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Hire Thoughts: Aided by New Technologies, Demands for Work Flexibility Soaring

Young upset businesswoman sitting on chair with briefcaseTo say the typical office environment has changed over the past few years would be an understatement of massive proportions. Anyone who works in an office knows that what many businesses offer today in terms of layout, design, and collaboration is almost unrecognizable to what it was even 10 years ago.

But for many workers, the very idea of working in an office is becoming a thing of the past. Work flexibility or the ability to work remotely and/or shift hours is quickly becoming less of a nice-to-have perk and more of a need-to-have for many Americans.


Flexibility is key

According to LinkedIn, there’s been a 78 percent jump in job postings that mention work flexibility in the last two years alone. In 2017, 31 percent of LinkedIn users said flexible work arrangements are very important when considering a job, a 24 percent jump from just four years prior. Not only that, but in a survey conducted by Yoh in 2018, 42% of Americans said they would leave a job for a flexible workplace environment including remote work.

However, these findings haven’t convinced everyone. Today, it’s estimated that just 3.2% of the workforce works from home at least half the time. Two years ago, IBM put a stop to its remote work policy. So too did Yahoo, Bank of America and Aetna, to some extent. Yet, they appear to be the exception to the trend. As more companies add flexibility to their employee offerings, some say we’re only just beginning to see the benefits.


Technologically connected

Another LinkedIn report states that 91 percent of HR professionals reported employees were more engaged and satisfied when they had flexible schedules and/or a remote work policy. Even better for employers, three-quarters of millennials say they would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company if it meant they had a more flexible schedule.

Growing technologies such as telerobotics – machines that can be controlled remotely by workers to perform a variety of tasks – and telecommuting are at the cutting edge of enabling more remote work. Combined with the ease at which workers can use their laptops, tablets, smartphones and other technologies to complete their work, attend meetings and collaborate with others, it’s no wonder why more and more workers feel they’ve earned the ability to cut down their commutes and work from home. As this technology continues to advance, it’s going to be harder and harder for companies to make the case that working in an office all the time is completely necessary.


One Hire Thought

Despite what some companies may want, telecommuting and customizable schedules aren’t going anywhere fast. Workers aren’t going to stop asking for flexible work schedules and remote work as part of their new job demands. With that, employers should be finding better ways to make remote work more effective and a more seamless part of the workplace environment.

Those companies who make it a point to offer flexibility as a base part of any job offer will be ahead of the curve in attracting top talent today and well into the future.



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