When two-thirds of candidates believe they don't need to be sitting at a desk to get their work done, it's clear that workplace flexibility has become a top priority for today's job seekers. In fact, nearly 40 percent of global candidates report that schedule flexibility is one of the top three factors they consider when making career decisions.
This is according to new global research from ManpowerGroup Solutions, part of ManpowerGroup. In Work, for Me: Understanding Candidate Preferences for Flexibility, ManpowerGroup Solutions shares both the immediate steps and the long-term actions that companies can take to better meet their prospective employees' preferences around flexibility.
The survey found that flexible arrival and departure times and full-time work from home/location independence are generally the most desired types of flexible workplace policies. Twenty-six percent of global candidates say flexible arrival and departure times are most important, followed closely by the ability to work from home or any other place they choose (22 percent).
The study also reveals that the rise in the importance of schedule flexibility is driven by a wide range of local factors. These include the presence of multinational companies or unions in that location; the influence of technology firms in the marketplace; workforce composition, such as proportion of Millennials; and congestion, infrastructure or public transportation that can impact commuting times.
"Workplace flexibility doesn't just mean working remotely. It includes all types of working arrangements, from when to take breaks, working from home or caregiving leave. While no employer can accommodate every option, they can provide a range that appeal to a variety of candidates," said Kate Donovan, Senior Vice President of ManpowerGroup Solutions and Global RPO President.
"It's clear that candidates across the globe seek a way to achieve 'One Life,' which means integrating work and home life. Organizations need to be ready to drop old work models that emphasize presenteeism over performance. It's time to shift the needle – employers who meet candidate expectations around schedule flexibility have the advantage in recruiting and retaining the best talent."
Knowing how schedule flexibility is a priority for today's job seekers, ManpowerGroup Solutions shares key practical recommendations for employers in a world of flexible workplaces:
- Take baby steps. A company does not have to force the transition from traditional to virtual workplace overnight. Shift to a 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. schedule or designate a number of remote working flex days to combat long commute times.
- Normalize existing flexibility policies. Neutralize flexibility stigma by changing company culture to make working outside the office acceptable. It starts from the top – leaders need to be transparent and lead by example.
- Align incentives with outcomes. Replacing face-time requirements with logged hours on a virtual private network (VPN) can be perceived by employees as inauthentic. Instead, set goals and deadlines – if employees meet them, managers can worry less about clocking in and out.