FlexJobs has completed its 8th annual “Super Survey” on flexible work, with more than 7,300 respondents weighing in on how flexibility at work (or a lack thereof) affects their job choices, why they value options like remote work and flexible hours, and much more!
According to FlexJobs’ 8th annual survey, 30% of respondents have reported leaving a job because it did not offer flexible work options.
Sixteen percent are currently looking for a new job because of flexibility issues.
With this insight, it’s not surprising that 80% also said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. More than half (52%) of respondents have tried to negotiate flexible work arrangements with their employer.
Whether you’re a professional interested in working flexibly, an employer considering or already supporting flexible work options, or anyone interested in the current state of remote and flexible work, there’s a lot to learn from our full Super Survey 2019 results!
Full Results from FlexJobs’ 8th Annual Super Survey on Flexible Work
Why People Seek Flexible Work Options
Since 2013 when we first conducted this survey, we’ve been asking people to tell us the factors that make them want a job with flexibility. The four options below have always been the top four reported reasons people seek flexible work.
- Work-life balance (75%)
- Family (45%)
- Time savings (42%)
- Commute stress (41%)
There may be a connection between time savings and commute stress because 72% of survey respondents said their longest daily commute was one hour or more.
Other high-ranking factors for seeking flexible work options included:
- Avoiding office politics and distractions (33%)
- Travel (29%)
- Cost savings (25%)
The following three options also stood out:
- Being a pet owner (24%)
- Having caregiving responsibilities (18%)
- Living in a bad local job market (15%)
Most Important Factors When Evaluating a Job Prospect
Survey respondents also told us the “most important factors” they consider when evaluating a job prospect. It’s no surprise that flexible work options and related considerations like work-life balance are included. What might be surprising is that they rank well above things like health insurance, retirement benefits, vacation time, and paid parental leave.
- Work-life balance (73%)
- Salary (73%)
- Flexible work options (69%)
- Work schedule (67%)
- Meaningful work (55%)
- Location (51%)
- Company reputation (41%)
- Health insurance (39%)
- Company culture (39%)
- Professional challenge (34%)
- Career progression (34%)
- 401(k)/retirement benefits (32%)
- Vacation time (32%)
- Skills training and education options (29%)
- Amount of travel required (28%)
- Special company perks, such as tuition reimbursement, unlimited vacation time, paying for travel or sabbaticals, gym memberships, free lunches or snacks, on-site childcare or healthcare, etc. (26%)
- Paid maternity/paternity leave (7%)
Who Wants Work Flexibility
We often assume that flexible work appeals to a wide variety of professionals for different reasons and the survey results clearly demonstrate that. Survey respondents told us they closely identify with the following groups:
- Pet owner (28%)
- Freelancer (25%)
- Entrepreneur (20%)
- Introvert (20%)
- Live in a rural area (14%)
- Stay-at-home mom (14%)
- Traveler or digital nomad (12%)
- Semi-retired or retiree (12%)
- Chronic physical issue or illness (11%)
- Caregiver (10%)
- Student (9%)
- Artist (9%)
- Athlete or fitness enthusiast (9%)
- Long or “super” commuter (7%)
- Other or more details (7%)
- Environmentalist (6%)
- Mental illness (4%)
- Stay-at-home dad (2%)
- Military spouse (2%)
Most Desired Flexible Work Options
As we’ve seen in all previous surveys, remote work remains the flexible work option of choice among professionals. People ranked their interest in flexible work options this way:
- Remote work 100% of the time (76%)
- Flexible schedule (72%)
- Part-time schedule (46%)
- Alternative schedule (45%)
- Remote work some of the time (43%)
- Freelance contract (39%)The vast majority of survey respondents have worked remotely before and know other remote workers:
- 71% have worked remotely in a job before
- 82% of respondents know someone who works remotely (37% know three or more remote workers!)And people are increasing the amount of time they spend working remotely. Of the people who said they worked remotely in 2018, 19% have spent more time working remotely this year than last year, compared to 14% who are working from home the same amount year-over-year and 16% who are working less from home this year than last.
How Remote Work Affects Productivity
Asked whether they would be more productive working remotely or in a traditional office space, respondents said:
- More productive in a home office (65%)
- Probably about the same productivity (32%)
- Less productive in a home office (3%)
That’s understandable when you consider their answers to the question, “Where do you go when you really need to get something done for work?”
- My home or my home office (49%)
- The office during regular office hours, because it’s not an option to leave (25%)
- The office during regular office hours, because it’s where I’m most productive (8%)
- The office before/after regular office hours (8%)
- A library, coffee shop, or coworking space (7%)
That’s right, only 8% of respondents said the office during work hours is where they’re most productive.
How a Lack of Flexible Work Options Affects Job Choices and Health
Potentially a sign of job seekers having more control and more opportunity in this tight job market, 30% of workers have reported leaving a job because it did not offer flexible work options and 14% considered leaving a job but decided to stay despite the lack of work flexibility. Sixteen percent are currently looking for a new job specifically because of work flexibility issues.
Quality of life: 44% said a job with flexibility would have a “huge improvement” on their overall quality of life, and 53% said it would have a “positive impact.”
Health: 78% of people said having a flexible job would allow them to be healthier (eat better, exercise more, etc.), and 86% said they’d be less stressed.
Why People Work
We wanted to learn about why people work—their needs and motivations. A full 64% of respondents said they both need and want to work; 25% said they work only because they need to, and 11% said they work only because they want to.
People told us these are the reasons they work:
- Pay for basic necessities (rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, etc.) (75%)
- Save for retirement (60%)
- Want to travel (54%)
- Enjoy working (53%)
- Pay off debt (51%)
- Pay for “luxury” items for yourself or your loved ones (not basic necessities) (41%)
- Want to have a professional impact in the world (38%)
- Passionate about success in my career (38%)
- Pay for health-related issues for myself or a loved one (37%)
- Save for my kids’ education (25%)
- To contribute to charity (25%)
- Pay for continuing education for myself (23%)
- Pay for my kids’ education (private school or college) (23%)
- Pay for other child-related costs (childcare, extracurriculars, etc.) (23%)
- To support launching my own business (23%)
- To pay off student loans (22%)
- Support my parents (18%)
Ramifications for Employers
Yet again the results of this survey show that flexible work options are not simply a perk for workers. Employers see big benefits when they incorporate work flexibility into the company’s strategy and operations.
Employee retention: 80% of respondents said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options (up from 75% in 2018).
Reducing expenses: 28% of respondents said they would take a 10% or 20% cut in pay; 21% are willing to forfeit vacation time; 16% said they would give up employer-matching retirement contributions.
Productivity: 65% of respondents think they would be more productive working from home than working in a traditional office environment due to fewer distractions (74%), fewer interruptions from colleagues (72%), reduced stress from commuting (70%), and minimal office politics (64%).
Education and experience: Work flexibility appeals to highly educated and experienced workers. 78% of respondents have at least a college degree: 69% having at least a bachelor’s degree and 28% having a graduate degree. And in their professions, 33% are manager level or higher.
Hiring strategy: 97% of respondents are interested in being a flexible worker in the long-term. Offering flexible work options can help attract well-educated professionals with solid experience who come from a variety of backgrounds.
Demographic Breakdown of the 7,300+ Respondents
- Age: 19 or younger (1%), 20-29 (11%), 30-39 (22%), 40-49 (25%), 50-59 (24%), 60+ (16%)
- Education: high school degree or equivalent (6%), some college but no degree (16%), associate or bachelor’s degree (50%), graduate degree (28%)
- Career level: entry-level (13%), experienced (54%), manager or senior-level manager (33%)
- Parental status: 58% had children age 18 or under living at home, 42% did not
If you’re looking for more information on workforce trends, be sure to visit our blog. We frequently cover the news, provide tips and tricks, and much more.