Why ‘when and where’ matter: How flexibility affects job satisfaction

It may be time to start thinking of flexibility as more than just an optional job ‘perk’; workers are more likely to quit without it.

Giving employees the flexibility to leave their physical office space and step outside of the 9-5 routine is still considered a lucky “perk” by some businesses.

Even with #FlexFrom1st growing closer to being realized, some employers still seem reluctant to let go of the reins when it comes to staff work hours and scheduling.

But it may be time for more people to look at this as a necessity rather than an option, considering more employees are likely to quit without it.


Staff are happier when they have flexibility

Just about anyone who works remotely or hybrid, or who has the flexibility to choose their schedule, will tell you about its benefits.

However, having solid data helps to solidify this fact, and information from the University of Leeds does just that.

In a study entitled “Where is Your Office Today?”, the university found that workers who had more flexibility reported several benefits over those without it.

flexible work UK

Staff who were given more choice reported a host of benefits. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels)

These workers:

  • Were happier with their jobs
  • Had better job performance
  • Went above and beyond more often
  • Wasted less time during the workday
  • Had better wellbeing
  • Were more well-rested
  • Had fewer work-family conflicts

In contrast, “when employees felt they had little control over where they worked, working in the office was associated with lower workplace satisfaction.”

This, in turn, had “a knock-on effect on performance and job satisfaction” for in-office workers with no flexibility, and unsatisfied employees are by far the most likely to quit.


How common (or uncommon) is workplace choice?

flexible work UK

Around 80% of hybrid workers have some level of choice about their work model. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels)

In another win for remote work and other forms of flexibility on the job, most hybrid workers surveyed by the University of Leeds said they have some measure of control over when and where they work.

Just 20% of hybrid workers said they have “very little” control over where they work on a daily basis.

A comparable 21% said the same thing about control over when they work, including what time they start their day and how many hours they work every day.

Compare that with 43% of in-person staff who said they have very little control over where they work, and 35% who said they have very little control over when they work.


Is flexible work more than a perk?

flexible work UK

Businesses should be open to flexibility discussions with their staff. (Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels)

Considering how much of an impact flexibility has on employee satisfaction, and therefore turnover rates, more businesses should consider including it as a standard part of their benefits package.

In its report, the University of Leeds recommends that businesses work with their staff to establish non-negotiables in this regard while giving leeway for workers to exercise autonomy.

We agree that this is a great option for the best possible outcome between employers and their remote or hybrid staff.

Find the latest remote jobs in the UK via RemoteWorker.co.uk.

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