Employees want flexibility during the holidays — but are afraid to ask
- Employees want flexible work schedules and remote-work options during the holiday season, according to a West Monroe Partner survey of 2,000 full-time employees. However, survey results show that slightly more than half of the respondents (51%) were uneasy about asking managers for time off during the busy time of the year. West Monroe Partner, a management and technology consulting firm, conducted the survey to find out how the holiday season impacts productivity.
- Over half the respondents in the survey said their companies offered remote work options, and of those whose companies do, 91% said they're as productive working remotely as they are in the workplace. Remote work came in second to a bigger holiday bonus when asked what employees need to be productive during that time.
- West Monroe Partner offers recommendations for employers to position themselves in the new year: 1) close the office on days other than federal holidays, if possible; 2) achieve a balance between business goals and employees' preferences; 3) consider flexible schedules so employees don't feel as though they have to work overtime to complete their work; and 4) train managers to acquire holiday leadership skills.
Employees experience high levels of stress throughout the year, but their anxiety can rise even higher during the holidays. A 2017 Accountemps survey found that the biggest sources of stress for workers were balancing work duties with holiday events (32%), taking time off and coming back to a heavy workload (23%), and having fewer coworkers to take on some of the duties (18%).
While more money tops employees' list of preferences, flexible work schedules and remote-work options are high on the list and can give them some of the balance they need during the holidays. Employers that can offer either or both benefits, especially during the busiest time of the year, can do a lot to help employees stay engaged and productive.
The holidays can be especially hard on retail workers. Employers often scramble during the season with staffing issues to meet customer demands and sales expectations. For that reason, more retailers are in fact upping their benefits even for part-time employees, as H&M announced this week, or even opting to offer a form of predictive, stable scheduling, as Walmart announced this month.