Flexible working is the new “work-life currency”, claims new report

A new report, Future of Work Life, from Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab explores the ways in which employees and employers navigate the current work environment and their views on the future of work shaped by the pandemic, digitalisation and the fluctuating labour market. Almost half (48 percent) of the employees in the study say that they enjoy increased flexibility at work. 52 percent consider flexible work hours or locations as key requirements, and 25 percent say that flexibility is the top priority if they would start to look for a new job. Doing work rather than going to work is seen as central in this new way of thinking about work life.

Employers need to embrace digitalization and flexible workforce management, and this can be done by creating a workplace of the future that supports human collaboration, simplifies work and values employee input in decision making.

Key findings:

  • Flexibility is the new work life currency. Employees predict flexibility as a future employment need as hybrid work continues to be the norm as 25% of the global working population say they will prioritize flexibility above all else.
  • Digital technologies renew employee confidence. Using the right digital technologies boost twice as much positive feelings for employees without increasing stress.
  • Decision-makers and employees are increasingly at odds over technology. Only 33% of employers consider employee preferences when investing in new technology as 4 out 10 employees struggle with non-relevant tools for their tasks.
  • Flexible workplaces may come at the cost of increased surveillance. Balancing visibility and privacy is a challenge and concern for hybrid work. 65% of employees who are optimistic about technologically-enabled flexibility also believe it will be tied to an increase in monitoring.
  • Globalized labour markets bring talent and concerns to employers. Decision makers in emerging markets agree loyalty is declining with the rise of remote jobs.
  • Five employee paths shape the future of work. Employees prioritize flexibility (24 %) digitalization (20 %), project-based work (12 %), or career (19 %) and financial stability (25%).

The research was carried out during 2022 within 30 markets globally; 38,000 online surveys of employees plus 3,600 online surveys of decision-makers and 11 in-depth interviews with decision-makers from selected industries within three markets; China, Spain and US.