Report: 80% of workers would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible work

More than half (52%) of those surveyed said that they now work outside their company’s main location for at least half the working week or more.

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Flexible work – the right to manage your own hours and choose where you work from, at least some of the time – has become the “new normal,” according to a new survey. Flexible workspace provider IWG released its 11th annual Global Workspace Survey, which gathered the opinion of over 15,000 people in business across 80 nations online. Just now normal has it become? A full 74% of the respondents thought it was the new norm.

That was in the U.S. – countries that think flexible work is even more normal include China, Canada, and India (all 77%), Belgium (78%), South Africa and Mexico (both 79%), and Japan (80%).


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With that comes a cascade of new ideas about work, how we do it, and how we choose what kind of companies to work for.

  • For example, 80% of U.S. workers would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible work.
  • And 53% of U.S. workers said that being able to choose where they work is more important than working for a prestigious company.
  • Almost a third (30%) of people value being able to choose their work location over an increase in vacation time.

More than half (52%) of those surveyed said that they now work outside their company’s main location for at least half the working week or more, and for 71% of people, a choice of work environment is key when evaluating new career opportunities.

Businesses are embracing it

Businesses, too, now see flexible work as a way to attract and retain talent.

Findings show that 78% of businesses believe that offering flexible work situations lets them grow their talent pool. (This technique is also popular in the UK, Australia, India, and Poland). In fact, 81% of businesses are changing their ways to improve retention by introducing flexible work.

In the last ten years, 83% of U.S. businesses have introduced a flexible workspace policy, or are planning to create one.

Productivity and wellness

When workers are encumbered as to where and when they work, they can really get things done – 85% of businesses confirm that productivity has increased in their business because of greater flexibility.

And 63% of those surveyed report at least a 21% improvement in productivity because of flexible work.

Another bonus: flexible work is seen to improve work-life balance by 82%.

In conclusion

Sure, you may have to ask your boss  permission to have a work-from-home day now – or maybe you even work in an office that frowns on it – but the flex-work revolution is coming for you, sooner or later. Some countries, like Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, and Australia, have embraced flexible work even harder. So say good-bye to your commute (at least some of the week) and say hello to a life of productivity, concentration – and maybe even quiet.


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Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.