73% of Workers Want More Flexibility in the Workplace

Workplace flexibility is becoming increasingly more important for today’s working adults. In fact, a recent study revealed 73 percent of working adults agree flexibility is one of the most important factors they consider when looking for a new job or deciding what company to work for. This number is up more than 10 percent from last year (61 percent). Clearly, this push for flexibility is happening rapidly. Employers need to react.

The study, which surveyed working adults on their perceptions and preferences around several work/life and flexibility issues, also found that 80 percent of working adults agree flexible work options are just as important for people who don’t have children as they are for those who do. Men, women, parents, and non-parents — everyone wants flexibility.

Not only do they want flexibility, but they’re willing to sacrifice pay to get it. The survey found 45 percent of working adults would be willing to give up a portion of their salary for more flexibility in the workplace. This number has stayed consistent over the past three years.

73% of Workers Want More Flexibility in the Workplace

The good news is nearly 70 percent of working adults say their company would be willing to accommodate them if they requested a flexible work schedule, due to reasons like family care, personal work preferences, or health issues. Additionally, 75 percent report having “at least a little” flexibility in the workplace (up from 68 percent in 2012).

The bad news is nearly 50 percent believe asking for flexible work options would hurt their chances of advancing in their job. If companies are so willing to provide flexible options, and the majority of workers desire flexible options, why should asking for them hinder your career?

Today’s workers, led by Millennials, want to abandon the traditional 9-to-5 workday (46 percent). They want to work from home occasionally (58 percent). They want work-life balance.

Millennial workers (59 percent) would rather be temps, contractors, part-time workers, or consultants, than settle into a traditional full-time job. More than half of them would leave a job if it wasn’t flexible enough. Older generations would rarely consider this.

As Millennials take over the workforce, we need to adapt the current landscape. If workers want flexibility, we should give them flexibility. There are plenty of small changes employers can implement to satisfy this new need:

  • Establishing a flextime policy where workers alter their work days or times.

  • Giving workers some control over their work schedules.

  • Allowing personal days to address family matters or sick children.

  • Enabling workers to work some hours from home.

  • Allowing for flexible breaks during the work day.

In addition to providing these options, employers need to clearly demonstrate that these flexible options do not hurt any worker’s chances of advancing in their job. If everyone embraces the new flexible workplace, we will have happier workers and employers.

What advice do you have for employers to make their workplace more flexible?

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Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended.

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