why some employers won’t give in to flexibility
Global – Over the past few years, the world around us has changed dramatically and along with the world, the work ethic. People have increasingly learned to value personal time and have learned to keep a balance between work and life. In many cases, knowledge workers are now better able to balance their work demands with their personal lives—they love it and don’t want to give up when employers call workers back to the offices.
Workers also increasingly expect this autonomy to be maintained. According to a July 2022 survey of 13,382 employees worldwide by consulting firm McKinsey & Company, 40% said workplace flexibility was the top motivator for whether they would stay in their position while barely falling behind pay (41%). Lack of flexibility was also a major factor in resigning, with 26% saying it was the main reason for leaving a previous job. Similarly, in a March 2022 Gallup study of more than 140,000 U.S. employees, 54% of fully remote workers and 38% of hybrid workers, said they would look for another job if their company stopped offering remote work options.
However, amid these changing expectations, many companies are still hesitant or unable to meet these requests. In some cases, managers have demanded that their employees return to the workplace full-time to return to pre-pandemic working methods. Instead of giving workers autonomy, some business leaders have increased pay. In many cases, there are reasons why such flexibility is not considered, but the question is whether the situation will change.
Over the past two and a half years, millions of knowledge workers have been able to work remotely productively due to various pandemic-related restrictions. In the midst of Covid-19, many people have found that work can be very different than in a full-time office. They also found that in many cases performance would not be affected.
However, as Covid-19-related restrictions eased, many bosses began demanding that their employees return to work. Some returned to the office on a mixed schedule, others were full-time. This was especially true in industries such as finance, where executives often set deadlines for returning workers to a pre-pandemic structure. A March 2022 Microsoft study found that half of the global business leaders surveyed plan to require full-time in-person work in the future if they haven’t already installed.
Changes on the horizon?
Of course, not every company has taken its own line on the issue of flexibility. There have been differences between industries, and there has even been some movement towards autonomy in tougher sectors.
However, in general, the gap will remain. Industries and employers that are flexible and free from years of practice are more likely to give employees autonomy. Changing the architecture of the workplace can be a difficult task that some of these large companies are hesitant or simply unwilling to undertake.