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Why Flexible Working is the Top Employee Benefit of 2024: Mercer Global Talent Trends Stats Revealed

In 2024, 64% of workers said they are more productive when they work remotely. 

Despite the appearance of organisations having completed their post-pandemic flexible working policies, the reality is that 41% of them are still considering making further changes this year. 

Today, we’ll cover exactly why flexible working is still one the top employee benefits of 2024 and what it means for you as a Learning and Development Professional.

Employee learning why flexibility is the top employee benefit of 2022

What is Meant by Flexible Working?

Power to employees.

Flexible working is all about giving employees the chance to choose their working hours and when they do them to suit their needs. Flexible working is often used to describe working hours that don’t fit the traditional full time five day working week.

Before we dive into why flexible working is so sought after by employees, let’s clear up some typical flexible work patterns you may have come across:

  • Flexitime
  • Part time
  • Working from home (WFH)
  • Staggered hours
  • Annualised hours
  • Compressed workweek

Learn more about the different types of flexible working and what they mean here.

Why is Flexible Working so Sought After?

Times of the traditional 9-5 are changing. Employees look for organisations that take active steps to provide the benefits that flexible working brings – there’s plenty of them!

As new generations enter the workforce and old ways get refreshed, flexible working is something many employees look for. Here’s some benefits to help you understand why:

  • Promotes a healthy working style
  • Increased productivity due to trust
  • Reduced burnout and work-induced stress
  • Higher job satisfaction and well-being

But what about benefits for employers? Here’s some of those too:

So, What are the Stats?

The Mercer 2024 Global Talent Trends report has revealed that at the end of 2021, a staggering 62% of employees said they would only join or stay with an organisation if they were able to work remotely at least some of the time. Now in 2024, that number has dropped to 41%.

It is evident that people want some degree of social contact, with 46% preferring to work in the office most or all of the time, even if their job could be done from home, and 27% saying their ideal arrangement would be 50/50 hybrid.

Only 10% wish to be fully remote — and this is consistent across geographies, generations, and genders. 

A main driver for organisations embracing flexible working is increased productivity, this is evident as 64% of workers who say they are more productive when they work remotely.

Interestingly though, only 22% of organisations are expanding their flexible working options to better attract top talent, reflecting a shift in employee preferences for “together time.”

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What Does This Mean for You as a Learning and Development Professional?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working has become the new normal. This had led to more than 500 C-level executives (surveyed by LinkedIn) in the UK and U.S. to make active steps to change their workplace policies to offer greater flexibility.

This is all well and good, but the trick is to ensure you have established an effective hybrid workforce. This can require careful planning to ensure employees feel connected to their colleagues, are productive at home and are treated as equals no matter where they work from or how flexible they are.

Now employees have shown they can be trusted to get the job done remotely or in hours of their choosing, give employees greater control over how and when they work with their own schedule.

Having a feedback culture is one of the best ways to hear what your employees have to say. Here’s how you can build a successful one.

Three Ways to Make Sure Your Organisation Continues to Thrive with Flexible Working

  1. Work with employees to set boundaries

Before, taking breaks was seen as bad or an insight into how little you’ve worked or achieved. But now, employees are beginning to understand the power of taking breaks, making clear boundaries and a balance of life and work.

Want to learn how to manage stress at work? Here’s a guide for employers.

  1. Place a greater focus on results, not hours worked

It’s time to remove the potentially unhealthy workplace culture of ‘whoever works the longest must have the best work or results.’ The hours spent at your desk shouldn’t be a sign to how hard you have worked. If your employees can achieve great things and meet deadlines in hours that suit them then your organisation will see a big positive impact on the culture.

  1. Create a level playing field for all employees

As there’s many roles in the public sector, it’s important to think about your organisation, each department, team and employee carefully when it comes to offering flexible working. Allow them to have their say on what’s offered to them. Take frontline workers for example. As they don’t have the opportunity for remote working, offer them flex-time arrangements – e.g. four day working week or staggered shifts.

The All-in-One L&D Handbook You Need to Thrive at Flexible Working and More

Whether introducing a flexible working policy is your main concern, or you want to learn how to make sure your employees feel heard in a positive culture, this handbook has got all the tips and techniques you need to help your organisation succeed at L&D.

Click ‘Get Access Here’ to start downloading your free copy.

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