Firms not meeting the needs of a growing flexible workforce

flexible workforceA new report claims that US based businesses are not addressing the needs of an increasingly “deskless workforce” which thinks flexible working is a right that should be valued more than other benefits. The Future is Flexible: A New Workforce Paradigm Evolving From the Gig Economy (registration) from Quinyx compiles publicly available data alongside a survey of more than 4,000 employed Americans over the age of 18. It claims that, behind wages, flexibility is one of the most important factors of happiness at work for this growing flexible workforce, higher than health benefits, culture, and employee discounts.

The report sets out to study the impact flexibility can have on employee engagement and productivity specific to the flexible workforce. Stated in the report, 2.7 billion deskless workers around the world have been left behind in the rush to innovate technology solutions to improve business performance. These forgotten deskless workers that are employed in industries such as retail, hospitality, quick service restaurants, and construction, are most often not given access to the flexibility and productivity solutions available to employees that work from a desk.

The report suggests that getting flexible working right will ultimately make for a happier, more engaged and productive workforce:

  • 85 percent of workers believe a more flexible work schedule makes them more productive
  • 59 percent of workers believe flexibility is a right, not just a benefit
  • When looking for a new job, Gen Z sees flexibility (72 percent) as more important than work culture (49 percent), health benefits (39 percent) and employee discounts (29 percent)

According to the report, challenges with scheduling and coordinating with coworkers rank highly in the top frustrations employees and managers face at work today. When workers feel chained to their schedules and something like changing a shift requires a significant amount of time and effort, employees become frustrated that they do not have the flexibility they need and – as a result – productivity tanks:

  • 41 percent of the surveyed workforce spends up to 5 hours a week at work on their own schedule and other team members’ schedules, and 24 percent of workers spend 5 to more than 10 hours per week
  • 32 percent of the surveyed workforce says that coordination with coworkers is their top frustration at work
  • 51 percent said they spend up to 5 hours per week trying to coordinate with colleagues or waiting for a colleague to get back to them
  • 52 percent said that communicating with employees is either somewhat challenging or very challenging