60% of U.S. workers feel more productive when they have workplace flexibility

Flexible working options make employees feel more engaged and productive, according to a survey by the Flex Strategy Group.

The survey of 595 full-time American employees found 60 per cent of respondents feel more engaged and productive when they have flexibility around where, when and how they work. On the other hand, four per cent said they feel less engaged and productive and 34 per cent said they feel no change.

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More than a third (34 per cent ) of respondents work most of the time from remote locations, including their home or a business centre. Conversely, 27 per cent said they do most of their work in a private office at an employer site, with 36 per cent working predominantly in a cube or an open-office environment.

The survey also found 57 per cent of respondents received no training or guidance on how to manage flexible working options.

“You can’t simply give employees a laptop and say, ‘Just get your job done’ without meaningful training on how to strategically use flexibility, technology and workspace options to work smarter,” said Cali Williams Yost, chief executive officer of Flex Strategy Group, in a news release.

“Organizations that blame flexibility for their performance challenges risk missing out on the very business gains they’re trying to achieve. The flexibility is not the problem. It’s that organizations don’t know how to use the flexibility and remote work strategically to transform their business.”

Read: Telecommuting most popular form of flexible working provision: survey

Technology has also played a part in making collaboration and communication with co-workers and flexible working easier, according to the survey. Three-quarters (76 per cent) of respondents said technology advancements in the workplace have allowed them to communicate with colleagues more easily. Fifty-eight per cent said technology has made flexible working easier.

In addition, 65 per cent of respondents said they use email, spreadsheets and word documents the most to keep supervisors and co-workers in the loop about progress and performance. Seventeen per cent said they use video and web conferencing frequently, while eight per cent cited cloud-based software for project management.

“Not everyone needs to be shoulder to shoulder five days a week for successful team work,” said Yost. “With a purpose-driven flexible work strategy and infrastructure, organizations can match work to how, when and where it’s most effective, and retain employees who value control over how to manage their work and lives.” 

Read: Workers would take pay cut, reduced vacation to work flexibly: survey