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Workers Crave Flexible Working Options


Businesses that don’t have a flexible workspace policy might be at risk of losing out on qualified talent, according to research from IWG.

IWG, a flexible workspace provider, found that 80% of the United States-based workers surveyed would choose a job offering flexible working over a job that didn't, and almost a third (30%) of people value being able to choose their work location over an increase in vacation time. As a result, in the past 10 years, 83% of businesses have introduced a flexible workspace policy, or are planning to adopt one.

“Last year our Global Workspace Survey talked about reaching a tipping point, but what we are seeing now is that flexible working is considered by many to be the new norm for any business that is serious about productivity, agility and winning the war for top talent,” said Mark Dixon, CEO of IWG. “Indeed, over half of all our respondents claim to work outside their main office location for at least half of the week.”

While many businesses have or are planning to implement a more flexible workplace policy, existing company cultures may inhibit full adoption of these changes. 56% of those surveyed said that changing the organizational culture is the main barrier to implementing a flexible workspace policy, particularly within businesses that have a long-standing, nonflexible working approach. Over a third (43%) said that fear of how flexible working may impact the overall company culture is the biggest obstacle.  

Attracting and Retaining Talent 
Findings show that 78% of businesses think that offering flexible working enables them to expand their talent pool. In fact, 81% of businesses are adapting to improve talent retention by introducing flexible working. From an employee's point of view, more than a third of people would say that flexible working is so important, they would prioritize it over having a more prestigious role (35%).

Perhaps this is due to an increasing focus on work-life balance: flexible working is seen to improve this balance by 82%

85% of businesses confirm that productivity has increased in their business because of greater flexibility. What's more, 63% of those surveyed report at least a 21% improvement in productivity as a result of flexible working.

Increasing Agility and Cost Savings 
59% of businesses surveyed said they are looking to be more agile in 2019. A third of businesses are looking to expand internationally this year, and 62% said that they have chosen flexible working because it accelerates speed to market in new countries. 70% also choose flexible working to help them scale. Flexible workspace has also been chosen by 65% to reduce capital and operational expenditures. The same number of respondents have adopted flexible workspace to help manage risks, and to consolidate their portfolio.

The New Normal 
For many employers and employees, flexible working is now the norm. More than half (52%) of those surveyed state that they now work outside their company's main location for at least half the working week or more, and for 71% of people, a choice of work environment is a key factor when evaluating new career opportunities.

The findings also reveal that more than two-fifths of U.S. workers see commuting as the worst part of their day (45%) and more than half of respondents (53%) believe that it could be obsolete in a decade (2030). Pressure has been mounting as commuters are increasingly disgruntled by their journey to work, and close to one in five (17%) respondents would say that they are “regularly late” for work due to travel disruptions. Almost half (49%) of workers spend their commute working, and as a result, over a third (36%) feel that official working hours should include time spent on their journey, as this does not constitute “free time” in their day.

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