6 is dedicated exclusively to the development of a composite indicatorof Romanian employee flexibility using multiple correspondence analysis. The last sub-section triesto respond to the following question, “Does flexible working increase job satisfaction?” to capturethe impact of both the flexibility composite indicator and the individual forms of work flexibilityon job satisfaction using the binomial logistic regression models emphasizing the main implicationsfor achieving sustainable HRM desideratum. The paper ends with main conclusions and policyimplications, which are considered fundamental in the process of redesigning HRM in the face of“future work” challenges.2. Theoretical Considerations and Hypothesis Development2.1. Sustainable Human Resource Management LiteratureEmployees are key stakeholders in the formation and development of the organisation’s human andsocial capital and are a key source of knowledge and support for the development and implementationof sustainable HRM. The employees are one of the most important stakeholders in an organization andthe organization as a whole is a stakeholder of HRM.In a volatile labor market, it is becoming increasingly important to change the prevailing situationwhere human resources are consumed rather than developed, if the focus is to increase the retention ofemployees. In this endeavor, sustainable HRM has been included as a response to changes regardingsocietal levels, labor market, and employment relations. Sustainable HRM represents an extensionof strategic HRM and presents a new approach to people management [1], being seen as a possiblesolution to lead humanity back into HRM [2], while sustainability refers to resource regeneration,development, and renewal. However, the difference between strategic and sustainable HRM implieslarger aims; while strategic HRM is determined by organizational performance, mainly in terms ofeconomic outcomes, sustainable HRM also considers social human, environmental, and financialoutcomes [1].In terms of sustainability, it represents a survival strategy for organizations to arrange systemswhere employees would have (a) the intention to work for a particular organization, (b) the capabilityto perform tasks in a proper manner for business, and (c) the possibility to work toward better health,lower stress, or a work–life balance [3].Sustainable HRM is the result of various disciplines and research areas, focusing on corporatesustainability and social responsibility and sustainable work systems. It respects the classic concepts andpractices regarding strategic management of human resources from the private sector [4]. Most HRMmodels present the concept of work flexibility as having a direct and significant influence on themanagement of people in organizations [5].It has a wide scope, involving the creation of adequate working conditions, sustainable leadership,cooperation and teamwork, diversity and multiculturalism, ethics and governance, value creation andinculcation, health and safety, workforce involvement, and a sustainable environment [6]. Sustainabilitycan be used as a principle for HRM itself and the tasks of sustainable HRM are twofold. First, it cultivatesthe conditions for personal employee sustainability and advances the ability of HRM systems toregularly attract, regenerate and develop motivated and engaged employees by sustainably buildingthe HRM system itself [3].Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 5 of 53Esfahani et al. investigated the important features of a sustainable HRM in innovative organizationsto identify the relationship between psychological capital, human resource flexibility, and sustainableHRM [7]. They examined HRM in innovative organizations that can benefit from psychological capitaland flexibility of human resources, with the results indicating that flexibility and functional optimismof human resources significantly influenced the sustainability of human resources. Kazlauskaite andBuciuniene [8] strongly believed that, in order to achieve and support the sustainable competitiveadvantage, companies need to have unique, valuable, and inimitable employees.A relevant contribution to the literature concerns the proposal made by Stankeviciute andSavaneviciene [1] identifying 11 characteristics of sustainable HRM—long-term orientation, care ofemployees, care of the environment, profitability, employee participation and social dialogue,employee development, external partnership, flexibility, compliance beyond labor regulations,employee cooperation, fairness, and equality. From all these characteristics, employee developmentand flexibility affect overall level of job satisfaction, which is the subject matter of our research.In designing sustainable HRM, Cohen et al. [9] mentioned three characteristics—equity, well-being,and employee development—and the study is particularly relevant for our research in terms of thelast factor.Zaugg [10] have taken into account the following characteristics of sustainable HRM: flexibility,employee participation, value orientation, strategy orientation, competency and knowledge orientation,stakeholder orientation, and building mutually trustful employee–employer relationships. Park [11]associated six themes with sustainable HRM—a diverse workforce, employees’ development, flexibility,volunteer work, employees’ health, and green HRM.A model of sustainable HRM and organizational performance was proposed by Nyameh [12],highlighting the role of training, rewards, and participation on sustainable HRM outcomes, such asemployee satisfaction, employee motivation, and employee retention or loyalty.Stankeviˇciut ¯ e and Savaneviˇcien ˙ e [ ˙ 1] argued that sustainable HRM reduces the negative impactof HRM on employees and contributing to employee wellbeing by decreasing work-related stress,work-family conflict, and burnout.HRM practices lead to attracting, motivating, and retaining employees to ensure the survival ofthe organization [13]. This practice considers that human capital plays a significant role in achievingthe organization’s goals [14], being positively correlated with the employee engagement if usedproperly [15]. HRM practices are influenced by organizational performance and improve employeewell-being through job satisfaction and organizational commitment [16]. Other HRM practices suchas training and development and performance assessment encourage the employees to work better,thus increasing the organizational performance [17]. Training gives employees the opportunity toobtain knowledge and skills that can help them achieve their responsibilities adequately, resulting inimproved performance [18]. The characteristics of sustainable HRM affect employee satisfaction;therefore, to ensure sustainability and increase the efficiency of the organization, it is necessary to meetthe needs of employees who benefit from good working conditions [1].Figure 1 highlights the most relevant studies focusing on work flexibility, job satisfaction and jobperformance, and also studies at the intersection of these three relevant topics. Table 1 presents anoverview of the most relevant studies regarding work flexibility, job satisfaction, and job performanceat a national level.In order to increase business efficiency, competitiveness, success, and to ensure sustainability,it is commonly agreed that the focus needs to also be on satisfying the needs of employees byproviding them with good working conditions [19–21]. Additionally, Al Mamun et al. [22], Cantele andZardini [23], Delmas and Pekovic [24], Pintão et al. [25], and Dongho [26] reinforced the core importanceof employee satisfaction and the fact that their productivity crucially impacts the company’s success orfailure. An increase in the overall level of employee satisfaction also increases the level of retention.Work environment and working conditions are very important in this context. The ideal situation is foremployees to be satisfied with their conditions and work environment [27–29]. The importance ofSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 6 of 53work environment in terms of enhancing satisfaction and motivation of employees, while increasingcorporate sustainability performance, has been highlighted by Chang et al. [30], Chatterjee et al. [31],Gianni et al. [32], Roxas et al. [33], and Chandrasekar [34].Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 6 of 56Figure 1. The conceptual framework of theoretical considerations between work flexibility, jobsatisfaction, and job performance.In order to increase business efficiency, competitiveness, success, and to ensure sustainability, itis commonly agreed that the focus needs to also be on satisfying the needs of employees by providingthem with good working conditions [19–21]. Additionally, Al Mamun et al. [22], Cantele and Zardini[23], Delmas and Pekovic [24], Pintão et al. [25], and Dongho [26] reinforced the core importance ofemployee satisfaction and the fact that their productivity crucially impacts the company’s success orfailure. An increase in the overall level of employee satisfaction also increases the level of retention.Work environment and working conditions are very important in this context. The ideal situation isfor employees to be satisfied with their conditions and work environment [27–29]. The importance ofwork environment in terms of enhancing satisfaction and motivation of employees, while increasingcorporate sustainability performance, has been highlighted by Chang et al. [30], Chatterjee et al. [31],Gianni et al. [32], Roxas et al. [33], and Chandrasekar [34].Strenitzerová and Achimsky [6] offer a new perspective of the achievement of employee satisfactionand loyalty as part of sustainable human resource management, revealing that higher financial rewardslead to the greatest satisfaction, while the employees’ age, job position, and length of employment stronglyimpact employee loyalty. The results present a particular interest for our research, since employeesatisfaction is seen as a key challenge for sustainable human resource management.Giovanis [35] explored the relationship between job satisfaction, employee loyalty, and twotypes of flexible employment arrangements—teleworking and flexible timing—revealing a positivecausal effect from these employment arrangements on job satisfaction and employee loyalty. Also,our research treats the relationship between different forms of work flexibility and job satisfactionamong Romanian employees.Analyzing different forms of employment and their relationship with employee loyalty, KotRadojewska and Timenko [36] provided evidence that the employees with an indefinite durationemployment contract exhibited a higher level of loyalty compared to those with a fixed-termemployment contract. This relevant finding will also be included in our research, but with an impacton job satisfaction.Figure 1. The conceptual framework of theoretical considerations between work flexibility,job satisfaction, and job performance.Strenitzerová and Achimsky [6] offer a new perspective of the achievement of employee satisfactionand loyalty as part of sustainable human resource management, revealing that higher financialrewards lead to the greatest satisfaction, while the employees’ age, job position, and length ofemployment strongly impact employee loyalty. The results present a particular interest for our research,since employee satisfaction is seen as a key challenge for sustainable human resource management.Giovanis [35] explored the relationship between job satisfaction, employee loyalty, and two typesof flexible employment arrangements—teleworking and flexible timing—revealing a positive causaleffect from these employment arrangements on job satisfaction and employee loyalty. Also, our researchtreats the relationship between different forms of work flexibility and job satisfaction amongRomanian employees.Analyzing different forms of employment and their relationship with employee loyalty,Kot-Radojewska and Timenko [36] provided evidence that the employees with an indefinite durationemployment contract exhibited a higher level of loyalty compared to those with a fixed-termemployment contract. This relevant finding will also be included in our research, but with animpact on job satisfaction.Although there is an extensive body of literature written of job satisfaction, Gazioglu andTansel [37] provide an interesting analysis of the determinants of job satisfaction in Britain consideringthe following four different measures of job satisfaction: satisfaction with their influence over thejob, satisfaction with the amount of pay received, satisfaction with the sense of achievement gained,and satisfaction with the level of respect given from supervisors. Among the interesting resultsobtained, and taking into account the aim of our research, they found that long working hoursreduce satisfaction, while those employees who had job training were more satisfied than thosewho had no training opportunities. These results are even more relevant from the perspective ofSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 7 of 53working time and functional flexibility and led us to research how these characteristics affect Romanianemployee satisfaction.Flexibility is an important characteristic of sustainable HRM [1,11] that primarily reflects the needsof employees. Sustainability in the field of human resources and its benefits imply a broader approachto labor regulations, as compliance with institutional requirements does not lead to sustainability [38].It represents the capability of organizations to confront the dynamics and uncertainty of theirenvironments, rapidly changing their organizational routines or resource bases.Work flexibility and its implementation have occupied an important place in the last few decadesin industrial sociology and human resource management, becoming a popular term in many fields anddirections of research, presented as a necessity in the contemporary workplace [39]. Since organizationalenvironments have become more complex and dynamic, companies increasingly use HRM practicesthat enhance their flexibility, such as contingent work, part-time or temporary work, and flexiblecontract work [40].From the perspective of employees’ initiatives regarding the work they performed or the waythey are employed, Reilly [41] proposed five types of work flexibility—functional, numerical, temporal,local, and financial. An alternative classification of work flexibility arrangements have been proposedby the International Classification for Standards, according to which there are two types of workflexibility—on the one hand, there is a quantitative flexibility (involving changes regarding the numberof employees and working hours), and on the other hand, there is a qualitative flexibility (involvingthe content of competence and quality of work) [42].Among the main characteristics of sustainable HRM pointed out by Stankeviciute andSavaneviciene [1], two core characteristics are of particular interest for our research—employeedevelopment and a mix of flexible working time, and new types of workspaces to increase jobsatisfaction leading to sustainable HRM. Casuneanu identified the following four different formsof work flexibility: working time flexibility, contractual flexibility, functional flexibility (vocationaltraining), and wage flexibility [43].In light of sustainability, functional flexibility achieved through employee development is evenmore important from the perspective of acquiring of skills and developing capacities that employeeswill need in the future. Thus, the development of employees needs to take into account the investmentin future skills, and the employees’ need to be regarded as two facets: the main asset as well as anagent of change [1]. Hirsig et al. [44] argue that, “it becomes more and more important to invest incontinuous training and education for the workforce rather than in infrastructure and equipment.”Hirsig et al. [44] and Stankeviˇciut ¯ e and Savaneviˇcie [ ˙ 1] highlighted the importance of investmentin training and education for human resources, creating a win–win situation both for employees (futureemployability and career opportunities) and for employer (profitability and success).The presence of sustainability in HRM can be revealed through employee development throughon the job training, which can be seen as a cost-saving approach, leading in turn to higher jobmotivation [45] as well as through mentoring and sharing the knowledge with new employees [46],sending the message that through training and development, the company is interested in their longterm retention. Employee development can be seen also as a mechanism for helping individuals inachieving their own self-development and self-enrichment goals or as learning opportunities seen as a“sustainable” investment in personnel [46,47]. In conclusion, employees’ development is regardedas an important element of sustainable HRM and represents an important aspect of our research,aiming to examine its relationship with job satisfaction.Flexibility represents another important characteristic of sustainable HRM, mainly being reflectedin terms of employee needs. Furthermore, we refer to different types of work flexibility, from contractualflexibility or flexible employment to working time arrangements and new workspaces.Among these forms of work flexibility, the relatively short-term perspective of contractualflexibility based on different types of employment contracts (part-time work or fixed-term employment)makes it difficult to support in some ways the idea of sustainability, which implies a long-run approach.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 8 of 53According to Stankeviˇciut ¯ e and Savaneviˇcien ˙ e [ ˙ 1], the only way in which this contractual flexibilitycould lead to sustainability is if it helps the labor market integrate particular groups (students orpersons with disabilities). Although flexible employment does not support the idea of sustainabilitywithin HRM, the increasing incidence of non-standardized forms of employment are creating structuralchanges regarding work patterns in Romania, leading us to include it in the analysis with the aim ofrevealing its impact on the overall level of job satisfaction.On the other hand, flexible working time and workspaces support the sustainability in the HRM,not only from the perspective of the environmental benefits, due to working from home and thus lessuse of company cars and less need for large company buildings [48], but also from the perspective ofthe employees’ heightened satisfaction, freedom, and control, it being acknowledged that a mix offlexible working time and new types of workspaces increases job satisfaction, leading to sustainableHRM [1]. From this precise point of view, it very important to identify the forms of work flexibilitythat exhibited a positive impact on employee job satisfaction and job performance.If a company intends to adopt a sustainable HRM, their focus needs to be on their employees’development, advancing them in sustainability by assigning task forces, in-depth training, flexibleworkhours, and a workspace with beneficial environmental impacts.Work Flexibility in Times of CrisisBefore the coronavirus crisis, employees were already demanding a new focus on life. Workplacesfaced constant change prior to the pandemic, and there will be more to come. In her article publishedon Gallup website [49], Mullen O’Keefe argued that, “Flexibility will look different in each workplacebecause culture is as unique to an organization as DNA is to a person.”Certain jobs require employees to be physically present. Thus, this particularly situation whichwe are facing, offers the opportunity of revisiting the company policies in order to better incorporateflexibility overall. There is a debate how the labor market will look after the pandemic, and ananswer needs to be given of whether employees will continue working from home when public healthrestrictions are no longer necessary.According to Mullen O’Keefe, in addition to the “when,” managers should consider if the “where”for workers can change too [49]. Full-time remote work is not the only solution. According toCheremond [50], the main findings of the recent Gartner poll revealed that one of the future worktrends post pandemic refers to the increase of remote working, stipulating that 48% of employees mostlikely will decide to work remotely at least part of the time after COVID-19 compared with only 30% ofthem before the pandemic; flexible working will be a new normal after the virus.The measures of social and physical distance aimed at stopping the transmission of COVID-19 andpreventing the emergence of new ones imposed physical distance between people (at least one meter)and reduced contact with contaminated surfaces, encouraging and supporting a virtual connectionwithin families and communities. Regarding the development of professional activities, work flexibilitywas introduced, such as teleworking, distance learning, reduction and avoidance of congestion, and theclosure of non-essential facilities and services [51].The coronavirus pandemic resulted in the largest number of employees worldwide being forced towork remotely, with working at home becoming the new normal [52]. The impact of COVID-19 on thelabor market differs considerably between countries. Employees in Germany have a well-establishedshort-term work schedule and are unlikely to be affected by the crisis. Within countries, impacts areuneven and exacerbate existing inequalities. Workers in alternative employment arrangements andoccupations, characterized by a small part of the tasks performed from home, have experienced reducedhours, job losses, and declining earnings [53]. Working from home can be useful for people working inIT or other industries, but there are employees for whom working from home is not possible, even ina crisis. The health crisis has affected training efforts; therefore, retraining has become a challenge.All these consequences could have been minimized if they had been planned well in advance or ifemployees had been familiar with such strategies [54].Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 9 of 53All measures taken during the coronavirus crisis will have short-term and long-term effects onpeople’s lives, especially on working life, given the changes regarding work arrangements (short-termwork, flexible location, and time). The relationships between work and career of people working inflexible roles could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, generating an examination of the effectson the work and career of those people, so that the pandemic can contribute to the flexible workingoffset [55]. The importance of employee satisfaction during the crisis, referring to the coronaviruscrisis, was analyzed by Shan and Thang. The results indicated that companies with higher employeesatisfaction are more resistant to negative shocks across the market during the COVID-19 outbreak [56].Akkermans et al. identified the Covid-19 pandemic as a career shock, which will have a majorimpact on people’s work and careers. The impact of the crisis will depend on contextual and individualfactors and will affect people differently depending on their stage of career and life. Although thepandemic represents a negative career shock, it can have long-term positive implications, the short-termconsequences are different from the long-term ones [57].Before the coronavirus crisis, the business world was already opening up to the idea of remotework. A survey conducted by LinkedIn at the end of 2019, indicated that home working is anattractive concept for both employers and employees, with benefits such as better work–life balance,increased productivity, and lower costs for buildings and infrastructure. This idea was strengthenedduring the pandemic, as it was observed that flexibility in work is a viable solution, with somemanagers claiming that it increased employee productivity, which could lead to a reassessment of howpeople will work after the pandemic [58].Megan Brenan [59] has already indicated a change—“three out of five US workers who didtheir homework during the coronavirus pandemic would prefer to continue working as far away aspossible,” and 41% said they would prefer to return to their work or office to work after the crisis.These changes will result in a work reorganization, as long as flexibility does not change performancetargets. Flexibility at work must be “business as usual” and not just something to resort to in timesof crisis.As the pandemic resets major work trends, HR leaders need to rethink workforce andemployee-related strategies. Among these trends, one already marked shifts, others have newimpacts, referring to an increase the remote work, contingent worker expansion, a separation of criticalskills and roles, the (de)humanization of employees, and a transition from designing for efficiency todesigning for resilience.2.2. Work Flexibility and Job Satisfaction LiteratureJob Satisfaction is an essential criterion that cannot be overestimated, representing a combinationof psychological, physiological, and environmental circumstances that determine an employee’ssatisfaction with their job [48], emotional stability, and conscientiousness [60].Regarding the employee role at work, satisfaction can be defined as emotional orientations on thepart of employees toward the work roles they perform [47], greatly influencing employee motivation,which influences productivity and, therefore, organization performance as a whole [61].Many studies have highlighted the fact that employee motivation influences job satisfaction,while the level of motivation has an impact on productivity and therefore on company performance.The employees’ perceptions of the nature of their work have a considerable impact on job satisfactionlevel, with financial compensation having a significant impact on overall employee satisfaction [47].Other studies have analyzed job performance, satisfaction and the intention of resigning, the result ofwhich indicates that low-performing employees leave their jobs for various reasons [62].The factors that significantly influence job satisfaction and career advancement are age,work seniority, gender, education, position in the organization [63–65], employee abilities, and countryof residence [42]. Other determinants of job satisfaction are communication and the nature of work [66],as well as the national culture, which moderates the relationship between leadership behavior and jobsatisfaction [67] and generates an increase in satisfaction [68].Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 10 of 53At a national level, employee job satisfaction has been the subject of many empirical studies,analyzing factors influencing employee satisfaction [69] and testing empirically motivation theories [70].Key factors enhancing overall levels of job satisfaction are communication and nature of work [71],the economic status provided by a particular job [69], emotional stability [60], financial incentives [72],and the combination between extrinsic factors (bonuses and monetary benefits) and intrinsic factors(professional fulfilment and good relationships) [73].Origo and Pagani [42] and Possenriede and Plantenga [74] analyzed the relationship between workflexibility and job satisfaction revealing that temporary and local work flexibility requires employees’control over their professional life, improving the link between paid work and private life, and leadingto an increase in the overall level of job satisfaction. Flexible work leads to greater job satisfaction andlow level of burnout and stress [75], with benefits to employee health and well-being [76] correlatingwith a good work–family relationship and high job satisfaction [77]. The results of these studies are ofparticular importance, since the relationship between work flexibility and job satisfaction is the subjectmatter of our research.The main factors that influence job satisfaction and flexibility in different Romanian companieswere investigated by Că¸suneanu et al. [78], revealing that a flexible schedule is essential in improvingwork motivation, with employees of small companies assigning a higher level of importance to remotework or teleworking. Romanian employees expect to be rewarded for personal characteristics andwork behavior with non-financial rewards, appreciation, and recognition being equally importantas any financial rewards [71]. Other studies have indicated that rewards positively influence jobsatisfaction [79].Based on previous theoretical considerations, the following hypotheses are created to stipulatehow the main four types of flexibility (contractual, functional, working time, and workspace) willhighlight the relevance of employee development and employee flexibility as part of sustainable HRMin increasing the overall level of job satisfaction:Hypothesis 1 (H1). On average, there is a moderate level of work flexibility among Romanian employees.Hypothesis 2 (H2). Different types of work flexibility lead to an increase in the overall level of job satisfaction,contributing to the achievement of sustainable HRM.Hypothesis 3 (H3). The employee flexibility composite indicator leads to an increase in overall level of jobsatisfaction, contributing to the achievement of sustainable HRM.2.3. Work Flexibility and Job Performance LiteratureJob performance is a central element within industrial and organizational psychology,reflecting scalable actions, behaviors, and outcomes that employees engage with, or contribute to,within organizations [80], and being defined by how employee behaviors contribute to organizationalgoals [81]. Job performance is influenced by individual characteristics (experience and ability),outcomes (e.g., feedback and job security), work environment [82], and education [83]. The generalindividual determinants for job performance are declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge andskills, and motivation [84].In accordance to our objectives, it is worth to mention the findings of Waldman and Spangler [85],who developed an integrated model of job performance, influenced by individual characteristics(experience, ability), outcomes (feedback, job security), but also by work environment.In Romania, several intrinsic factors contribute to increased job performance, resulting in employeesfeeling appreciated and consequently pursuing the organization’s objectives, leading to an increase in jobinvolvement, a decrease in absenteeism, and a boost in self-confidence [86] leading to fewer fluctuationsregarding the job [85]. Additionally, factors such as self-determination [87], job tability, authority,responsibility and autonomy at work, workplace comfort, advancement prospects, benefits packages,Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 11 of 53professional development, job attractiveness, remuneration [85], effective communication betweenmanagement and employees, early distribution of tasks, a feeling of recognition, and an attractivesalary [88] are also important in increasing employee performance.Work adjustment theory states that work flexibility leads to higher employee involvement and anincreased level of job performance. If Bal and DeLane [89] proved that the relationship between workflexibility and job performance was mediated by employee commitment, it was also demonstrated thattime flexibility significantly impacted labor productivity [90,91].Significant results proving that work flexibility leads to performance has been provided byBeltrán-Martín et al. [92], Lepak et al. [93], Martinez-Sanchey et al. [90], Bran and Udrea [91] andValverde et al. [94].Research has also proven that investments in human capital also increase labor productivity,as well as employee stability in the labor market, employability, and adaptability to new global laborconditions, including job performance [95,96].Today, flexibility in the workplace is an increasing need in companies in order to recruit the beststaff and to increase productivity among employees. Labor market flexibility is important as it is apositive quality that is highly valued by both jobseekers and employers.Based on previous theoretical considerations, the following hypotheses have been created in orderto stipulate how the new forms of workspace flexibility lead to an increase in job performance, a bettermanagement of personal time and space, a higher level of comfort, improved personal and professionalrelationships, a higher level of learning and professional development, and increased work motivation:Hypothesis 4 (H4). Total home office (HOT), as a new type of working, is associated with a higher level of jobperformance, a better management of personal time and space, and a higher level of comfort.Hypothesis 5 (H5). Partial home office (HOP), as a new type of working, is associated with a higher levelof organizational performance, improved work motivation, improved personal and professional relationships,and higher level of learning and professional development.Hypothesis 6 (H6). Co-working (CW), as new type of working, is associated with improved personal andprofessional relationships and higher levels of learning and professional development.Hypothesis 7 (H7). Flex office [FO], as new type of working, is associated with improved personal andprofessional relationships.Hypothesis 8 (H8). Partial home office (HOP) is associated with an improved level of work motivation.2.4. Theoretical Considerations on the Relationship between Work Flexibility, Job Satisfaction,and Job PerformanceFlexible work practices are designed to meet the needs of employers, thus improving the work–lifebalance of employees in a manner consistent with the needs of the company and conducing to jobsatisfaction and job performance. For both companies and the labor market in general, work flexibilityis seen as the key to success, influencing working conditions, productivity, profitability, and overallperformance. Economists argue that work flexibility has relevant effects on workers’ well-being andjob satisfaction [3,95].Carvalho and Cabral-Cardoso revealed that numerical and functional flexibility can be achievedsimultaneously and interdependently by implementing a unique HRM system based on workforcecommitment [97]. Businesses with flexible operations often have several forms of flexible workingmodels that reflect an innovation in human resource management [98].Analyzing the influence of sustainable human resource management (HRM) practices on workplaceperformance, Manzoor et al. demonstrated that HRM practices, such as employee selection, participation,and empowerment significantly and positively influenced employee work performance [95].Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 12 of 53National empirical evidence on work flexibility has been demonstrated by the studies ofCasuneanu [96], Lefter et al. [99], Dima et al. [100], Lefter and Casuneanu [101], and Lefter et al. [102],and Casuneanu et al. [78].In summary, the core idea of all empirical studies regarding work flexibility characteristics ofRomanian employees refers to teamwork and usage of information technology as primordial elementsof flexibility, while the most important forms of flexibility in the opinion of Romanian employees areteam autonomy and working time flexibility. Therefore, the importance of work flexibility is onceagain highlighted, and the motivation of our research could also be explained from this perspective.Although there are several other studies examining the relationship between work flexibility andjob satisfaction, and studies examining the relationship between work flexibility and job performance,there are relatively few studies analyzing the relationship between work flexibility and both jobperformance and satisfaction simultaneously.Significant results of the impact of work flexibility on job satisfaction and job performance havebeen provided by Orpen [103], Solanki [104], Al Omar et al. [105], Govender et al. [106], Lefter et al. [101],Casuneanu [96], and Burtăverde [107]. In his study, Orpen [103] validated only the relationship betweenwork flexibility and job satisfaction and invalidated the relationship between work flexibility andjob performance.The link between flexible work arrangements, satisfaction, and performance was investigated byGovender et al. [106]. The results indicated that most employees are satisfied with their actual workarrangements and work flexibility which could contribute to their decision to remain with their currentemployer. Job performance and work flexibility have a strong positive correlation and flexible workarrangements improve employee retention and job satisfaction, increasing productivity.The link between work flexibility, job satisfaction and job performance in Romania was analyzed byLefter et al. [99] using survey data based on a sample of 220 employees; the empirical results highlightingthat work flexibility (flexible schedule, teleworking, or reduced working time) significantly influencesjob satisfaction and job performance. In addition, flexible work has been found to significantly influenceemployee well-being, personal and professional performance, and the overall level of motivation.Casuneanu [96] pointed out the importance of flexible hours, among other motivational factors,in increasing the overall level of employee job satisfaction.In this context of work flexibility and job satisfaction, and respectively, work flexibility and jobperformance, it is also worth analyzing potential links between job satisfaction and job performancewithin the literature. The relationship between job satisfaction and job performance has been studiedthroughout the history of industrial and organizational psychology, with many researchers consideringa causal relationship between satisfaction and performance [108].Satisfied employees are found to perform better and contribute to the organization success [109].The positive relationship between job satisfaction and job performance has been provided by thestudies of Christen et al. [110], Katzell et al. [111], O’Leary et al. [112], Norris and Niebuhr [113],Petty et al. [114], and Neagu [115].Pavalache-Ilie [80] studied the relationship between “good soldier syndrome” and job satisfactionby researching two independent studies (public and private) conducted in Romania. The resultsindicated that job satisfaction is associated with performance behaviors (e.g., organizational citizenship,self-efficacy, hospitality, and seniority within the organization), with the involvement in publicorganizations being more intense than in private ones.In the context of today’s economy, when professionals can choose from a wide range of offersavailable on the labor market, employers must reinvent themselves and begin to offer potentialemployee’s alternative benefits other than simply financial ones. Most of the time, the flexibility of theorganization can determine, not only the employee’s longevity but, more importantly, their motivationto work hard and to be productive. Employer flexibility benefits not only the employees but also theorganization that offers it. Rigidity removes talent, and in a free, growing market, potential employeeshave the opportunity to explore their options before they choose a position.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 13 of 53Table 1. An overview of the most relevant studies on work flexibility job satisfaction and job performance at a national level.Domain Authors Study Method ResultsWorkflexibilityLefter, Davidescu, andCasuneanu (2017) [99] Sample of 100 employeesPrincipalComponentsAnalysisMost respondents consider teamwork and the use of informationtechnology to be key elements of work flexibility.Dima, T, uclea, Vrânceanu,and T, igu [100] Sample of 1180 employeesModel based onstructuralequationsAt an individual level, telework could establish a greater work-lifebalance, and at a social level, it could generate lasting effects forlong-term labor management.Lefter and Că¸suneanu(2018) [101] Sample of 220 employees Questionnaire The main forms of flexibility at work in Romanian companies are represented by teamwork, computer use, and telework.Casuneanu, Lefter, andDavidescu (2019) [78] Sample of 220 employees QuestionnaireMeasures to be taken to improve employee motivation are flexibleprogram in case of big companies, while the small companiesemployees consider the ability to work from home (remote work) ornear to the house (teleworking) to be important.Lefter, Casuneanu, andEnache (2018) [102] Sample of 220 employees QuestionnaireThe main elements of flexibility (teamwork and usage of informationtechnology) are very important for Romanian employees-autonomy ofwork teams and working time flexibility.JobsatisfactionPook, Fustos, and Marian(2003) [65]Sample of 932 employees fromHungary, Poland and Romania Questionnaire Degree of functioning, gender and position significantly influence job satisfaction and advancement.Analoui (2000) [74] 23 Romanian organizations Questionnaire andsample interviewsRecognition and appreciation, salary and remuneration, promotionstatus and professional satisfaction are key factors among Romanianmanagers.Săveanu and Săveanu(2011) [69] Sample of 1489 subjects European Values Survey 2008 Work is very important for Romanians, and the main factor that influences job satisfaction is the economic situation.Matei and Abrudan(2016) [68]100 online recruitmentcompanies QuestionnaireIntrinsic factors have generated an increase regarding the level ofsatisfaction, proving that the theory is not adequate to the Romaniancultural context.Burlacu and Birsan(2016) [116] Sample of 500 subjects QuestionnaireAlmost half of the interviewees consider that the salary is not sufficientto cover the monthly expenses, the salaries cannot be consideredsatisfactory nor can they ensure a proper quality of life.Tampu (2016) [72] Sample of 629 employees Questionnaire Main motivational factors are focusing on extrinsic and intrinsicmotivation, attitude at work, job satisfaction, rewards, and incentives.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 14 of 53Table 1. Cont.Domain Authors Study Method ResultsJobsatisfactionMatei and Fataciune(2016) [66]Sample of 120 employees frompublic and private sectorJob satisfactionsurveyCommunication and the nature of work are determinants of jobsatisfaction work, highlighting a higher satisfaction for privateemployees.Cristescu, Stănilă, andAndreica (2013) [73]Sample of 355 employees frompublic sector QuestionnaireA combination of external advantages (bonuses and non-monetarybenefits) and intrinsic factors (satisfaction and professional fulfilment,good relations with the local community) increase the professionalmotivation of civil servants.JobperformanceMihalcea (2013) [85] Sample QuestionnaireLeaders who registered task orientation, dominance, ambition,independence, and self-confidence generate a low level of satisfactionamong their employees, being identified by moderate correlation, andmanagers who generated professional satisfaction were characterizedby sensitivity to other people’s problems, the need for affiliation andsupport, less assertive and reduced control over the work ofsubordinates.Ölçer and Florescu(2015) [87] Sample QuestionnaireCompetence, self-determination and impact have positively influencedthe work performance of employees. Job satisfaction led to jobperformance, and job satisfaction partially mediated the relationshipsbetween competence and performance at work.Bercu and Onofrei(2017) [86] Sample QuestionnaireThe results revealed that intrinsic factors are a priority, employees whofeel valued will pursue the organization’s goals, work involvement willincrease, absenteeism will be reduced and there will be less fluctuationsin the workplace. The main motivation of civil servants leading to jobperformance is job stability, followed by authority, responsibility andautonomy at work, comfort, prospect of advancement, benefitspackage, professional development, job attractiveness, andremuneration.Tampu and Cochina(2015) [88]Sample of 629 employees frommultinationals in Bucharest QuestionnaireCommunication between the management team and employees, earlydistribution of tasks, recognition or an attractive salary are relevant inincreasing employee performance.Suciu, Mortan, and Lazăr(2013) [70]Sample of civil servants in theNorth-West Region Questionnaire The results highlighted a direct link between job performance and expectation, influencing their motivation to work.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 15 of 53Table 1. Cont.Domain Authors Study Method ResultsWorkflexibilityand jobsatisfactionCă¸suneanu, Lefter, andDavidescu (2019) [78] Sample QuestionnaireThe empirical results revealed that the employees of small companiesare the most satisfied with their current job and the salary received, andthe least satisfied are the employees of medium or large companies.Buzea (2014) [79] Sample QuestionnaireThe results showed that Romanian employees expect to be rewardedfor personal characteristics, followed by work behavior. Non-financialrewards, appreciation, and recognition are just as important as thefinancial reward.Tănăsescu and Leon(2019) [117] Sample QuestionnaireThe results showed that rewards positively influence job satisfaction,while the relationships between job satisfaction and job performance,and between rewards and job performance are not significant.Flexibilityand jobperformanceWallace (2003) [118]Sample in eight countries (UK,Netherlands, Sweden, Czechia,Hungary, Slovenia, Romania,and Bulgaria)The results identified high flexibility for highly educated people andlow flexibility for people with low education, low incomes, and oftenwith young workers and those in rural areas.Bran and Udrea (2016) [91] Sample QuestionnaireThe results identified that increasing work flexibility significantlyimproved job performance, motivation leading to performance, and inconjunction with flexibility lead to superior performance.Serban (2012) [119] Sample QuestionnaireLabor market flexibility has a beneficial impact on labor productivity.Investments in human capital increase labor productivity, employeestability in the labor market, employability and adaptability to newglobal labor conditions, including job performance.Jobsatisfactionand jobperformanceNeagu (2010) [115] Sample QuestionnaireThe results concluded that job satisfaction is positively correlated withcommunication and motivation, and inversely correlated withorganizational commitment.Pavalache-Ilie (2013) [80] Sample QuestionnaireThe results showed that job satisfaction is associated with performancebehaviors (organizational citizenship, self-efficacy, hospitality, andseniority within the organization), and the involvement in publicorganizations being more intense than in private ones.Ionescu and Horga(2013) [120]Sample of employees in tourismsector QuestionnaireThe results highlighted the importance of job satisfaction and effectivecommunication within companies, leading to higher financialperformance.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 16 of 53Table 1. Cont.Domain Authors Study Method ResultsWorkflexibility, jobsatisfactionand jobperformanceLefter, Davidescu, andCasuneanu (2017) [99] Sample of 220 employees QuestionnaireEmpirical results identified that work flexibility (flexible workinghours, teleworking or reduced working hours) significantly influencedjob satisfaction and job performance. In addition, flexible work hassignificantly influenced well-being, personal and professionalperformance, and motivation.Burtăverde (2015) [107] Sample of 144 employees QuestionnaireThe results indicated life satisfaction in general is directly correlatedwith honesty and health, and between emotional factor and jobsatisfaction the link is reversed. A positive relationship wasdetermined between conscientiousness, job satisfaction, satisfactionwith life and health, and between openness and satisfaction with life.Casuneanu (2011) [96] Sample of 402 employeesCATI system(telephone-assistedtelephoneinterview).Employees are looking for jobs that provide them with stability andsecurity.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 17 of 533. Data and MethodsIn order to investigate the relationship between work flexibility as part of sustainable HRM andjob satisfaction and job performance as sustainable HRM outcomes among Romanian employees,the research aims to respond to the following specific questions:What kind of work flexibility elements are present in Romanian organizations? To what extentare different forms of work flexibility present within Romanian organizations? Is HOT, as a newtype of working, related to a higher level of job performance and comfort and better management ofpersonal time and space? Is HOP, as a new type of working, related to a higher level of organizationalperformance, higher work motivation, higher personal, professional relationships, and higher level oflearning and professional development? Is CW, as a new type of working, related to higher personal,professional relationships and higher level of learning and professional development? Is FO, as a newtype of working, associated with higher personal, professional relationships? Is HOP related to ahigher level of work motivation? Overall, is there an average medium level of work flexibility amongRomanian employees? What is the level of work flexibility registered by most employees? How manyemployees have a high level of work flexibility?Do different forms of work flexibility increase the overall level of job satisfaction? Does an employeeflexibility composite index lead to an increase in the overall level of job satisfaction, contributing to theachievement of sustainable HRM?In order to assess this, a quantitative sociological survey was conducted based on a structuredquestionnaire among adults aged 15–64 who, at the time of the survey, were employees. The samplingwas of probabilistic stage-type stratified. The sampling layers targeted were employee regionaldistribution, distribution by areas of activity, gender distribution, and distribution by area of residence(urban/rural). The study was conducted on a nationally representative sample of 220 people.Data collection was performed on 16 counties and Bucharest, cumulating a total of 50 samplingpoints (national, urban and rural). The study was conducted face to face and the collection period was29 October–11 November 2018. The national representation of the sample has been assessed, by testingthat there is no statistically significant difference between population mean and sample mean for thecharacteristic-respondent age, by testing that there is no statistically significant difference betweenpopulation variance at regional level and sample variance at regional level, and through a similarsample gender distribution at national level with that one of the population.The questionnaire contains information regarding the overall level of job and salary satisfaction,the most relevant motivational factors, the main elements of work flexibility present in Romaniancompanies, the main forms of work flexibility, urgent measures to be taken by the organization’smanagement to improve flexibility and job satisfaction, new spaces of working and how working inthese spaces could impact wellbeing, professional growth and development, social and professionalrelationships, personal professional performance, and organizational performance.The research assessed the notoriety of new types of working (HOT, HOP, FO, and CW) onorganizational performance and feedback from people in offices.Flex office (FO) designates spaces with impersonal and non-territorial workstations, correlatedwith spaces that create better facilities for meetings, concentration, creative activities, learning activities,and others. Co-working (CW) refers to the activities carried out in rented spaces, by people withdiverse, frequently complementary activities, which they could also carry out at home, but prefer to doin a multi-relationship environment. Home office is work from home, either full time (HOT) or parttime (HOP).Within the survey, the following four types of work flexibility have been analyzed: working timeflexibility, contractual flexibility, functional flexibility, and workspace flexibility.Contractual flexibility was assessed through different types of contracts—full-time employmentcontract, part-time employment contract, fixed-term employment contract, work-from-home contract,distance work (work from a distance, from home or close to home), or other types of contracts (onrequest, division of labor) using dichotomous variables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 18 of 53Working time flexibility was evaluated based on seven items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Functional flexibility was evaluated based on three items quantified using dichotomous variablescoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Working space flexibility was evaluated based on three items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The presence of the main forms of work flexibility was assessed using dichotomous variablesencoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The major characteristics of working time and functional flexibility were quantified usingdichotomous variables encoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The urgent measures to be taken by the organization’s management to improve flexibility andjob satisfaction of employees’ work were quantified using dichotomous variables coded by 1—forpresence and 0—otherwise.The potential impact of new types of working on work efficiency and productivity, on improvinginterpersonal relationships by meeting new people, the ability to gain new knowledge, the abilityto increase company performance due to increased profit and more efficient use of workspace,increased personal comfort, and more efficient management of working time, and the increase ofemployee motivation was evaluated based on nine items quantified using dichotomous variablescoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The analysis of the main specificities of work flexibility and job satisfaction was performedbased on descriptive statistics and charts. The investigation of the main differences of opinionregarding the main forms of work flexibility among Romanian employees was performed based on thenon-parametric Mann–Whitney and Kruskal–Wallis tests.In order to develop a multidimensional flexibility indicator, we have incorporated informationfrom four areas totaling 18 binary items with 36 categories as follows (Figure 2):X contractual flexibility: four items;X working time flexibility: seven items;X functional flexibility: three items;X working space flexibility: four items.Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 18 of 56Working time flexibility was evaluated based on seven items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Functional flexibility was evaluated based on three items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.Working space flexibility was evaluated based on three items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The presence of the main forms of work flexibility was assessed using dichotomous variablesencoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The major characteristics of working time and functional flexibility were quantified usingdichotomous variables encoded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The urgent measures to be taken by the organization’s management to improve flexibility andjob satisfaction of employees’ work were quantified using dichotomous variables coded by 1—forpresence and 0—otherwise.The potential impact of new types of working on work efficiency and productivity, onimproving interpersonal relationships by meeting new people, the ability to gain new knowledge,the ability to increase company performance due to increased profit and more efficient use ofworkspace, increased personal comfort, and more efficient management of working time, and theincrease of employee motivation was evaluated based on nine items quantified using dichotomousvariables coded by 1—for presence and 0—otherwise.The analysis of the main specificities of work flexibility and job satisfaction was performed basedon descriptive statistics and charts. The investigation of the main differences of opinion regardingthe main forms of work flexibility among Romanian employees was performed based on the nonparametric Mann–Whitney and Kruskal–Wallis tests.In order to develop a multidimensional flexibility indicator, we have incorporated informationfrom four areas totaling 18 binary items with 36 categories as follows (Figure 2): contractual flexibility: four items; working time flexibility: seven items; functional flexibility: three items; working space flexibility: four items.Figure 2. Figure 2. The scheme of employee flexibility composite indicator (CFI). The scheme of employee flexibility composite indicator (CFI).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 19 of 53Taking into account the fact that the variables are dichotomous, multiple correspondenceanalysis (MCA) has been applied [121]. MCA has been applied by Asselin and Vu Tuan [122]in Vietnam; Ki et al. [123] in Senegal; Ningaye and Ndjanyou [124] and Njong and Ningaye [125] inthe case of Cameroon; and be Njong and Ningaye [125], Ezzari and Verme [126], Canuel et al. [127],and Asselin [121] to generate composite indices for poverty.From the technical point of view, MCA is obtained by using a standard correspondence analysison an indicator matrix (i.e., a matrix whose entries are 0 or 1). The MCA assumption is extractinga first factor which retains maximum information contained in this matrix and furthermore, to usethis information to generate a composite indicator for each employee [128]. The difference betweenthis approach and PCA is that the dependent variable is unobserved and cannot be used directly toestimate correlation coefficients, employee flexibility being considered as a multidimensional latent(unobserved) variable [128].For the construction of a CFI from K ordinal categorical indicators, the monotonicity axiom,stipulating that if employee “i” increases its situation for a given variable, then its composite flexibilityindex value CFIi increases: its flexibility level increases (larger values mean higher flexibility).The monotonicity axiom translates into the first axis ordering consistency (FAOC) principle [123].This implies that the first axis must have growing factorial scores indicating a movement fromnon-flexible to flexible working status. For each of the nominal variables, the MCA calculates adiscrimination measure on each of the factorial axes. It represents the variance of the factorial scoresof all the modalities of the variable on the axis and measures the magnitude with which the variableexplains the axis.Category quantification plots represent an alternative method of presenting discrimination ofvariables that can identify category relationships. The coordinates of each category on each dimensionare presented in order to dispose which categories are related to each variable [129].In order to build the composite indicator of flexibility, the weights given by MCA, correspondingto the standardized scores on the first factorial axis, will be used. When all the variable modalitieshave been converted into a dichotomous nature coded 0/1, giving a total of P binary indicators, the CFIfor a certain employee “i” can be written as [121]CPIi = 1KW1Ii1 + W2Ii2 + · · · + WpIip, (1)where W = the weight (score of first standardized axis, (score/pλ1)) of category p, Ip = binary indicator0/1, which takes on the value 1 when the employee has the modality and 0 otherwise. The CFIvalue reflects the average global flexibility level of a particular employee. Furthermore, the index istransformed using the percentile rank to take values between 0 and 100.Using the composite indicator of employee work flexibility, we can assess the impactof work flexibility on the overall level of job satisfaction using binomial logistic regression.Alternatively, as robustness analysis, we have taken into account in the analysis the potential influenceof each type of work flexibility (contractual flexibility, working time, and functional flexibility andworkspace flexibility) together with individual control variables on the job satisfaction.In order to do that, we have considered:– Dependent variable:• Job satisfaction level was measures using a five-point Likert scale using the followingcategories: 1—very dissatisfied to 5—very satisfied answering to the following question:Are you satisfied with your current job? Furthermore, the variable has been transformedinto a dichotomous one with the categories 1—satisfied and 0—otherwise.– Explanatory variables on work flexibility:Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 20 of 53• Contractual flexibility: Within the organization you are employed: (1) based on an indefiniteduration employment contract with full time working; (2) on the basis of an employmentcontract of indefinite duration with part-time work; (3) based on a fixed-term employmentcontract with full working time; (4) based on a fixed-term employment contract with part-timework; (5) based on home working contract; based on “telework” contract (work at distance,from home or from a space near the house); based on other types of contracts (on call,job sharing) coded with 1—yes, 0—no.• Elements of working time flexibility coded by 1—yes, 0—no: Do you work 40 h a week at themain job? Do you have more than one job? Do you work the same number of hours everyday? Do you work the same number of days every week? Do you start and end the programat fixed hours? Do you work in shifts? Do you work flexible hours?• Elements of functional flexibility conditioned by 1—yes, 0—no: Participation in trainingcourses paid by the employer; Participation in payment courses from own sources;Beneficiaries of on-the-job training;• Elements of new workspace flexibility, coded by 1—yes, 0—no: total home working, partialhome working, coworking, and flex office.– Control variables:• Gender: a dummy variable in which 1—man and 2—women.• Age: a polychotomous variable with values: 1 for under 26 years, 2 for 26–35 years, 3 for36–45 years, 4 for 46–55 years, 5 for over 55 years.• Principal occupation: a polychotomous variable with the following values: 1—specialistwith higher education; 2—general manager, director or person holding a senior managementposition; 3—person holding a middle management position (head of department, head ofoffice); 4—Technician; 5—employee in public services (hospital, public catering, education,police, fire, etc.); 6—skilled worker; 7—unskilled worker; 8—another situation.• Degree of salary satisfaction: a dichotomous variable that answers the question, How satisfiedare you with the salary you receive? With: 1—satisfied, 0—otherwise.• Degree of satisfaction regarding working conditions: a dichotomous variable that answers thequestion, How satisfied are you with working conditions? With: 1—satisfied, 0—otherwise.• Seniority within the company: a polychotomous variable with values: 1 for under 1 year;2 for 1–3 years; 3 for 3–5 years; 4 for 5–10 years; 5 for over 10 years.• Company size: a polychromatic variable with the following values: 1 for 1–9 employees;2 for 10–49 employees; 3 for 50–249 employees; 4 for more than 250 employees.• Sector of activity: a polychotomous variable with values 1—agriculture; 2—manufacturingindustry; 3—wholesale; 4—retail trade; 5—services; 6—construction; 7—other sector.• Legal status of the company: a polychotomous variable with values 1—limited liabilitycompany (srl); 2—joint stock company; 3—partnership; 4—limited partnership (joint stockcompany); 5—autonomous company; 6—national society; 7—other.Logistic regression models the relationship between a set of independent variables xi (categorical,continuous) and a dichotomous dependent variable (nominal, binary) Y. Such a dependent variableoccurs when it belongs to two classes, categories—presence/absence, yes/no.The regression equation obtained provides information about (1) the importance of variables inclass differentiation and (2) the classification of an observation into a class. Logistic regression can beextended to incorporate more than one explanatory variable, which can be quantitative or qualitative.The logistic regression model can then be written as follows:lnp1 – p! = β0 + β1×1 + β2×2 + · · · + βkxk, (2)Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 21 of 53where p being P(y = 1|x1, x2, : : : , xk) and is the probability of the event and x1, x2, : : : xk are theexplanatory variables:
P(y = 1 jx1, x2, : : : , xk) =1 + exp(β0 + β1×1 + β2×2 + · · · + βkxk),
(3)
exp(β0 + β1×1 + β2×2 + · · · + βkxk)For the coefficient βi, we obtainexp β0 =P(y = 1 x1, x2, : : : , xk = 0)1 – P(y = 1 x1, x2, : : : , xk)=P(y = 1 x1, x2, : : : , xk = 0P(y = 0 x1, x2, : : : , xk = 0, (4)After estimating the coefficients, the significance of the coefficients, the general goodness of themodel classification, and the capacity of the model to discriminate between the two groups defined bythe response variable is evaluated.When building the model step by step, checking if the variable removed from the model issignificant, so if the model can be simplified, the LR test is recommended.Because some data is “rare” (scattered), statistics comparing two models is not distributed χ2,using the Hosmer–Lemeshow test. The test consists of classifying the predicted probabilities intodeciles (10 groups based on the percentile rank) and calculating the χ2 statistic that compares theobserved frequencies with the predicted ones. Small values of the statistics indicate a good fit ofthe forecasted data, so an adequacy of the model. In the logistic regression, were used Cox & SnellPseudo-R2 and Nagelkerke Pseudo-R2 as goodness of fit indicators.4. Empirical Results4.1. Romanian Employee Sample ProfileFrom the total of 220 Romanian employees interviewed, 55% were males, 30% aged between36–45 years old, and 30% aged between 46–55 years old. Five percent of them registered their ageas under 26 years old, and 7% were elderly (55 years and over). Almost 27% of employees have aslength of service over 10 years, while 82% of employees declared not to have management positionexperience. Regarding the received monthly salary, 46% of the respondents declared to earn less than2500 lei, while only 38% of them declared to earn between 2500–5000 lei. Only a very small proportionof 2% of the respondents declared to have a salary greater than 7500 lei.Taking into account professional status, 42% of employees were declared to be skilled workers,only 19% were higher education specialists, and 15% were public services employees. Most of theemployees come from Bucharest-Ilfov (20%) or the north-west and center regions (13%), most ofthem working in small companies with at most 50 employees (31%), followed by those ones fromlarge companies (27%), from services (44%), manufacturing industry (24%), and retail trade (11%).Seventy percent of respondents were declared to work in limited liability companies, and only 7%were in the public sector (Figure 3).Sustainability Sustainability20202020,,1212, 6086 , x FOR PEER REVIEW 22 of 56 22 of 53Figure 3. Figure 3. Dashboard of the Romanian employee sample profile. Dashboard of the Romanian employee sample profile.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 23 of 534.2. Analysing the Main Characteristics of Work Flexibility and Job Satisfaction from the Perspective ofRomanian EmployeesInvestigating what are the main elements of work flexibility present among Romanianorganizations, 81% of employees mentioned team working, 47% indicated computer usage, followed byteleworking (24%) and job rotation (20%) (Figure 4).Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 23 of 564.2. Analysing the Main Characteristics of Work Flexibility and Job Satisfaction from the Perspective ofRomanian EmployeesInvestigating what are the main elements of work flexibility present among Romanianorganizations, 81% of employees mentioned team working, 47% indicated computer usage, followedby teleworking (24%) and job rotation (20%) (Figure 4).Figure 4. Main elements of work flexibility present in Romanian companies.In line with our objectives and examining the particularities of different forms of work flexibility,it can be highlighted that flexible employment was found only to a very small extent, only 3% ofemployees declared to work based on part-time contract, and only 1% of employees work on the basisof fixed duration contract with full time (Figure 5).Figure 5. Types of Romanian employee contracts.Also, flexible time arrangements seem to have a relatively small prevalence among Romanianorganizations—almost 40% of employees declared they work in a flexible manner and in shifts, whilean even smaller proportion declared to have flexible working hours per day and per week, flexiblenumber of days per week, or work outside normal working hours. Only 55 of interviewedrespondents declared to have more than one job (Figure 6).15% 17% 20% 24% 47%81%on the basis of anindefinite workingcontract with fullworking time:96%on the basis of anindefinite workingcontract withpart-time work:3%on a fixedduration contractof employmentwith full-timework: 1%on a fixed-termcontract withpart-time work:0%Figure 4. Main elements of work flexibility present in Romanian companies.In line with our objectives and examining the particularities of different forms of work flexibility,it can be highlighted that flexible employment was found only to a very small extent, only 3% ofemployees declared to work based on part-time contract, and only 1% of employees work on the basisof fixed duration contract with full time (Figure 5).Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 23 of 564.2. Analysing the Main Characteristics of Work Flexibility and Job Satisfaction from the Perspective ofRomanian EmployeesInvestigating what are the main elements of work flexibility present among Romanianorganizations, 81% of employees mentioned team working, 47% indicated computer usage, followedby teleworking (24%) and job rotation (20%) (Figure 4).Figure 4. Main elements of work flexibility present in Romanian companies.In line with our objectives and examining the particularities of different forms of work flexibility,it can be highlighted that flexible employment was found only to a very small extent, only 3% ofemployees declared to work based on part-time contract, and only 1% of employees work on the basisof fixed duration contract with full time (Figure 5).Figure 5. Types of Romanian employee contracts.Also, flexible time arrangements seem to have a relatively small prevalence among Romanianorganizations—almost 40% of employees declared they work in a flexible manner and in shifts, whilean even smaller proportion declared to have flexible working hours per day and per week, flexiblenumber of days per week, or work outside normal working hours. Only 55 of interviewedrespondents declared to have more than one job (Figure 6).15% 17% 20% 24% 47%81%on the basis of anindefinite workingcontract with fullworking time:96%on the basis of anindefinite workingcontract withpart-time work:3%on a fixedduration contractof employmentwith full-timework: 1%on a fixed-termcontract withpart-time work:0%Figure 5. Types of Romanian employee contracts.Also, flexible time arrangements seem to have a relatively small prevalence among Romanianorganizations—almost 40% of employees declared they work in a flexible manner and in shifts, while aneven smaller proportion declared to have flexible working hours per day and per week, flexible numberof days per week, or work outside normal working hours. Only 55 of interviewed respondents declaredto have more than one job (Figure 6).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 24 of 53Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 24 of 56Figure 6. Characteristics of working time flexibility in Romanian companies.The functional flexibility related to employee training is found only to a small extent inRomanian companies—only a third of employees testify that they have attended training coursespaid by their own employer or they have benefited from on the job training. A very small proportion(13%) of the Romanian employees invest in themselves by paying courses from their own funds(Figure 7).Figure 7. Main forms of functional flexibility.From the new types of workspaces assuring an increased level of flexibility, home working andpartial home working are the most commonly known and used among employees and companies(Figure 8).0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%Have you attendedtraining courses paidfor by your employer?Have you benefitedfrom on-the-jobtraining?Have you attendedpaid training coursesfrom your ownsources?Figure 6. Characteristics of working time flexibility in Romanian companies.The functional flexibility related to employee training is found only to a small extent in Romaniancompanies—only a third of employees testify that they have attended training courses paid by theirown employer or they have benefited from on the job training. A very small proportion (13%) of theRomanian employees invest in themselves by paying courses from their own funds (Figure 7).Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 24 of 56Figure 6. Characteristics of working time flexibility in Romanian companies.The functional flexibility related to employee training is found only to a small extent inRomanian companies—only a third of employees testify that they have attended training coursespaid by their own employer or they have benefited from on the job training. A very small proportion(13%) of the Romanian employees invest in themselves by paying courses from their own funds(Figure 7).Figure 7. Main forms of functional flexibility.From the new types of workspaces assuring an increased level of flexibility, home working andpartial home working are the most commonly known and used among employees and companies(Figure 8).0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%Have you attendedtraining courses paidfor by your employer?Have you benefitedfrom on-the-jobtraining?Have you attendedpaid training coursesfrom your ownsources?Figure 7. Main forms of functional flexibility.From the new types of workspaces assuring an increased level of flexibility, home working andpartial home working are the most commonly known and used among employees and companies(Figure 8).Numerical flexibility though flexible compensation and working time flexibility through flexiblework schedule have been mentioned as main measures needed in order to increase work flexibility.Teleworking has been stipulated by only 13% of employees (Figure 9).Romanian employees tend to be satisfied and very satisfied with their current job, almost 70% ofthem declaring this. Regarding salary, a higher proportion (31%) of them declare themselves neutral,and only 54% of them consider that the salary level is satisfactory for them (Figure 10).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 25 of 531Figure 8. Main forms of workspace flexibility.Figure 8. Main forms of workspace flexibility.Numerical flexibility though flexible compensation and working time flexibility through flexiblework schedule have been mentioned as main measures needed in order to increase work flexibility.Teleworking has been stipulated by only 13% of employees (Figure 9).Romanian employees tend to be satisfied and very satisfied with their current job, almost 70%of them declaring this. Regarding salary, a higher proportion (31%) of them declare themselvesneutral, and only 54% of them consider that the salary level is satisfactory for them (Figure 10).Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 26 of 56 Figure 9. Figure 9.Main measures to be taken to increase the work flexibility. Main measures to be taken to increase the work flexibility.Figure 10. Distribution of employees according to the level of satisfaction with the current job and salary.Investigating the correlation between job satisfaction and salary satisfaction, it can be stated thatjob satisfaction is directly correlated with salary—the higher the salary, the higher the satisfaction.This fact was highlighted by a positive and highly statistically significant value of both Kendall andSpearman correlation coefficients of the ranks of both Kendall and Spearman, the association beingone of medium intensity (Table 2)veryunsatisfiedunsatisfied eitherunsatisfiedeither satisfiedsatisfied very satisfied3% 5%22%43%27%3%12%31%36%18%How satisfied are you with your current job? How satisfied are you with the salary you receive?Figure 10. Distribution of employees according to the level of satisfaction with the current job and salary.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 26 of 53Investigating the correlation between job satisfaction and salary satisfaction, it can be stated thatjob satisfaction is directly correlated with salary—the higher the salary, the higher the satisfaction.This fact was highlighted by a positive and highly statistically significant value of both Kendall andSpearman correlation coefficients of the ranks of both Kendall and Spearman, the association beingone of medium intensity (Table 2).Table 2. The level of correlation between job satisfaction and salary satisfaction.How Satisfied AreYou with YourCurrent Job?How Satisfied AreYou with the SalaryYou Receive?Kendall’s tau_bHow Satisfied AreYou with YourCurrent Job?CorrelationCoefficient 1.000 0.601 **Sig. (2-tailed) 0.000Spearman’s rho How Satisfied AreYou with the SalaryYou Receive?CorrelationCoefficient 1.000 0.662 **Sig. (2-tailed) 0.000**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed). Sig. = Significance.Asked how they evaluated the motivation system in Romanian companies, most of respondentsSustainability (46%) declared that it has not changed and only 34% of them said that it has improved (Figure 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 27 of 56 11).Figure 11. In your opinion, compared to the previous year, how the motivation system in yourcompany changed?For Romanian employees, bonuses, a potential good salary, work attractiveness and job stabilityhave been identified as the highest motivational factors. It is worth mentioning that a mix of financialnon-financial incentives, together with bonuses and salaries, work attractiveness, and job stabilitywere ranked on the first positions.Therefore, it seems that, compared to previous years in which the focus was on non-financialincentives, in the recent period, financial incentives tend to return as important for Romanianemployees (Figure 12).4.49 4.50 4.53 4.55 4.564.424.35 4.374.02 4.04Figure 11. In your opinion, compared to the previous year, how the motivation system in yourcompany changed?For Romanian employees, bonuses, a potential good salary, work attractiveness and job stabilityhave been identified as the highest motivational factors. It is worth mentioning that a mix offinancial-non-financial incentives, together with bonuses and salaries, work attractiveness, and jobstability were ranked on the first positions.Therefore, it seems that, compared to previous years in which the focus was on non-financialincentives, in the recent period, financial incentives tend to return as important for Romanian employees(Figure 12).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 27 of 53have been identified as the highest motivational factors. It is worth mentioning that a mix of financialnon-financial incentives, together with bonuses and salaries, work attractiveness, and job stabilitywere ranked on the first positions.Therefore, it seems that, compared to previous years in which the focus was on non-financialincentives, in the recent period, financial incentives tend to return as important for Romanianemployees (Figure 12).Figure 12. The most important motivational factors for the Romanian employees.Romanian employees mentioned the importance of financial incentives, even if it is known thatthis type of measure will produce effects only in the short-term, the relevance of functional flexibilitythrough the participation to training courses, and the working time flexibility through a flexibleprogram as the main measures in increasing employee work motivation (Figure 13).4.49 4.50 4.53 4.55 4.564.424.35 4.374.02 4.04Figure 12. The most important motivational factors for the Romanian employees.Romanian employees mentioned the importance of financial incentives, even if it is known thatthis type of measure will produce effects only in the short-term, the relevance of functional flexibilitythrough the participation to training courses, and the working time flexibility through a flexibleprogram as the main measures in increasing employee work motivation (Figure Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 28 of 56 13).Figure 13. Main measures that need to be taken in order to improve the motivation of the employeesof the organization.Taking into account one of our objectives regarding the way in which new types of workspaces(FO, CW, HOT, HOP) influence job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and spacemanagement, level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professionalrelationships, level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation.This part of the analysis has a direct correspondence to our research questions and refers tohypotheses H4–H8. The survey evaluates the best workplace from the employee point of view,targeting two clusters-one of employees working in offices, at the level of which a choice of a differentwork space than the one in which they are currently working has been forced, and the second one ofrespondents who do not work in offices at the level of which there is the possibility to choose,including the space in which they currently work as a desirable space. For both clusters of employees,the impact on job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and space management, level ofcomfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professional relationships, levelof professional development, and the overall level of work motivation was assessed.However, from the perspective of work flexibility, we have undertaken in the analysis only thefirst cluster of employees working in offices (individual office, office space with up to 10 units, andFigure 13. Main measures that need to be taken in order to improve the motivation of the employees ofthe organization.Taking into account one of our objectives regarding the way in which new types of workspaces(FO, CW, HOT, HOP) influence job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and space management,level of comfort, level of organizational performance, level of personal and professional relationships,level of professional development, and the overall level of work motivation.This part of the analysis has a direct correspondence to our research questions and refers tohypotheses H4–H8. The survey evaluates the best workplace from the employee point of view,targeting two clusters-one of employees working in offices, at the level of which a choice of a differentwork space than the one in which they are currently working has been forced, and the second one ofrespondents who do not work in offices at the level of which there is the possibility to choose, includingthe space in which they currently work as a desirable space. For both clusters of employees, the impactSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 28 of 53on job performance, job satisfaction, personal time and space management, level of comfort, level oforganizational performance, level of personal and professional relationships, level of professionaldevelopment, and the overall level of work motivation was assessed.However, from the perspective of work flexibility, we have undertaken in the analysis only the firstcluster of employees working in offices (individual office, office space with up to 10 units, and officespace with more than 10 units); these forms of working space flexibility are very important (Figure 14).Home working have been mentioned as the perfect space for increasing employee productivity(42.1%), employee comfort (36.8%), and personal time and space management (34.7%).Partial home working is seen as optimal solution for increasing professional developmentby learning new things (35.1%), for increasing the organizational performance (33.8%), and forstrengthening social and professional relationships (31.2%).High percentages of positive contributions were assigned for CW in terms of personal andprofessional relationship improvement, as well as learning and professional development, while FOwas designated to lead to personal and professional relationship improvement.In terms of work motivation, almost one third of employees (29.8%) mentioned partial homeworking as the perfect mix between higher productivity (produced from working from home) and thesocial development obtained through the interaction of new people/colleagues.Therefore, the new ways of working are well known and frequently used, and there is greatopenness and interest in them. Home working has the most appreciations mainly in terms of laborproductivity, comfort, and time and space management, while partial home working has highlyappreciated in terms of organizational performance, relationships, learning and personal development.In terms of relationships, learning and personal development contributions were also made byco-working and flex-office. However, the most suitable solution, which results from the study, is a mixbetween working from home and working in company offices.4.3. A Brief Overview on the Main Differences Regarding Work Flexibility among Romanian EmployeesAccording to another objective of our research, we have investigated the main differences regardingwork flexibility characteristics among Romanian employees, the main findings being synthesized asfollows (Table 3):• The functional flexibility through training courses paid by the employer is more widespread inlarge companies, among employees from age group 26–35 years being mostly higher educationspecialists and technicians, or working in west and center regions, while employees fromBucharest-Ilfov tend to pay for training courses themselves. Employees from age group 55 yearsold benefited from on-th- job training;• The lack of flexible working time arrangements has been pointed out by men, by employees aged36–55 years old, by unqualified workers, by workers with small level of seniority in the company,being more prevalent in South-East region;• The contractual flexibility is more widespread among young employees under the age of 26 yearsold, among men who are more inclined to have a flexible remuneration, depending on the effortand the allocated time, together with the extension of holidays and also among employees with ahigh level of seniority;• The new ways of working tend to be more commonly known among employees from microcompanies, to be relevant for both qualified and unqualified workers, to be appreciated byemployees from the age group 36–45 years old. Home working and partial home working aremore present in the north-east region, while co-working and flex office are more prevalent inthe north-west;• Teleworking has been designated as a main measure to increase work flexibility by men, by youngemployees, by employees from the central region, by employees from middle management, by thoseSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 29 of 53with between 3–5 years of experience in management positions, and by those with mediumearnings. Teleworking is also important for small companies and for limited liability companies.• A flexible working schedule, flexible remuneration and the extension of holidays were consideredrelevant methods for increasing work flexibility among men, higher education specialists,and employees in medium and high-level management;• Teamwork is important as a measure in increasing work flexibility for those employees with highsalaries belonging to middle management;• Updating job posts according to new tasks is more common in large companies and among thosewith high salaries and those with more than 10 years’ experience.Figure 14. The impact of new forms of workspace.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 30 of 53Table 3. The empirical results of the main differences regarding work flexibility characteristics.GenderSig. (Mann–Whitney Test)RegionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)AgeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)MainOccupationSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Length ofServiceSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Experiment inManagementPositionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)SalarySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanySizeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanyLegal StatusSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Sector ofActivitySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Contractual flexibility(type of contracts). 0.172 0.581 0.000 * 0.643 0.018 ** 0.381 0.713 0.884 0.621 0.423Main forms of work flexibility present at the jobRotation of stations. 0.417 0.081 *** 0.228 0.272 0.884 0.433 0.655 0.289 0.959 0.572Teamwork. 0.194 0.235 0.581 0.084 *** 0.862 0.237 0.098 *** 0.300 0.581 0.318Computer usage. 0.855 0.084 *** 0.073 *** 0.038 ** 0.795 0.361 0.140 0.342 0.542 0.862Teleworking (remote work, athome or at a nearby office). 0.050 ** 0.000 * 0.038 ** 0.072 *** 0.385 0.001 * 0.022 ** 0.081 *** 0.009 * 0.523Improving of workorganization of work. 0.862 0.241 0.033 ** 0.931 1.000 0.620 0.559 0.616 0.528 0.714Updating job post accordingto new tasks. 0.285 0.177 0.523 0.992 0.311 0.020 ** 0.074 *** 0.098 *** 0.371 0.727Main elements regarding the working time flexibilityDo you work 40 h per weekat the main job? 0.243 0.272 0.007 * 0.882 0.094 *** 0.910 0.542 0.813 0.831 0.098 ***Do you have more thanone job? 0.723 0.387 0.571 0.035 ** 0.311 0.451 0.332 0.489 0.019 ** 0.674Do you work the samenumber of hours every day? 0.523 0.055 ** 0.419 0.298 0.553 0.446 0.375 0.630 0.260 0.122Do you work the samenumber of days every week? 0.315 0.165 0.921 0.810 0.427 0.433 0.410 0.842 0.251 0.637Start and finish the programat fixed hours? 0.086 *** 0.000 * 0.011 * 0.054 ** 0.003 * 0.645 0.179 0.376 0.514 0.069 ***Are you working in shifts? 0.946 0.016 ** 0.219 0.000 * 0.791 0.165 0.003 0.060 0.194 0.003 *Do you work flexible? 0.122 0.000 * 0.395 0.536 0.505 0.522 0.393 0.870 0.239 0.494Have you been consultedabout changes in workorganization and yourworking conditions?0.061 *** 0.000 * 0.521 0.050 ** 0.698 0.403 0.550 0.090 *** 0.263 0.920Is your work evaluatedperiodically? 0.818 0.000 * 0.715 0.082 *** 0.311 0.927 0.359 0.187 0.773 0.050 **Do you think you are wellinformed about the healthand safety risks of yourworkplace?0.291 0.001 * 0.138 0.122 0.151 0.545 0.583 0.203 0.556 0.407Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 31 of 53Table 3. Cont.GenderSig. (Mann–Whitney Test)RegionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)AgeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)MainOccupationSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Length ofServiceSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Experiment inManagementPositionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)SalarySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanySizeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanyLegal StatusSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Sector ofActivitySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Main forms of functional flexibilityAttending training coursespaid by the employer. 0.890 0.001 * 0.040 ** 0.042 ** 0.125 0.000 * 0.036 ** 0.029 ** 0.621 0.419Attending paid trainingcourses from yourown sources.0.152 0.046 ** 0.469 0.000 * 0.392 0.030 ** 0.017 ** 0.354 0.659 0.187Benefit fromon-the-job training. 0.151 0.542 0.018 ** 0.054 ** 0.600 0.786 0.223 0.372 0.809 0.885Level of satisfactionassociated with the workingconditions of current job.0.895 0.051 ** 0.002 ** 0.161 0.786 0.505 0.011 * 0.460 0.364 0.337Main measures that need to be taken to increase the flexibility of employing the workforce and the working time of employeesA flexible work schedule. 0.320 0.483 0.288 0.093 *** 0.608 0.318 0.269 0.718 0.128 0.764The ability to work fromhome or from a space nearhome (teleworking).0.049 ** 0.110 0.072 *** 0.573 0.310 0.875 0.649 0.674 0.043 ** 0.887Independent working teamsto manage their time togetherto identify a task(work team autonomy).0.116 0.837 0.207 0.632 0.263 0.771 0.264 0.918 0.734 0.738Flexible remuneration,depending on the effort andthe allocated time.0.025 ** 0.671 0.608 0.074 *** 0.427 0.249 0.472 0.184 0.373 0.165Ability to work outside ofregular program hours. 0.304 0.832 0.551 0.808 0.185 0.680 0.660 0.982 0.772 0.593Better management of thespace to minimize travelduring work.0.790 0.224 0.522 0.442 0.875 0.193 0.988 0.337 0.377 0.695Better management of fixedassets (technologies,equipment) to put as littleeffort into their use.0.132 0.069 *** 0.637 0.613 0.498 0.840 0.609 0.779 0.063 *** 0.563Extending holidays. 0.090 *** 0.173 0.661 0.078 *** 0.200 0.797 0.138 0.654 0.562 0.221Reduction of work week. 0.909 0.238 0.227 0.683 0.684 0.451 0.775 0.618 0.628 0.683Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 32 of 53Table 3. Cont.GenderSig. (Mann–Whitney Test)RegionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)AgeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)MainOccupationSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Length ofServiceSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Experiment inManagementPositionsSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)SalarySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanySizeSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)CompanyLegal StatusSig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)Sector ofActivitySig. (Kruskal–Wallis Test)New ways of workingHome working. 0.032 ** 0.000 * 0.011 * 0.000 * 0.459 0.011 * 0.016 ** 0.017 ** 0.058 *** 0.049 **Partial home working. 0.050 ** 0.000 * 0.005 * 0.000 * 0.627 0.011 * 0.015 ** 0.012 ** 0.120 0.048 **Co working. 0.043 ** 0.000 * 0.009 * 0.000 * 0.493 0.011 * 0.005 * 0.018 ** 0.096 *** 0.084 **Flex office. 0.079 *** 0.000 * 0.004 * 0.000 * 0.541 0.011 * 0.007 * 0.016 ** 0.080 *** 0.109Note: *** Correlation is significant at the 0.10 level (two-tailed). ** Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (two-tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 33 of 534.4. Building to Measure the Romanian Employee Flexibility Using Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA)In line with the research question, “Overall is there a high level of work flexibility among Romanianemployees?” and trying to test the hypothesis H1, the present section used the MCA for buildinga first multi-dimensional work flexibility indicator for Romanian employees aiming to capture thephenomenon from different angles. The research has been structured into two main stages.In the first stage, all 18 items with 56 modalities from four dimensions of flexibility have beenincluded in the analysis in order to provide a first indication of the of the association patterns with theprinciple component. In the second stage, we have reversed some items of contractual flexibility andworking time flexibility dimensions in order to achieve the monotonicity axiom. Also, in this step,the number of variables was reduced to meet the consistency properties of the principal component.Therefore, we have eliminated the presence of fixed-term employment contracts with full workingtime, working the same number of days per week, and the presence of job training in order to assurethe first axis ordering consistency (FAOC-I) applying MCA to 15 items.Knowing from literature that several forms of work flexibility support sustainability andacknowledging that the contractual flexibility can support sustainability only under specific conditions,however, the main goal of the paper was to offer a global perspective from different point of view ofindividuals work flexibility level by building a global index highlighting the contribution of the mainexistent types of work flexibility among Romanian organizations.It is worth mentioning that, even if contractual flexibility could support sustainability only inparticular situations, while the other dimensions of work flexibility exhibited positive impact ofsustainable HRM, the contribution of this component in the overall measure of work flexibility is thesmallest, and therefore, the impact could be considered negligible.The empirical results of final MCA based on Burt matrix are presented in Table 4. The MCAperformed on the remaining variables led to an increase in the explanatory power of the first factor,which rose from 54% to 62.4%. The second dimension explained another 14.5%, cumulating a total of79.94% of principal inertia (Table 4).Table 4. Inertia decomposition of flexibility variables.Dimension Principal Inertia Percent Cumulating PercentDim. 1 0.0384 62.4 62.4Dim. 2 0.0090 14.54 76.94Dim. 3 0.0016 2.57 79.51Dim. 4 0.0001 0.15 79.66Dim. 5 0.0000 0.07 79.73Total 0.0616 100The value of Cronbach’s Alpha (0.73) supported our hypothesis of building a composite flexibilityindicator, the value being superior to the threshold of 0.7.In order to determine the CFI for each employee, based on the functional form of the CFi previouslyexpressed, the weights (factorial scores on first axis presented in Appendix A) attributed to the variablemodalities were used. Analyzing the weights from Appendix A, we can determine the relevance thatthe analysis attributes to each type of flexibility. As a rule of thumb, we consider values larger thantwo as an indication of key flexibility factors. Therefore, we find employees who practice all the newworkspaces such as home-working, partial home-working, co-working, and flex-office and who havealso participated in paid courses from their own resources as having the highest level of flexibility.Analyzing the discriminating power of each indicator in each of the factorial axis, we can weeasily see that the most discriminating indicators, in the first axis, are (Figure 15)
X
Do you work in shifts? (0.857)
X
Have you participated in paid courses from your own resources? (0.833)
Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 34 of 53
X
Do you practice co-working? (0.822)
X
Have you participated in training courses paid for by your employer? (0.819)
X
Do you practice partial home working? (0.802)The most discriminating indicators, in the second axis areDo you work 40 h a week at your main job? (0.77)
X
X
You are an employee on the basis of a fixed-term employment contract with part-time work (0.568)
X
You are an employee on the basis of an indefinite employment contract with full workingtime (0.534)You are an employee on the basis of an indefinite employment contract with part-time work (0.463)
X
Analyzing the joint category plot (Figure 16), it can be observed that the closer the responsecategory’s vector position is to the origin, the more similar the response profile is to the averageprofile [126]. A feature of MCA when using binary variables is that the positive and negative pointfor each variable is situated 180 degrees away from the origin on the map [130]. The interest is inseeing “which” side each point falls on relative to the other variables, and we can mention that theresponse categories for presence of work flexibility are mostly on the positive side of Dimension 1, andthose for absence of work flexibility on the negative side, in all areas except for indefinite employmentcontract with full working time. This separation of “1s” and “0s” on either side of Dimension 1 showsthat, with the exception of indefinite employment contract with full working time, the most importantdifference in the sample is between having and not having work flexibility. This separation also impliesthat areas are positively correlated except for an indefinite employment contract with full working time.After analyzing the signs of the weights, we concluded that a negative sign reduces flexibility,while a positive sign positively contributes to employee flexibility. Using these weights, we createdthe CFI of each employee. To avoid having negative values of CFI, we estimated the average of thenegative values of the CFI and add the absolute value of this average to the CFI of each employee toobtain the positive CFI scores.Analyzing the relative contribution of the variables to the composite flexibility indicator, we canhighlighted that working in shifts, participation in courses paid from the own resources, co-working,and participation in courses paid by the employer contribute the most to the construction of the firstaxis which is the axis of working time flexibility and functional flexibility mix (Table 5).Table 5. The relative contribution of the variables to the first dimension.Variables Relative Contribution (%) to the First DimensionYou are employee on the basis of an indefinite employmentcontract with full working time. 0.39You are employee on the basis of an indefinite employmentcontract with part-time work. 0.71You are employee on the basis of a fixed-term employmentcontract with part-time work. 0.08Do you work 40 h a week at your main job? 1.03Do you have more than one job? 6.25Do you work the same number of hours every day? 1.58Do you start and end the program at fixed hours? 6.41Do you work in shifts? 11.87Do you work flexible hours? 4.31Have you participated in training courses paid for by youremployer? 11.35Have you participated in paid courses from your own sources? 11.54Do you practice home working? 11.03Do you practice partial home working? 11.11Do you practice co-working? 11.39Do you practice flex-office? 10.97100.00Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 35 of 53Figure 15. Multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) dimension discrimination measure.ST1-indefinite employment contract with full working timeST2-indefinite employment contract with part-time workST3-fixed-term employment contract with part-time workST4-Do you work 40 h a week at your main job?ST5-Do you have more than one job?ST6-Do you work the same number of hours every day?ST7-Do you start and end the program at fixed hours?ST8-Do you work in shifts?ST9-Do you work flexible hours?ST10-Have you participated in training courses paid by employer?ST11- Have you participated in courses paid from your own sources?ST12-Do you practice home-working?ST13-Do you practice partial home-working?ST14-Do you practice co-working?ST15-Do you practice flex-officeFigure 15. Multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) dimension discrimination measure.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 36 of 53Sustainability 2020, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 37 of 56Figure 16 Figure 16. . Joint category plot of the Joint category plot of the explored variable categories. explored variable categories.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 37 of 53Following the MCA procedure, we can finally calculate the CFI for each employee as the averageof its weight categories corresponding to the average of standardized scores on the first factorial axis.The extreme values of the CFI calculated are -0.933 (the employee with the lowest level ofwork flexibility) and 3.026 (the employee with the highest level of work flexibility) among Romanianemployees, stipulating that• An employee that has the smallest CFI value (-0.933) has an indefinite employment contract withfull working time, working 40 h a week at the job, having usually only one job, working the samenumber of hours every day, starting and ending the program at fixed hours, working in shifts andnot working in flexible hours, not participating in training courses paid for by the employer orwith its own resources, and not practicing any forms of workspace (HOT, HOP, CW, FO).• An employee that has the highest CFI value (3.026) has an indefinite employment contract withpart-time work or a fixed-term employment contract with part-time work, not working 40 h aweek at the job, having more than one job, not working the same number of hours every day,not starting and ending the program at fixed hours, not working in shifts and working in flexiblehours, participating in training courses paid for by the employer or with its own resources,and practicing all types of workspace (HOT, HOP, CW, FO).To facilitate interpretation, we have rescaled the work flexibility indicator to take values between0 and 100, where 0—lowest level of flexibility and 100—highest level of flexibility. The average levelof flexibility index among interviewed Romanian employees was computed to be 50.22 revealing amedium level of flexibility, with significant differences among demographic variables. Analyzingthe main descriptive statistics (Table 6), we can mention that the average level of flexibility indexamong interviewed Romanian employees was computed to be 50.22, revealing a medium level ofwork flexibility among Romanian employees, while most of Romanian employees (n = 85 employees)rather exhibited a small level of work flexibility, while for medium and high level, the frequenciesare balanced (n = 69 employees respectively 66 employees). The empirical results of Chi-Square testrevealed that there are no statistically significant differences among three categories of employees(employees with low, medium, and high flexibility), the distribution being equilibrated. However,only 30% of Romanian employees registered a higher level of work flexibility, the index value beinghigher than the threshold of 70.Table 6. Descriptive statistics of composite index of work flexibility.Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative PercentValid≤35.00 85 38.6 38.6 38.635.01–70.00 69 31.4 31.4 70.070.01+ 66 30.0 30.0 100.0Total 220 100.0 100.0Analyzing the variations in the work flexibility index according to regions of development,company size, the legal regime of the company, the activity sector, and the main occupation ofthe employee, we can mentioned that the ANOVA analysis supported the hypothesis of statisticaldifferences for all the variables, with the only exception of the company size. Therefore, employeesfrom the center and Bucharest-Ilfov; from national companies or public institutions; from companiesactivating in wholesale, services, or constructions; being general managers, directors, or a personholding a senior or a middle management position; or being a higher education specialist have a higherlevel of work flexibility.The correlation coefficient between work flexibility indicator and the overall level of job and salarysatisfaction revealed in both cases a positive statistically significant relationship but weak as intensity(Figure 17).Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 38 of 53activating in wholesale, services, or constructions; being general managers, directors, or a personholding a senior or a middle management position; or being a higher education specialist have ahigher level of work flexibility.The correlation coefficient between work flexibility indicator and the overall level of job andsalary satisfaction revealed in both cases a positive statistically significant relationship but weak asintensity (Figure 17).Figure 17. The relationship between work flexibility index and salary and job satisfaction level.4.5. Flexible Working Increases Job Satisfaction? An Empirical Analysis among Romanian Employees Basedon Binomial Logistic Regression Models0.001.002.003.004.005.00low work flexibilitylevelmedium workflexibility levelhigh work flexibilitylevelOverall level of job satisfaction Overall level of salary satisfactionFigure 17. The relationship between work flexibility index and salary and job satisfaction level.4.5. Flexible Working Increases Job Satisfaction? An Empirical Analysis among Romanian Employees Based onBinomial Logistic Regression Models TC “4.6.4. Contribut,ii Privind Evident,ierea Impactului Elementelor deFlexibilitatea în Muncă Asupra Nivelului General de Motivare al Angajat,ilor Români Utilizând Modelul deRegresie Logistică Binomială” nf C nl “3”In line with our research questions and aiming to test the hypotheses H2–H3, we have investigatedthe impact of work flexibility, considered as an overall measure as well as individual components,highlighting its implications on job satisfaction as one of the main outcomes of sustainable HRM. If thefocus is the transition to sustainable HRM, it makes sense to identify the characteristics of sustainableHRM that could lead to an increase in the outcomes of sustainable HRM. Therefore, in this context,we anchored work flexibility and its implication on job satisfaction. The empirical results are presentedin Table 7. In order to capture the impact of both overall measure and individual forms of workflexibility, two logistic regression models have been estimated.Table 7. The empirical results of the relationship between work flexibility and job satisfaction.Model I Model IIVariables B Sig. Exp (B) B Sig. Exp (B)Degree of satisfaction regarding salary(ref = otherwise)satisfied4.645 0.000 *** 104.077 3.699 0.000 *** 40.427Work flexibility composite indicator 0.026 0.020 ** 1.026Control variablesGender (ref = male)female 1.131 0.100 * 3.099 0.321 0.558 1.378Occupation (ref = higher education specialist) 0.108 0.030general manager, director or a person holdinga senior management position -3.146 0.086 * 0.043 -1.114 0.501 0.328person holding a middle managementposition (head of department, head of office) -0.576 0.752 0.562 1.382 0.599 3.985technician -2.831 0.035 ** 0.059 -3.648 0.004 *** 0.026employed in public services (hospital, publiccatering, police, firefighters) -0.518 0.624 0.596 0.669 0.491 1.951qualified worker -2.530 0.008 *** 0.080 -1.120 0.138 0.326unqualified worker -2.870 0.019 ** 0.057 -2.803 0.009 *** 0.061Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 39 of 53Table 7. Cont.Model I Model IIVariables B Sig. Exp (B) B Sig. Exp (B)Age (ref = under 26) 0.879 0.55926–35 years -0.576 0.700 0.562 -2.195 0.137 0.11136–45 years -0.939 0.547 0.391 -2.441 0.111 0.08746–55 years -1.092 0.478 0.335 -2.508 0.095 * 0.081Over 55 years -1.846 0.403 0.158 -1.959 0.272 0.141Seniority (ref = less than 1 year) 0.109 0.1851–3 years -0.469 0.683 0.625 0.460 0.661 1.5853–5 years -0.946 0.446 0.388 0.131 0.912 1.1405–10 years -0.841 0.468 0.431 0.242 0.824 1.274Over 10 years 1.281 0.281 3.601 1.690 0.111 5.419Company size (ref = 1–9 employees) 0.048 0.11810–49 employees 1.520 0.070 * 4.574 0.660 0.357 1.93450–249 employees -0.885 0.329 0.413 -0.922 0.250 0.398Over 250 employees 0.710 0.405 2.033 0.545 0.501 1.724Company activity sector (ref = agriculture) 0.088 0.124Manufacturing industry -0.904 0.625 0.405 -0.032 0.985 0.969Wholesale -2.846 0.202 0.058 -2.383 0.233 0.092Retail -3.006 0.127 0.049 -1.639 0.315 0.194Services -3.446 0.065 * 0.032 -2.347 0.140 0.096construction -0.258 0.894 0.772 -0.163 0.921 0.849Another sector -1.038 0.607 0.354 -1.000 0.586 0.368Company legal regime (ref = limited liabilitycompany)Stock company0 0.357General Partnership -0.297 0.765 0.743Limited Partnership -18.649 1.000 0.000Autonomous company 2.759 0.199 15.781National company -2.043 0.058 * 0.130Public Institution -0.826 0.480 0.438Constant 0.245 0.932 1.277 2.351 0.302 10.492Contractual flexibilityType of contract (ref = based on employmentcontract of indefinite duration with fullworking time)1.000based on an indefinite employment contractwith part-time work -0.066 0.982 0.936based on a fixed-term employment contractwith full working time 20.215 0.999 601,744,208.607based on a fixed-term employment contractwith part-time work 20.911 1.000 1,207,026,856.9Working time flexibilityDo you work 40 h a week at your main job?(Ref = no)Yes-1.078 0.279 0.340Do you have more than one job? (Ref = no)Yes 23.323 0.998 13,465,568,754.7Do you work the same number of hours everyday? (Ref = no)Yes1.581 0.061 * 4.861Do you work the same number of days eachweek? (Ref = no)Yes-1.557 0.083 * 0.211Do you start and end the program at fixedhours? (Ref = no)Yes-0.874 0.285 0.417Do you work in shifts? (Ref = no)Yes 0.417 0.532 1.518Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 40 of 53Table 7. Cont.Model I Model IIVariables B Sig. Exp (B) B Sig. Exp (B)Do you work flexible hours (ref = no)Yes 0.627 0.337 1.872Functional flexibilityDid you participate on training courses paidfor by the employer? (Ref = no)Yes1.602 0.024 ** 4.962Did you participate on paid courses from yourown sources? (Ref = no)Yes-0.884 0.417 0.413Have you received training at work? (Ref =no)Yes-0.180 0.807 0.836Workspace flexibilityHave you practiced home working? (Ref = no)Yes 6.151 0.014 ** 469.008Did you practice home working partially?(Ref = no)Yes3.031 0.100 * 0.048Did you practice co-working? (Ref = no)Yes 2.105 0.101 * 8.203Did you practice flex-office? (Ref = no)Yes -0.219 0.857 0.804Note: *** Correlation is significant at the 0.10 level (two-tailed). ** Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level(two-tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed).The empirical results of the first model highlighting the influence of individual forms of flexibilityon the overall level of job satisfaction among Romanian employees revealed salary satisfaction exhibiteda positive and statistically significant impact on the job satisfaction, revealing that employees who aresatisfied with received earnings tend to be satisfied with their job.The empirical results highlighted that gender and occupation as individual characteristics andcompany size and company activity sector as employment related characteristics significantly influencedthe overall level of job satisfaction of Romanian employees.Women are more satisfied with their job compared to men, while compared to job satisfaction ofspecialists with higher education, people with senior management positions, technicians, and skilledand unskilled workers tend to be less satisfied with their jobs.Compared to micro-enterprises, employees of small companies with up to 10 employees are moresatisfied with their current job, while employees from services tend to be less satisfied with their jobsin comparison with those from agriculture, a sign of the coefficient being a negative one.Age and seniority of employees do not significantly impact the degree of satisfaction with theircurrent job, the probabilities of the coefficients being higher than the maximum significance thresholdof 10%.Analyzing now the impact of different forms of work flexibility on job satisfaction, the empiricalresults revealed that contractual flexibility captured by indefinite employment contract with part-timework or fixed-term employment contract with full time or part –time does not reflect any impact onthe satisfaction of Romanian employees regarding their job, the probabilities of the coefficients beinggreater than the maximum significance level of 10%.Elements of working time arrangements statistically impacted the overall level of job satisfactioneven, revealing a certain pattern. Romanian employees are more satisfied working the same number ofhours per day, but more willing to have a flexibility in the number of days per week, and this behaviorsignificantly influence the overall level of their satisfaction. In the last few years, more and moreSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 41 of 53Romanian employers allowed their own employees to either work from home or have a shorter Friday,or a totally free day, and this is also reflected in the level of satisfaction.Functional flexibility statistically and positively impacted the overall level of job satisfactionmainly through the channel of training courses paid by the employer who lead to an increase in thegeneral job satisfaction of employees.Workspace flexibility statistically and positively impacted the overall level of job satisfactionthrough its channels of home working, partial home-working and co-working. For Romanianemployees, it has become essential that employers allow a mix of home and office working, as well asworking in rented spaces, in an environment with several social relations, characterized by importantcommunity relations and resource sharing (resource sharing), to increase the level of satisfaction andalso the longer-term retentive degree.The empirical results of the second model, highlighting the influence of multidimensional flexibilitycomposite indicator on the overall level of job satisfaction among Romanian employees, confirmed thatsalary satisfaction preserved the same positive and statistically significant impact on job satisfaction.Technicians and unskilled workers tend to be less satisfied with their job, while the level of jobsatisfaction tends to decrease with the age, employees from the age group 46–55 years old being lesssatisfied with their jobs compared with the youth.Employees from national companies tend to be less satisfied with their jobs compared with thoseones from limited liability companies.The impact of the overall measure of work flexibility on the overall level of job satisfaction waspositive and highly significant, revealing that a higher level of work flexibility, taking into account acombination of different forms, increases the employee level of job satisfaction. A 10 unit increase inthe work flexibility index increases the log odds of job satisfaction by 0.26.The Hosmer and Lemeshow test (Appendix B), which shows whether the model adequatelydescribes the data, highlights a good fit of the data because the probability is above the 5% threshold.The classification table provides us with information about the classification of individuals.Thus, of those who declared themselves satisfied, the model correctly classifies 140 people, with apercentage of 92.1%, while of those who declared themselves dissatisfied or neutral, the model correctlyclassifies a number of 55 individuals, cumulating in a success rate of 82.1%. In total, the model correctlyclassifies a percentage of 89% (Table 8).Table 8. Classification table a. Degree of satisfaction with the current job.ObservedPredictedJob_SatisfPercentage CorrectElse Satisfied tModel Ijob_satisf Else 55 12 82.1Satisfied 12 140 92.1Overall Percentage 89.0Model IIjob_satisf Else 49 16 75.4Satisfied 13 135 91.2Overall Percentage 86.4a The cut value is 0.500.4.6. A Brief Overview on the Main Empirical ResultsSummarizing the most relevant empirical results of our research, we should mention that:Hypothesis 1 was supported by the fact that the average value of the composite index of workflexibility registered the value of 50.22, pointing out a medium level of work flexibility among Romanianemployees. Additionally, in order to respond to the following research questions: “What is the levelof work flexibility registered by most employees?” and “How many employees have a high level ofSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 42 of 53work flexibility?”, we can say that almost 40% of Romanian employees exhibited a small level of workflexibility, and only one third of Romanian employees registered a higher level of work flexibility,the index value being higher than the threshold of 70.Hypothesis 2 was only partially supported by the empirical results.Contractual flexibility proxies by indefinite employment contract with part-time work or fixed-termemployment contract with full time or part time does not support hypothesis H2, not leading to anincrease in the job satisfaction due to the coefficients’ lack of significance.Working time arrangements only partially supported H2. Although both were working the samenumber of hours per day, and the same number of days per week, Romanian employees are morewilling to have flexibility in the number of days per week, behavior that significantly influences theoverall level of their satisfaction. In the last few years, more and more Romanian employers allowedtheir own employees to either work from home or have a shorter Friday or a totally free day, and thisis reflected also in the level of satisfaction. Working time arrangements brings its share of contributionto sustainable HRM through flexible number of days per week leading to an increase in the overalllevel of job satisfaction.Functional flexibility supported hypothesis H2 through the statistically significant coefficientof training courses paid by the employer who lead to an increase in the general job satisfaction ofemployees. The functional flexibility brings its share of contribution to sustainable HRM through thechannel of employee development, an important characteristic of HRM.Workspace flexibility supported H2 through the statistically and positive impact of home working,partial home working and co-working, leading to an increase in overall job satisfaction. For Romanianemployees, it becomes essential that this mix of home and office working, as well as working inrented spaces, in an environment with several social relations, characterized by important communityrelations and resource sharing (resource sharing) to increase the level of satisfaction and also thelonger-term retentive degree.Hypothesis 3 was supported by the positive and highly significant coefficient of the work flexibilitycomposite index, a global measure including different forms of flexibility and leading to an increase inthe level of job satisfaction.H4 was supported through a high percentage of positive contributions, confirming that HOT, as anew type of working, is associated with a higher level of job performance, a better management ofpersonal time and space, and a higher level of comfort.H5 was supported through a high percentage of positive contributions, confirming that HOP,as a new type of working, is associated with a higher level of organizational performance, a higherwork motivation, higher personal and professional relationships, and a higher level of learning andprofessional development.H6 was supported through a high percentage of positive contributions, confirming that CW, as anew type of working, is associated with higher personal and professional relationships, and higherlevel of learning and professional development.H7 was supported through a high percentage of positive contributions, confirming that FO, as anew type of working, is associated with higher personal and professional relationships.H8 was supported through high a percentage of positive contributions, confirming that HOP isassociated with a higher level of work motivation.4.7. Emphasizing the Main Implications for Sustainable HRMIn the face of current challenges, the concept of HRM needs to be redefined, with sustainable HRMbeing a more appropriate approach to actual human resource management. Sustainable HRM aims atlong-term objectives and results, being characterized by employee and environmental care, employeeparticipation and development, external partnership, flexibility, compliance with labor regulations,cooperation between employees, equity, and equality, without affecting profitability.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 43 of 53Among the main characteristics of sustainable HRM, two core characteristics:employee development and a mix of flexible working time and new types of workspaces areparticularly important from the perspective of their impact on two main outcomes of sustainable HRM:job satisfaction and job performance.In the light of achieving sustainable HRM, the positive influence of employee development on jobsatisfaction as an important outcome of sustainable HRM can be revealed.Employees are key stakeholders in the formation and development of the organization’s human andsocial capital and are a key source of knowledge and support for the development and implementationof sustainable HRM.Employees working desired hours tend to be more motivated and spend a longer periodof time without changing jobs. In recent years, this paradigm shift conduced to an increase onemployee autonomy, interruptions during work schedules to meet employee needs, employeeparticipation on decision making, workspace modelling, increasing employee creativity andproductivity. Job performance and satisfaction influences sustainable HR practices, so their knowledgeis essential to be able to redefine HRM according to current needs. If an organization wants to practicesustainable HRM, it should focus on developing employees in sustainability, by engaging them throughtaskforces, trainings and in the sustainability strategy’s design and implementation.Employee development needs to be oriented mainly in the acquiring of skills and capacities thatemployees can use in the future and seeing employees as a main asset as well as agents of change [3].Hirsig et al. [43] and Stankeviˇciut ¯ e and Savaneviˇcie [ ˙ 3] highlighted the importance of investment intraining and education for human resources, creating a win–win situation both for employees (futureemployability and career opportunities) and for employer (profitability and success).The presence of sustainability in HRM can be revealed through employee development via on thejob training, which can be seen as a cost saving approach, leading in turn to higher job motivation [43]as well as from the perspective of attracting new employees [3] sending the message that the companyis interested in their long term retention.From the perspective of sustainable HRM, flexible employment forms hardly support the idea ofsustainability and do not highlighted any impact of job satisfaction at the level of Romanian employees.A mix of flexible working times and new types of workspaces represents a potential solutionfor sustainable HRM, increasing the level of job satisfaction and resulting in lesser use of companycars and reduced need for large buildings, both of which will help the environment. Other than that,employees will benefit from increased freedom and control which will lead to a better work-life balanceand lower levels of stress.Therefore, if the challenge is to redesign the actual human resource management in order toachieve the desideratum of sustainable HRM, the attention needs to be on a mixture of employeedevelopment-flexible and time-flexible places leading to an increase in both employee job satisfactionand organizational performance, as important outcomes of sustainable HRM. Sustainable HRM shouldstrive to be involved with the sustainability strategy from the beginning, which will positively influencetheir perceived possibilities for putting sustainability on the map and their role in enthusing, facilitatingand motivating employees for sustainability.5. Conclusions and Policy Implications5.1. Main Conclusions of the ResearchOver time, the global market has undergone important changes in the nature of the workthat employees and organizations have to deal with, such as more knowledge-intensive content,rapid technological change, constant innovation, and more flexible jobs and time programs.The role of the employee become even more important. Employees working desired hours tendto be more motivated and spend a longer period of time without changing jobs. In recent years thisparadigm shift conduced to an increase on employee autonomy, interruptions during work schedulesSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 44 of 53to meet employee needs, employee participation on decision making, workspace modelling, increasingemployee creativity and productivity. The knowledge of job performance and satisfaction as importantoutcomes of is essential to be able to redefine HRM according to current needs.Work flexibility offers to employees a balance between professional and personal life, leading tojob satisfaction and performance, with positive consequences of the well-being of the organization.Work flexibility is very important, digital transformations and technology allowing a carrying out ofactivities based on an internet connection in many areas.In such a context, the paper investigated the relationship between employee development andworktime and workspace flexibility as relevant characteristics of sustainable HRM, job satisfactionand job performance among Romanian employees in order to identify how to redesign HRM in theface of “future work” challenges. Thus, the paper aims to examine the impact of different types offlexibility—functional, working time and workspace flexibility in order to highlight the relevance ofemployee development and employee flexibility as important aspects of sustainable HRM in increasingthe overall level of employee job satisfaction.In order to do that, an employee flexibility composite indicator taking into account the main fourtypes of flexibility has been developed on the basis of Romanian employees’ points of view gathered bya national representative survey using the multiple correspondence analysis. Furthermore, the impactof both individual types of flexibility as well as employee flexibility composite indicator on the overalllevel of job satisfaction has been quantified using binary logistic regression models. Within the research,special attention was granted to the impact of new types of workspaces (FO, CW, HOT, HOP) on thejob performance, job satisfaction, organizational performance, professional growth and development,social and professional relationships, and personal professional performance as well as on the overalllevel of work motivation.The empirical results revealed that the main forms of work flexibility mentioned by Romanianemployees were work in team, computer usage, teleworking and job rotation. Analyzing the responseprovided by the respondents, it can be highlighted that flexible forms of employment or functionalflexibility were present on the Romanian labor market only in a small extent, a larger field being wonby working time flexibility and workspace flexibility.The functional flexibility related to employee training was found only to a small extent withinRomanian companies, only a third of employees benefiting from training course paid by theirown employer.A little more than one third of Romanian employees declared to work in a flexible manner and aneven smaller proportion declared to benefit from flexible working hours, flexible number of days perweek, working in shifts, or work outside normal working hours.In terms of workspace flexibility, the new types of workspaces were highly appreciated byemployees, creating a great openness and interest in them.Home working has the most appreciations mainly in terms of labor productivity, comfort and timeand space management, while partial home working has highly appreciated in terms of organizationalperformance, relationships, learning and personal development. In terms of relationships, learning andpersonal development, contributions were also made by co-working and flex-office. However, the mostsuitable solution, which results from the study, is a mix between working from home and working incompany offices, with accents in rented spaces co-working.Another important result of our research was the composite index of work flexibility foremployees, whose average value pointed out an almost medium level of work flexibility with Romanianorganizations, while only a third of Romanian employees exhibited a higher level of work flexibility.The research pointed out significant differences among demographic variables. Therefore, employeesfrom the center and Bucharest-Ilfov; from national companies or public institutions; from companiesactivating in wholesale, services, or constructions; general managers, directors, or a person holdinga senior or a middle management position; or higher education specialists have a higher level ofwork flexibility.Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 45 of 53The empirical analysis of logistic regression analysis pointed out the role of functional flexibility,working time and workspace flexibility together with the flexibility composite indicator in increasingthe level of job satisfaction. Therefore, if the challenge is to redesign actual human resource managementin order to include the concept of sustainability, attention needs to be on employee developmenttogether with the mix of flexible working time and workspaces that will increase the employee jobsatisfaction, thus leading to sustainable HRM.Romanian employees mentioned the importance of financial incentives even if it is known that thistype of measure will produce effects only on short-term, the relevance of functional flexibility throughthe participation to training courses and the working time flexibility through a flexible program as themain measures in increasing employee work motivation.The empirical results of logistic regression analysis pointed out the role of two core characteristicsof sustainable HRM: employee development and a mix of flexible working time and new types ofworkspaces are particularly important from the perspective of their impact on two main outcomes ofsustainable HRM, job satisfaction, and job performance.Contractual flexibility does not reflect any impact on the satisfaction of Romanian employeesregarding their job.Working time arrangements statistically impacted the overall level of job satisfaction, revealing acertain pattern. Romanian employees are more satisfied working the same number of hours per daybut more willing to have a flexibility in the number of days per week, and this behaviour significantlyinfluence the overall level of their satisfaction. In the last few years, more and more Romanianemployers allowed their own employees to either work from home or have a shorter Friday or a totallyfree day and this is reflected also in the level of satisfaction.Functional flexibility statistically and positively impacted the overall level of job satisfactionmainly through the channel of training courses paid by the employer who lead to an increase in thegeneral job satisfaction of employees.Workspace flexibility statistically and positively impacted the overall level of job satisfactionthrough its channels of home working, partial home-working and co-working. For Romanianemployees, it has become essential that employers allow a mix of home and office working, as well asworking in rented spaces, in an environment with several social relations, characterized by importantcommunity relations and resource sharing (resource sharing), to increase the level of satisfaction andalso the longer-term retentive degreeAlso, the overall measure of work flexibility exhibited a positive impact on job satisfaction,revealing that a higher level of work flexibility, in a combination of different forms, increases theemployee level of job satisfaction.Therefore, if the challenge is to redesign the actual human resource management in orderto achieve the desideratum of sustainable HRM, the attention needs to be on a mix of employeedevelopment-flexible and time-flexible places, leading to an increase in both employee job satisfactionand organizational performance, as important outcomes of sustainable HRM.5.2. Policy ImplicationsIn the context of today’s economy, when professionals can choose from a wide range of offersavailable on the labor market, employers must reinvent themselves and begin to offer potentialemployee’s alternative benefits, other than simply financial ones. Most of the time, the flexibility of theorganization can determine both the employee’s longevity and, more importantly, their motivation towork hard and to be productive. Employer flexibility benefits not only the employees, but also theorganization that offers it. Rigidity removes talent, and in a free, growing market, potential employeeshave the opportunity to explore their options before they choose a position.The labor market is constantly changing, atypical work acquiring a significant influence, especiallyin these current times of the coronavirus crisis restrictions. A Gallup article published in early April2020 has already indicated a change, “three out of five US workers who did their homework duringSustainability 2020, 12, 6086 46 of 53the coronavirus pandemic would prefer to continue working as far away as possible,” while 41% saidthey would prefer to return to work or the office to work as they did before the crisis.Covid-19 produced major changes, including work. All these changes will result in a workreorganization, as long as flexibility do not change performance targets. In time of coronavirus crisisworking at home became the new normal, work flexibility must be “business as usual” and not justsomething to resort to in times of crisis.After the coronavirus crisis passes, its effects will be felt in both the long term and short term.Related to work, some managers consider continuing their work from home because they have noticedan increase in productivity from employees and lower costs. It is obvious that most employees willnotice changes regarding work compared to the period before crisis. In Australia, the country that hasmanaged this health crisis very well, it is being discussed that the work week will be reduced to fourdays a week as a new measure regarding work flexibility in order to restart the economy as soon aspossible, but also to protect citizens. Other organizations are considering work flexibility, a four-daywork week with the fifth day being dedicated to volunteering.In the event of a crisis, we can respond with either resilience or resistance. According to Mercer’s2020 Global Talent Trends Study [130] in times of actual crisis, companies said they planned toincrease strategic partnerships (40%), use more variable talent pools (39%), and invest in automation(34%). Flexible operation is a crucial component, only 44% of companies consider systematicallyevaluating jobs for their adaptation, making flexibility dependent on the job, rather than on a person’scircumstances. Resilience is influenced by the type of industry involved. According to a COVID-19survey, the sectors that have been significantly impacted following disruptions are healthcare (56%),retail (56%), mining (55%), manufacturing (46%), and automation (43%). Clearly, business models thatare difficult to digitize, highly dependent on people, or that rely heavily on global supply chains arethe most exposed. In contrast, the least affected sectors are professional services (4%), high technology(5%), education (9%), insurance (10%), and telecommunications (12%). Depending on how long thesituation continues, many of them will feel the effects of limited funding for discretionary projects andvalue-added services.The state of emergency has removed some preconceived notions. For example, it turns out that wecan work from home, and very well at that. Therefore, this crisis is a great opportunity for companiesand employees to reinvent themselves.Author Contributions: Conceptualization, A.A.D., I.C., and S.-A.A.; methodology, A.A.D. and S.-A.A.; software,A.A.D.; validation, A.A.D., S.-A.A., and A.P.; formal analysis, I.C. and A.P.; investigation, A.A.D. and S.-A.A.;resources, I.C.; data curation, S.-A.A., I.C., and A.P.; writing—original draft preparation, A.A.D., S.-A.A., A.P.,and I.C.; writing—A.A.D., S.-A.A., A.P., and I.C.; visualization, A.A.D.; supervision, A.A.D. and S.-A.A. All authorshave read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.Funding: This research received no external funding.Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.Appendix ATable A1. The results of multiple correspondence analysis (final weights).Dim. 1Contractual flexibilityYou are employee on the basis of an indefinite employmentcontract with full working time
yesno
-0.0451.058
You are employee on the basis of an indefinite employmentcontract with part-time work
yesno
1.667-0.047
You are employee on the basis of a fixed-term employmentcontract with part-time work
yesno
0.738-0.003
Sustainability 2020, 12, 6086 47 of 53Table A1. Cont.Dim. 1Working time flexibilityDo you work 40 h a week at your main job? yes 0.649no -0.079Do you have more than one job? yes 1.963no -0.093Do you work the same number of hours every day? yes 0.474no -0.162Do you start and end the program at fixed hours? yes 1.031no -0.451Do you work in shifts? yes 0.766no -1.171Do you work flexible hours? yes 0.430no -0.255Functional flexibilityHave you participated in training courses paid for by youremployer?
yesno
0.863-0.429
Have you participated in paid courses from your own sources? yes 2.732no -0.398Workspace flexibilityDo you practice home working? yes 2.625no -1.199Do you practice partial home working? yes 2.819no -1.106Do you practice co-working? yes 3.426no -0.832Do you practice flex-office? yes 3.468no -0.724Appendix BTable A2. Hosmer and Lemeshow test for models I and II.Hosmer and Lemeshow TestChi-Squaredf Sig.Model I 9.221 8 0.324Model II 3.421 9 0.905Sig. = Significance.Table A3. Model summary.Model Summary-2 Log Likelihood Cox & Snell R Square Nagelkerke R SquareModel I 121.917 a 0.491 0.693Model II 137.608 a 0.443 0.625a Estimation terminated at iteration number 20 because maximum iterations has been reached. Final solution cannotbe found.References1. Stankeviˇciut ¯ e, Z.; Savaneviˇcien ˙ e, A. Designing Sustainable HRM: The Core Characteristics of Emerging Field. ˙Sustainability 2018, 10, 4798. [CrossRef]2. De Prins, P.; Van Beirendonck, L.; De Vos, A.; Segers, J. 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