Saturday, September 22, 2018Canada's Leading Online Business Magazine

Survey Finds 76% of Workers Avoid The Office for Important Tasks

By Sara Sutton Fell

In a recent FlexJobs survey with more than 2,600 respondents, half (50%) of people reported that their home–and not the office–is their location of choice to be most productive on important work-related projects. Another 12% said they would choose a coffee shop, co-working space, library or other place besides the office. 14% would choose the office but only outside standard hours, leaving less than a quarter who prefer the actual office during regular working hours as a place to complete important work.

The top reasons people think they are more productive at home versus the office include fewer interruptions from colleagues (76%), fewer distractions (74%), minimal office politics (71%), reduced stress from commuting (68%) and more comfortable office environment (65%).

“The results of this survey unfortunately confirm that there is a serious problem with how our workplaces support–or more accurately, don’t support–an optimal environment for productivity, and this is a real loss in both opportunity and revenue for companies,” said Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs, the leading online service for professionals seeking flexible work opportunities. “Companies need to take a serious look at their telecommuting policies and how they can help to harness the benefits telecommuting offers them.”

As a recent Gallup reported telecommuting is on the rise in North America. This is in part due to demand from workers, but also because an increasing number of employers are realizing that mobile and cloud technologies are already being used by their workforces and therefore it makes sense to strategically incorporate telecommuting options for their teams. The trends we’ve seen in why people seek flexible work year over year are undeniable: it makes them happier and healthier in their personal lives, and more productive and satisfied in their work lives.”

Additional findings:

Employer Benefits:

Since 2013, a greater number of employees report being willing to make bottom-line saving sacrifices in exchange for telecommuting options.

  • In 2015, 30% of respondents said they would take a 10% or 20% cut in pay but only 28% reported the same in 2013.
  • 24% are willing to forfeit vacation time in 2015, up 6% from 2014.
  • In 2015, 18% said they would give up employer-matching retirement contributions, up from only 15% in 2013.
  • 82% of respondents say they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.

Improved Health:

Health has grown as a reason for wanting work flexibility, and people surveyed believe flexible options would positively impact their health.

  • In 2015, 32% said health was an important factor in wanting a job with work flexibility, up from 29% in 2013.
  • 97% say a job with flexibility would have a positive impact on their overall quality of life.
  • 80% think it would make them more healthy.
  • 87% think it would lower their stress.

Reasons for Wanting Flexible Work:

Since 2013, work-life balance (81%), family (56%), time savings (56%) & commute stress (48%) were the top four reasons people seek flexible work.

  • Work-life balance remains the number one reason, up 9% since last year.
  • Time savings has outranked cost savings as a factor in seeking flexible work for the past three years, indicating people may place a higher value on their time vs money.
  • 38% of today’s flexible job seekers have commutes over double the national average.
  • Exercise plays a great role in people wanting flexible work, with 29% saying it’s an important reason in 2015, up from 20% in 2013.
  • Of those who telecommuted in 2014, 22% telecommuted more this year than last year.

Types of Flexible Work:

The most in-demand type of flexible work arrangement continues to be 100% telecommuting (83%), but alternative or flexible schedule (51%), partial telecommuting (48%), part-time (47%), and freelance (41%) are also in demand.

* Demographic breakdown of the 2600 respondents: Ages: 19-29 (10%), 30-49 (54%), 50-59 (24%), 60+ (12%); Education: high school degree or equivalent (3%), some college but no degree (16%), associate or bachelor degree (49%), graduate degree (32%); Career level: entry-level (9%), experienced (58%), manager or senior level manager (33%).

Sara Sutton Fell is the CEO of FlexJobs, a leading online service for professionals seeking telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs and has helped over one million people in their job searches. For more information visit www.flexjobs.com

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