Deloitte released findings of a new survey, which found that the majority of the U.S. workforce values work flexibility and prioritizes the use of flexible work options to support their well-being, despite stigma that persists around them.
The new external survey of 1,000 U.S. white-collar professionals revealed that nearly all respondents say they would benefit from work flexibility (94%), with the top advantages being less stress/improved mental health (43%) and better integration of work and personal life (38%). Among the professionals whose company offers flexible work options, 82% say they have used them, namely flexible work hours (48%) and remote work, including work from home (41%). These options can empower workers to decide when and where they work. Compressed workweeks and part time scheduling were cited as the least used options, at 7% and 6% respectively.
“In today’s fast-paced and always on world, people are taking more control of their own well-being,” said Jen Fisher, chief well-being officer at Deloitte. “Our survey suggests that more people are using flexible workplace programs, even though they have lingering concerns about the potential consequences to their professional development.”
While 1 in 3 respondents say that nothing would prevent them from taking advantage of flexible work options, another nearly 30% say potential consequences to their professional growth and lack of trust from leadership would. The survey also reveals that 80% of professionals agree a traditional work setting — defined as regular attendance at an office or working normal business hours — is important for advancing their career.
Still, professionals aren’t deterred from taking advantage of these programs and look to leaders to foster a culture of well-being. In fact, more than half of professionals (52%) say the CEO/company leadership has the greatest impact on advancing flexibility within their organization.
“Each individual has their own unique needs in the workplace,” said Terri Cooper, chief inclusion officer for Deloitte. “Leaders can drive well-being within their organization by taking an inclusive approach to work flexibility and offering options that meet a variety of diverse needs. Through adaptable programs and supportive leadership, professionals will feel empowered to use flexible work options without fear of consequence.”
Additional key takeaways from the survey
Other emerging findings from the survey include:
- Over 70% of respondents say that their companies offer flexible work options, with the top three being: flexible work hours (44%), remote work (35%) and extended leave (34%).
- More than 8 in 10 (83%) professionals say that modern workplace communication tools — such as email, instant messaging or video conferencing — can blur the lines between work and personal life
- More than half (53%) of the professionals do not believe that work flexibility will negatively impact team dynamics.
- Regarding flexible work options, 1 in 3 say it would increase their job satisfaction and morale, and almost 30% say it would increase their overall productivity or efficiency at work.
About the survey
The “2020 Work Flexibility Survey” was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 white-collar professionals, between Nov. 20 and Nov. 27, 2019, using an email invitation and an online survey.