How valuable are flexible schedules for workers?

by HCA07 Mar 2017

Roughly 3 in 4 individuals – regardless of whether they are students or professionals – believe flexible schedules and work locations will present “big opportunities” for them, according to a large-scale survey by INSEAD in collaboration with Universum, the HEAD Foundation and MIT Leadership Centre.

“Employers are no longer competing against other companies for talent, but are vying to attract employees who might otherwise want to work independently,” the survey report said. It interviewed 18,377 individuals across 19 countries.

Results showed a large majority who believed that flexible working hours represent a “big opportunity” for their professional life in the next 10 years:

  • Gen Z (born 1997-2002): 70%
  • Gen Y Students (university students born 1984-1986): 75%         
  • Gen Y Professionals (academic degree holders born 1984-1986): 74%
  • Gen X Professionals (academic degree holders born 1965-1983): 72%

“The rise of the sharing economy (e.g. Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabbit), and a parallel growth in technologies that support freelance work, means traditional, sit-at-your-desk work may not be the norm much longer when it comes to freelance work,” the report added.

The INSEAD report said organizations must do more to understand what flexible work means for their working professionals.

 It cited the case of financial firm Moody’s, “which profiles employees who have advanced to senior leadership roles while using flexible work benefits – showing it doesn’t derail advancement.”

“Moody’s also makes clear to employees that the company benefits from these arrangements by attracting higher caliber talent to work for the organization (making it seem less of a one-sided benefit).”

Singapore firms expect a 3% drop in the proportion of fulltime employees over the next three years, a global survey by advisory firm Willis Towers Watson (WTW) said.

“With the rise of the ‘gig economy’ and a shift towards hiring contingent workers, made easier with advances in workplace technology, we anticipate this to be a sustained trend.”

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