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Workplace flexibility and its effect on employee engagement, job satisfaction, and turnover

Updated: Feb 5

As much as 94% of American-based companies provide flexible work arrangements.


The prevalence of flexible employment arrangements is on the rise. According to a poll by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 94 percent of American firms give some type of flexible work arrangement. Regus conducted a poll indicating that 54 percent of global respondents currently report working at least 2.5 days each week remotely.


employees smiling in an office

Before the pandemic, flexibility in the workplace was on the rise, with forward-thinking, international companies adopting non-traditional settings such as remote teams and flexible scheduling. Then lockdowns compelled everyone to embrace workplace flexibility regardless of their readiness.


Now, although some organizations have returned to their previous practices, others have elected to maintain their flexibility permanently. First, let's understand workplace flexibility, and then we will discuss how it affects employee engagement, job satisfaction, and turnover.


What Is Workplace Flexibility?


Work flexibility is when a company offers its employees the freedom to pick the time (when), location (where), and manner (how) they work to align organizational goals with individual goals.


Work flexibility requires employers to care more about their employees and acknowledge that they have a busy life outside of work. It entails offering them options and alternatives to accommodate work-life balance better.

There are numerous varieties of workplace flexibility, including:


Informal flexibility is sporadic, negotiated between an employee and management, and has less impact on the workplace.


Formal flexibility is often a long-term agreement that differs from a team's standard work hours and location. It may involve remote work or a shift in scheduling.


Impact of Workplace flexibility on employee engagement, satisfaction, and turnover


Employee engagement

A survey conducted with employees by Quantum Workplace: reported the following:


• When asked which work-life balance perks they prefer, more than 70 percent selected paid time off, flexibility, and the option to work remotely above daycare.


• Less than 50 percent of firms offer flexible hours, around 30 percent offer the flexibility to work remotely, and 10 percent offer childcare choices.


• On average, 74 percent of millennials desire the ability to work remotely, nearly 10 percent more than baby boomers.


• More than 80 percent of executives prefer flexible hours, compared to 71 percent of hourly workers and 75 percent of managers, professional/technical, and salaried staff.


• Roughly 20 percent of respondents indicated a desire for daycare as a work-life balance advantage, whereas only 5 percent were satisfied with their employer's existing service.


However, what does this have to do with employee engagement? Well:


• Employee engagement increases by more than 20 percent when there is a healthy balance between work and personal life.


Employees who lack a sense of balance are more likely to feel hostile and disengaged by a factor of 2.5 and 2.7, respectively.


Studies show that a flexible work environment is essential for making people happy at work. Workers who are happy at work are more productive and more likely to stay with an organization long-term.


Job satisfaction

A flexible workplace is exactly what it sounds like: an employer who considers what a worker needs outside of work and accommodates the employee to work when and how they would like. This could mean being able to work from home, change work hours as needed, or even work part-time. The link between flexibility at work and job satisfaction shows a lot about what workers care about.


A Study shows that a flexible workplace is the most important thing for job satisfaction. If employees are happy at work, they are more likely to do a good job and stay with the company for a long time.


Employers can improve productivity, retention, and company profitability if they consider being more flexible with their workforce. But flexibility alone is not enough to make a job completely satisfying. Finding the right combination of qualities at work will lead to more flexibility and, in the end, a more satisfying career.


Turnover

Did you know that if the employer did not offer flexible working options, nearly half of all employees would consider looking for a new job?


According to the results of a survey of 1,000 workers that EY carried out as part of its 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey, four out of five workers wanted flexibility in the workplace, and 47 percent went so far as to say that they would consider changing jobs if flexible working wasn't an option.


When asked about the type of flexibility they desired, employees gave responses such as "choice in when they work" (39%) and "choice in where they work" (43%).


"Companies who are giving some form of remote or hybrid working option are faring the best in this challenging circumstance," stated Aoife O'Brien, an employee engagement and retention expert, and podcast host, in the Future of Working Report.


When it comes down to it, businesses that let go of some of their control over their employees' work schedules experience improvements in employee morale, engagement, retention rates, and productivity.

Workplace flexibility - ignore at your own risk.

Workplace flexibility is becoming a standard demand by employees all around the globe. Companies that embrace this change in workplace culture will thrive. Others will get left behind.

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