Researchers: Workers without flexible options are less happy, more likely to leave
- Employees without work-life balance have lower job satisfaction and are more likely to cause turnover, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and California State University Channel Islands. A lack of work-life balance negatively affects childless workers and men — not just women and parents, results show.
- Researchers tested bias against work flexibility by polling 2,700 employees, half of them men, on engagement, job satisfaction, job-to-home spillover and its inverse, and turnover intentions. Nearly 40% of respondents felt they wouldn't get ahead on their jobs if they asked for time off, according to Science Daily. Researchers found that flexibility bias leaves workers with little control over their schedules and feeling unsupported and discriminated against by their employers.
- Based on research results, merely having flexibility policies isn't enough, Science Daily said. Researchers suggested that employers promote a culture in which workers feel they can use flexible work policies without fear of jeopardizing their careers.
Increasingly, employees and job applicants want flexible scheduling, a benefit that might soon become less of a cool perk and more of a "default" feature of employment. Nearly one-third of job searches on Indeed have specifically targeted flexible work, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use survey reported that the percentage of U.S. employees working from home increased from 19% to 22% between 2003-2016.
Flexible work is growing even faster outside the full-time employment arena as a result of expansion in the gig economy. That may be a big reason why the vast majority of employees (94%) are now open to independent contract work, freelancing, consulting and other contingency jobs, according to ManpowerGroup.
These trends should be measured against counter-currents from high-profile corporations like IBM, Aetna, Best Buy and The Wall Street Journal, which have scaled back their remote-work policies for various reasons; IBM believed innovation would be best serviced by certain employee groups being located under the same roof. Other firms are worried that they don't have policies in place to support flexible work.
But it will be difficult for employers to go against the current on this issue, given the share of employees who would reportedly leave their jobs for workplaces with better flexible work benefits — as many as 42% of workers, according to one survey.
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics AMERICAN TIME USE SURVEY
- HR Dive Should flexible work be the default option for most jobs?
- Science Daily Workplace flexibility bias not just a mother's problem