Is Flexible Work Here To Stay?

Avatar by Amy Peyser Published Jan 5, 2021 Last updated Jan 5, 2021

Today, professionals want more flexibility when it comes to how, where and when they get their work done, and companies are responding by offering increasingly flexible options. But is this just a passing trend, or can we expect to see greater flexibility and more remote opportunities in the future?  Let’s take a look at why flexibility is important in today’s workplace and what the trends look like for the future.

Work Flexibility Is Important

To retain the best professionals, companies must work hard to keep them happy by providing the benefits they want most. Traditionally, this included great health insurance, a retirement plan, and plenty of personal time, but more and more, professionals are seeking out opportunities that offer flexible schedules and remote opportunities as a benefit. When surveyed, professionals note that flexibility is now one of the top benefits they desire, ranking it as critically important when they’re making a decision about their work opportunities.

One of the biggest reasons why flexibility is so important is that it makes for a better work-life structure. Work can be one of the biggest sources of stress in our lives, and part of that stress undoubtedly comes from inflexible hours. Flexible and remote work options help to alleviate much of this stress, which makes for happier professionals who are more likely to stay engaged longer.

Greater Productivity

Studies show that being locked into a traditional 9-5 work schedule isn’t the best for productivity. Professionals come in, put in their time, and leave, often spending hours “looking busy” without actually doing work. In reality, most professionals only have between two and three productive hours out of a normal eight-hour shift. So, if someone can complete all their necessary work in just a few hours a day, why is it necessary to keep them at their desk for eight?

The truth is, some professionals may be most productive at 6 a.m., while others may find that they work best in the middle of the night. Some weeks, professionals may need to work 50 hours to complete all their tasks, while other weeks, they may only need to work 15. In many cases, the only reason companies still stick to a traditional work schedule is so that managers and supervisors have a handle on what is being accomplished, but in actuality, this strict schedule does nothing to improve productivity.

Flexible schedules are particularly beneficial to creative professionals. Creativity and inspiration aren’t always available on-demand. When professionals have remote options, they feel trusted and empowered. This ultimately means a better relationship between the company and the professional.

Companies that offer flexible work opportunities understand that a professional’s work doesn’t always fit into the 9-5, 40 hour-a-week mold. They realize that the best professionals aren’t the ones putting in the most hours, they are the ones who get the most done and make the biggest impact. Flexible work options focus more on productivity. As long as the work is being accomplished within the required deadlines, when, where, and how long they work shouldn’t be a factor.

Companies And Professionals Benefit

It’s easy to see how professionals benefit from remote and flexible work options. With the option to work from the comfort of their desired workspace at a time that fits into their lives, they can better structure their work and personal lives. This leads to less stress and greater productivity, which means higher retention and better deliverables.

Another benefit that companies see is lower operational costs. They no longer have to build a central office space and maintain a building, which makes it easier to get emerging ventures off the ground quickly. Companies can still provide hardware like desks, chairs, computers and phones, and stipends for renting out coworking spaces, but in general, will spend less on overhead, which is a definite positive.

Some professionals still prefer the collaborative feel of an office, so coworking spaces are a great option for them. They have all the benefits of a traditional office (i.e. a dedicated space for working, few distractions, opportunities for social interaction and networking, etc.), but they can be used at the professional’s discretion instead of being a requirement.

The Future Of Flexible Work

With so many advantages, flexible and remote work options will continue to dominate the business landscape. Gig employment options like driving with Uber, delivering food with DoorDash, and walking dogs with Wag have helped to grow the options for those who don’t want a traditional 9-5 job. The gig economy has grown by 15% in the last decade and has even more rapid growth predicted in the future. This growth is driving the need for companies to offer more remote options if they want to get their work accomplished.

Many large companies, in a wide variety of industries, have begun to offer more totally remote options. As larger companies begin to normalize remote work and flexible options, smaller companies will begin to follow suit. The future is flexible!