As Richard Branson famously said, “A company’s employees are its greatest asset.” That’s why smart employers are asking questions like:
- “How do we hire the best talent?”
- “What do employees really want?”
- “How can we improve the job satisfaction of our team?”
The answer to these questions is simpler than you may expect. Research shows the one perk that has the most impact on the loyalty, satisfaction and productivity of a workforce is flexibility.
Is flexibility REALLY that important?
That’s what the numbers show, yes. A recent article from Forbes.com reported that 92% of millennials list flexibility as a top priority when job hunting. And it’s not just millennials who want control over their schedules, it’s older generations, too. A new National Bureau of Economic Research paper surveying people in their 50s, 60s and 70s in the US found that 30% would continue working after 70 if they could have flexible hours, and only 17% would otherwise.
What about Asia? Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends Study found that flexible work hours are a core part of the value proposition for 82% of employees in Singapore. It just goes to show that nowadays, flexibility isn’t just a perk – it’s a requirement.
Why is flexibility so important?
People prioritise flexibility because of one powerful reason: autonomy. Giving employees a degree of control over their schedule helps them maintain a better work-life balance, and is especially important for those with caregiving responsibilities. And, according to a new Bentley University survey, 77% of millennials say flexible work hours would help them be more productive.
Ron Friedman, author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, said, “We have decades of studies showing that people are happier, healthier and more productive when they feel autonomous.”
That’s all very well, but what’s in it for the employer?
Although flexibility in the workplace has increased substantially over the past few years, most companies are not keeping up with the requirements of their employees. This may be because of a lack of technology that allows for remote working or a rigid company structure that isn’t easy to change. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: those who aren’t willing or able to meet the needs of their employees are losing great talent, and putting themselves at a disadvantage.
Offering flexibility helps companies achieve two main goals: spend less and earn more money.
Spend less: high turnaround rates are costly. With flexibility, employees are likely to stay longer. According to The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019, millennials and Generation Z may stay in a job for more than five years if their employers are flexible about where and when they work.
Earn more: research shows that flexible work options improve productivity and, because it’s a top priority for the best talent nowadays, you’ll find it easier to recruit the cream of the crop.
What’s the first step?
If you’re ready to start offering your employees more flexibility, you may want to try out a few options first and see what fits. It may be flexible work hours or work locations or both. As many Singaporeans spend more than an hour a day commuting, having the option to work closer to home goes a long way to improving job satisfaction.
You can test the waters with workbuddy’s one-week free trial. With this easy-to-use app, your employees get access to more than 30 of Singapore’s best co-working spaces, so they can stay productive in purpose-built spaces with access to professional networks across the city, while enjoying the flexibility they value. If you decide to continue your subscription, membership starts from as little as S$129 a month. How’s that for affordable?
And in closing, here’s a great quote from Bill Gates: “The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.”