5 ways to offer flexibility without remote work

It's no secret that employees want flexible work arrangements, but the definition of "flexible" remains a bit foggy. 

Remote positions are in high demand, but employers aren't keeping up. There are two applicants for every one remote job on LinkedIn, while the reverse is true for in-person roles, the site said in November. The so-called "Great Remote Work Mismatch" describes a disconnect between workers' desire for more control in their day and managers' desire to control company culture and output from the physical office. 

However, a recent report from employee engagement organization Quantum Workplace explores the middle ground of flexible work. In its 2023 "Employee Engagement Trends" report, the company analyzed data from more than 1 million employees representing 9,000 U.S. organizations. 

Employees with flexible work options are 1.7 times more likely to stay with their current organization and 2.5 times less likely to look for work elsewhere, according to the report. And the definition of "flexible" varies from person to person. Only 10 percent of survey respondents equated flexibility with location, such as the power to work remotely. The largest group — 28 percent of respondents — associate flexibility with adaptability, such as the freedom to leave for personal commitments. 

Here are the six flexible work arrangements that workers told Quantum they'd prefer — and five of them don't require home offices. 

1. Flexibility of work times: 66 percent want this, 69 percent already have it 

2. Flexibility of days worked: 59 percent want this, 54 percent already have it 

3. Flexibility of work location: 45 percent want this, 31 percent already have it 

4. Flexibility over scheduled shifts: 31 percent want this, 30 percent already have it 

5. Flexibility of tasks performed: 28 percent want this, 30 percent already have it 

6. Flexibility of who to work with: 19 percent want this, 16 percent already have it 

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