Employees seek flexibility in work situations

Nearly three-quarters of employees and HR directors said that technology will help “break down hierarchies and lead to more open communication“ in the future. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Almost nine out of 10 employees say that when looking for a new position, they’ll prioritize complete flexibility in when and where they work, according to a survey by Citrix. These “digital nomads,” as the report calls them, are so committed to flexibility that 76% say they’d take a pay cut if they had to.

Related: Employee benefit trends in 2021: Flexible benefits for a flexible workforce

Citrix surveyed 2,000 knowledge workers and 500 HR directors for the report. Companies included large corporations and mid-market businesses in the United States.

“As the economy gears up again and the job market begins to make a recovery, we’re likely to see a surge in people seeking new roles,” Tim Minahan, executive vice president of strategy at Citrix, said in a statement. “But the pandemic has forever changed the way employees view and approach work, and if businesses want to attract and retain the talent they need to move forward tomorrow, they must understand their mindset and desires and develop plans to accommodate them today.”

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The report found workers have higher hopes for flexible work arrangements than HR directors. For example:

  • 83% of employees say workers will move out of cities to work remotely most of their time. Only 69% of HR directors agree.
  • 78% of employees believe organizations will become more decentralized and new work hubs will develop in suburban or rural areas in the next 12 months. Only 67% of HR directors agree.
  • 83% of employees believe companies will increasingly adopt flexible work models to attract candidates. Only 66% of HR directors agree.

“As the global battle for talent heats up, companies will need to embrace more flexible models for work that allow them to meet employees where they are in order to position themselves to win,” Minahan said. “Companies that leverage technology to enable remote work can not only attract hard-to-find talent, but increase employee engagement and boost their productivity. And this research proves it.”

Nearly three-quarters of employees and HR directors said that technology will help “break down hierarchies and lead to more open communication“ in the future.

Minahan believes that organizations that embrace digital tools that “remove the friction from work” are the most likely to succeed. “When employees feel empowered by the solutions they use rather than hamstrung by them, they can focus, innovate and deliver value,” he said.

Related: Getting ahead of the 2021 shift to skills-based pay & benefits

Workers expressed a desire to measure performance based on value over traditional metrics, but again, HR directors disagreed. Almost 70% of employees said they are more productive without managers looking over their shoulders, but only 51% of directors agreed. Competition for jobs will be fierce for the 86% of workers would like a job where leaders prioritize outcomes over output, as only 69% of directors say they measure performance this way.

“Work is no longer about getting the most out of people, but the best,” Minahan said. “Forward-thinking companies recognize this and will focus on designing people-centric experiences that unlock the full potential of their employees and empower them to deliver transformative results.”

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