Research commissioned by Velocity Smart shows almost half of the employees are ready to walk away from their jobs if flexibility isn't on the cards.
Once used to describe a nimble gymnast, flexibility is no longer limited to the body’s bendiness, flexibility now applies to our everyday life and to the business world is no exception. Flexible working was once viewed as something only so-called ‘cool’ businesses or young startups provided, but nowadays, things are very different.
The power has been placed pretty firmly in the hands of the employee, and businesses no longer have the luxury of toying with the idea as something they ‘may’ offer in a far-away future. Employees that are not offered the chance for flexible, remote or asynchronous working will walk – and most likely straight into another job.
We have all rediscovered the joys of taking time to be outside during the working day, from walking the lock-down dog to managing side jobs, substantial numbers of individuals now recognise the nonsensical nature of the old nine to five.
It now needs to become an essential part of recruitment and retention strategies for businesses to firm up flexible employment models - or else, they may be left without an office to fill.
We researched this very issue in our ‘Changing behaviours of a flexible workforce in 2022 and beyond’ report. The research investigated how offices will change in 2022 and how business leaders can support more diverse and asynchronous working practices in order to keep pace with competition and retain employees.
Using an independent research house, the results showed that almost half of UK office workers (47%) are ready to walk away from their current job and look for new opportunities if flexibility is not provided by their employer, rising to 60% in workers aged 25-34.
Employees no longer expect flexible working, they are actively making career changes to better suit their commitments outside of work. Whether that is flexible hours, locations or a mixture of both. People are happier with this flexible way of working with a third (34%) insisting their mental health has improved since being allowed to have more flexible working.
These figures should raise alarm bells for businesses already scrambling to avoid the cost and disruption associated with staff turnover. Companies have experienced a huge spike in job moves in recent months, and almost 7 in every 10 UK employees (69%) say they feel confident to move to a new job in the next couple of months.
While businesses of all sizes may still be scratching their heads and trying to figure out hybrid hurdles, the truth is that technology products and how they’re used, plus the culture around employee engagement, is exactly what’s driving people out the door. Technology might not be the saving grace that businesses expected, but having tools and services that help embrace and improve flexible working could be the decisive factor in attracting and retaining talent.