NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jan 26, 2017) - Employees cite flexible work hours and remote capabilities as critical factors in the workplace, even more important than unlimited paid time off, according to new research findings. Justworks, the simple all-in-one benefits, HR and payments platform for small businesses, partnered with SquareFoot, a marketplace for commercial real estate leasing, to interview 314 US small business employees and 47 small business owners in order to shed light on the seismic shifts occurring in the workplace, specifically related to paid time off and flexibility preferences.
The ability for employees to shape their own work schedule and workplace factors heavily in creating a positive work environment, and these benefits are becoming growing considerations during the job search process. Seventy percent of employees surveyed ranked flexible work hours as very important and 68 percent believe flexible hours have a positive impact on their teams. Similarly, 57 percent feel remote capabilities are very important, while 60 percent believe they have a positive impact on their teams.
In fact, when ranking work benefits and perks against salary, almost half of the employees surveyed (42 percent) would take a lower-paying job if it offered a greater degree of workplace flexibility.
Enabled by technology and collaboration tools, many employers are working to meet employees' demands for more flexibility by giving them the opportunity to work flexible hours or outside of the office. These offerings are becoming a must-have perk for businesses competing for talent, as 76 percent of employers surveyed believe they have a big impact on their ability to hire. In fact, 63 percent of employees surveyed work at companies that offer flexible work hours and 59 percent at companies with remote work capabilities.
"To compete for talent in today's market, employers need to support the growing workforce demand for flexibility," said Leilani Lucero, recruiting manager at Justworks. "Workers clearly want to be able to balance success at work with healthy and fulfilling lives at home, and a flexible work environment goes a long way toward making that a reality."
"I think we're seeing a workforce with a growing interest in self-care, and flexible work hours are part of that equation," says Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO and co-founder of SquareFoot. "Commuting, working in a noisy office...these can be major stressors for people. More flexible hours means less time rushing around and more time to take care of things just as important as your work. It means less stress. And we've seen with past research that reducing stress leads to better job performance across the board. So businesses are certainly incentivized to offer this flexibility to their employees, and we're starting to see that."
When it comes to paid parental leave, there seems to be a lack of a clear standard or expectation of policies among workers. Only 35.5 percent of employees surveyed, a majority of whom are not parents, work at companies that offer paid parental leave, although nearly half (49 percent) believe it's very important. While some states are starting to mandate paid parental leave, the onus is often on U.S. business owners to determine what policies to offer, if any. As workers increasingly prioritize flexibility and work-life balance, businesses may need to consider changing their policies in order to compete for talent.
Lower on the priority list is unlimited PTO -- while 44 percent of respondents believe it is important, only 21 percent believe it has a positive impact on their team's performance. With or without unlimited PTO, employees are often inclined to take time off in short bursts, rather than extended breaks. Justworks' customer data, which largely represents small businesses, shows that workers typically take long weekends -- an average PTO request of one to two days at a time -- far more often than larger trips.
Overall, the research indicates that today's workers value a flexible, balanced work environment. Businesses are seeing a shift to a workforce that believes productivity should be measured not by number of hours worked at a desk, but by the output of the work performed. As this trend continues, flexibility will likely define the new normal for the modern workforce.
For more detailed insights from Justworks and SquareFoot's analysis, view the full findings here.
This analysis was the result of in-depth interviews with over 314 US small business employees and 47 small business owners that Justworks and SquareFoot conducted in December 2016.
Justworks helps entrepreneurs bolster their growing businesses with transparency, integrity and simplicity in mind. Justworks believes in leveling the playing field, and offering large company benefits for small businesses -- so they can provide the care their team deserves and compete for top talent. The ultimate goal is to free entrepreneurs to focus on what matters: building their business and creating a great place to work. To learn more about Justworks' fast and simple-to-use HR and payments platform visit https://justworks.com/ and follow on Twitter @JustworksHR.
SquareFoot helps businesses scale with the right workspace to match their ambition. With comprehensive listings, convenient tools and a dedicated team of brokers to guide the leasing process, SquareFoot is ushering in a new era transparency in commercial real estate. Every business deserves a place to call home. With SquareFoot, it's never been simpler to find yours. Learn more at https://squarefoot.com.