The Price of Job Flexibility

Covid dramatically raised awareness of employees’ needs for scheduling flexibility. However, as the pandemic recedes employers are retaking control over the amount of flexibility workers have on setting their own schedules.

Businesses were never 100% comfortable with working from home adjustments and presumed that face to face interaction was fundamental to optimally getting most work done. Not to mention that the initial enticement to eliminate expensive office space was easier said than done.

But businesses should be cautioned that the current hybrid work arrangements are not ideal for employees. Research indicates that work does in fact get comparably done whether at home or in the office (despite open workspaces).

The true price of flexibility is the concomitant cut in salary: 51% of workers who transitioned to a 4-day workweek did so with a cut in pay.

While a 4-day workweek can be a magnet to attracting and retaining talent, it appears that only Gen Z’s and employees in leadership roles are likely to consider the conversion, though 68% of workers want that flexibility.

Given that a cut in pay accompanies 51% of flexible scheduling, a fifth of employees will be dissuaded from taking the option. A new approach is needed that will address (not give lip service) to individual needs while also making performance expectations crystal clear.

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