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What ‘flexibility’ means in the new world of work

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Two years into the pandemic, employees are burnt out, and the majority (58%) say their job is the main source of their mental health challenges. The pandemic has brought increased flexibility to many people’s jobs. Remote and hybrid work have made it possible for people to avoid a commute and start work earlier or later in the day as well as balance some household and childcare tasks from home.

The lines between life and work have become increasingly blurred, according to 69% of employees, and some say that’s had a positive impact on their mental health (24%), while others say it’s had a negative impact (23%). As an antidote to burnout, employees want more “flexibility” but not everyone agrees on what that means. New research from Qualtrics shows that employees prioritize the ability to choose the hours and days of the week they work, over the ability to work remotely from any location. 87% say they want to be in control of their schedules and have their performance measured purely by results rather than hours work.

On the other hand, while there is a need for more flexibility at work, the majority (57%) agree there are downsides to having no separation between their job and personal time. Qualtrics asked more than 1,000 full time employees what ‘flexibility’ means to them in the new world of work.

Mental health challenges  

Flexible work is one of the top things employees say would improve their mental health at work,  beat out only by increased pay and working one day less a week.

  • 58% of employees say their job is the main source of their mental health challenges
    • 61% of desk-based workers agree with this statement, compared to 51% of non-desk based workers
  • The top 3 things that employees say would improve their mental health are:
    • 1) Higher pay (58%)
    • 2) Four-day work week (46%)
    • 3) Flexibility to work whenever, wherever they want (36%)

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