Employers take note. Of all the benefits that companies and organizations can offer to employees, one benefit—the flexibility to work when and how they want—is the most empowering. That’s according to Envoy’s latest Return to Workplace Report that was released last week.
According to the report, “63% of employees say flexibility would make them feel more empowered. Nearly half agree that having the freedom to split time between the workplace and home, and the flexibility to choose which days to come in, are just as important as traditional benefits like matching 401(k)s and paid time off.”
When asked what their company could do better, offering schedule flexibility ranked nearly as high as providing traditional benefits like 401k match and more paid time of—46% compared to 47% respectively.
Wakefield Research conducted the survey for Envoy of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees over the age of 18 who were employed full or part-time. Responses were collected between November 24 and December 1, 2021, using an email invitation and an online survey. The overall margin of error for the results is ±3.1% at a 95% confidence level.
HR experts, executive search consultants and others shared their insights and perspectives about why flexibility is so important to employees.
Michael Roloson is the director of PEO Focus, Inc.., a human resources and employee benefits consulting firm. He said that, “As a consulting firm that helps companies design their benefit plan offerings, we have a lot of insight into the different benefit options that employees covet and prefer across many different industries. That said, by far the most popular one that is being requested right now is the ability to work remotely. Not from home, but remotely which means from anywhere.”
Roloson noted that, “The pandemic has shown that employees working in professions that allow them to do [so], can be equally or more productive working in remote scenarios. This has empowered them to exceed expectations at work while simultaneously giving them more control over their work life balance.
“This benefit is so coveted right now, employees are even expressing that they are willing to concede other employee benefits or even some of their salary in favor of the ability to work remotely,” he observed.
Ahren Tiller is the founder and supervising attorney at Bankruptcy Law Center. He said, “I manage a team of legal staff, and one of the most popular benefits for my employees nowadays is a flexible working arrangement. This can be attributed to the ongoing threat of Covid-19 and the increasing demand for work-life balance, especially by our younger employees.
“A flexible work arrangement provides employees with the option to do their tasks anywhere they can in certain circumstances. It also allows workers to have a workday when they can choose the time to start and end work, allowing them to work when they are most productive,” Tiller added.
Debra Boggs, cofounder of D&S Professional Coaching. said that, “As the leader of an executive job search consulting and resume writing firm, we work with talented professionals and senior leaders all over the world to equip them with the tools they need to stand out in the modern job market.”
Boggs said their most popular employee benefits “… is without a doubt a remote or hybrid working environment. Almost none of our top-talent clients are interested in going back into the office 100% of the time and are looking for more flexibility and work-life balance now that they’ve experienced it.”
Angela Nibbs is the founder of Maven Communications, a boutique PR firm based in San Francisco. She said that, “Beyond the basics like health benefits and 401ks, flexibility is the most important employee benefit. As a small business, retaining and attracting talent can seem daunting in this incredibly competitive job market.
“What we hear time and again from our team is that they value flexibility— to work where they want, to take the time off when they need it, or to compress their schedules. As a result, our team feels like a trusted and valued part of the team. Productivity and morale remain high, and our clients are well-served and happy.”
Daniel Javor is the founder and CEO of Step By Step Business, a team of serial entrepreneurs who help others start their small businesses. He noted that, “… while traditional benefits will always be important, the benefit of the option of remote or hybrid work is what employees are demanding.
“The pandemic taught us that both remote and hybrid work and are very desirable to employees. The fact is that employees do not want to go back to the ‘old way’ and will go elsewhere if those options are not available to them. Companies need to accept this, and adapt their business to retain employees,” he concluded.