Embracing Flexibility: The Future of Work
Thought Leadership

Is Flexibility At Work Here To Stay? Employees Believe It Is!

The concept of ‘work’ has always been linked to the idea of people traveling to their place of employment each morning, carrying out their job and then returning home in the evening. Regardless of whether the person was a secretary, an executive, a manager or even the CEO of the company, every working individual over the past few centuries followed this routine.


It was only when innovative technology and the internet spread across the globe and globalization converted the world into a global economy did the concept of flexible working arrive. People could now work anytime, anywhere; all they needed was a computer or laptop and a stable internet connection. But even then, this form of working was only adopted by digital nomads and self-employed individuals.


In 2020, when the pandemic and global lockdown shook the world economy, it also brought a tectonic shift to how ‘work’ functioned. Nearly everyone, with the exception of our heroic essential workers, was stuck at home and organizations were forced to adapt or face dire consequences.


Work from home became the norm, with only a few individuals working from the office on rare occasions. But now, with signs of the pandemic dying down, businesses are beginning to contemplate the future of work. Can they reopen their office doors once again or will employees resist this change?


50% of leaders say their company already requires or is planning to return to in-person work full-time by 2023. But research and surveys conducted from numerous sources prove that this is the exact opposite of what employees want. A study conducted by McKinsey showcased that a mere 25% of employees prefer working fully on-site. Leaders are now under pressure to adjust their working models and change workplace policies to allow greater flexibility. “Two-plus years in, and people who think we are going to go back, any day now. I just can’t see that ever occurring,” says Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield.


With Gen Z and Millennials primed to dominate the workforce in the next few years, the mindset and approach toward work-life balance, job satisfaction and work culture have also changed. 52% of Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to change employers this year, and 53% of employees are more likely to prioritize health and wellbeing over work than before the pandemic. The recent Great Resignation was proof of just that.


When given a choice, nine out of ten employees would opt for a flexible work environment as more than half of them believe their productivity can be accurately measured irrespective of location. So, it just goes to show that the workforce is adamant about ensuring flexibility, and slowly more and more companies are working towards providing their employees the option to do so permanently.


Airbnb recently unveiled a brand new approach that will allow their employees to live and work anywhere. Their new system involves a single pay tier by the country for both salary and equity. This allows their employees to move anywhere within their country and not worry about changes in their compensation.


In early March 2022, Lyft announced that it had shifted to a fully flexible workplace. Team members who wish to go to the office can go as often as they would like, while others can opt to work from home. The company also plans to have team gatherings roughly once a quarter where they will support travel to and from the event.


Another company that embraced flexibility right in 2020 was Vista. They permanently adopted remote working and converted their offices into collaboration centers where employees could book desks to meet and work in person when needed.


Companies across the globe are starting to accept that the terms ‘flexibility’, ‘remote working’ and ‘hybrid workplace’ are here to stay. They are adapting their current operational model to adjust to these new changes. Is your organization willing to do the same? Or is it already embracing flexibility as the new normal?