Do you offer flexible work options to your employees? If you do, you might be able to save some money, according to two studies. Employees often say they are willing to take a pay cut for workplace flexibility. Here’s what you should know.
A January 2020 Joblist survey looked at the salary percentage that certain groups of employees would give up to achieve more flexibility. The results were as follows:
Of course, these are pre-pandemic figures, and the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a shift to remote work that many have associated with more flexibility. Yet an HRnews study published in March 2021, a full year into the pandemic, found that flexibility remains more important than salary. Among survey respondents, 51% cared more about flexibility than salary.
Employees who have the flexibility to work from home are often more productive. Working from home can increase productivity through longer working hours, a better work-life balance and lower stress levels.
In a 2022 McKinsey and Ipsos survey of 25,000 Americans, 35% said they can work from home full time. The survey also found that 58% of Americans can work from home at least one day per week. Perhaps most revealingly, 87% of survey respondents have taken the flexible work arrangements their employers have offered them.
The survey also found that full- or part-time remote work is most prevalent in certain industries. These industries include computers, mathematics, finance, architecture, engineering, legal, media, arts, entertainment, design and sports. The latter five industries averaged the most days — at 3.8 — working from home per week.
Among the 750 Americans who responded to Workable’s 2021 “Great Discontent” survey, 57.9% have flexible work arrangements. A 2021 Owl Labs report points to some reasons behind flexible arrangements’ popularity. Among the 2,050 full-time employees who responded, 84% said working from home makes them happier. Another 79% said they feel less stressed (which is great for combatting burnout) and more trusted, and 75% said they’re less likely to leave.
Below is a quick guide to implementing flexible work hours.
You have five options for flexible work schedules.
Shifting your team’s schedule can introduce work for your HR and management teams. This means you’ll need to get these departments’ buy-in before moving forward. Take the time to explain your vision for your new schedule and the benefits you expect for your team. Act on any concerns you hear, and remind your HR employees and managers that you appreciate their work. Doing so can get everyone on board and streamline your transition.
Shifting to flexible work may mean introducing new remote teamwork tools that your managers need to know. You should train your managers on how to use these tools and communicate with remote employees. You should also require your managers to schedule regular meetings with your team members. Maintaining strong communication from a distance is key to successfully managing remote workers.
You don’t have to roll out your flexible working arrangements all at once. Try them first with the employees who are demanding them most while keeping everyone else on their usual schedules. Send the people testing your flexible work program employee surveys through which they can tell you what is and isn’t working. From there, make any necessary changes, then introduce the program across your company.
No flexible work program will work perfectly for everyone. Keep your door open to concerns and questions from people struggling with the change, and do what you can to accommodate them. After all, your goal is to keep your team happy so that you minimize employee turnover. Trying to assist when your current program isn’t working perfectly for someone can help you achieve that goal.
You have all kinds of tools at your disposal to shift to flexible work – like team communication tools, a robust HR department, and great managers. Plus, making the shift will likely improve your employees’ happiness. Go ahead and give it a go; you can always adjust if it doesn’t work out perfectly the first time.