France embraces new ways of working

France embraces new ways of working

60% of businesses in France are offering flexible working policies for employees, finds IWG’s Global Workspace Survey


France has one of the most flexible working cultures in the world, according to findings from IWG’s 2019 Global Workplace Survey. In fact, 60% of the French companies interviewed said that they had a flexible workplace policy in place.

A huge part of this is linked to the nation’s positive attitude toward remote working. Also known as ‘teleworking’ or ‘telecommuting’, it has been written into French law since 2005.

Since then, the number of salaried employees that work remotely has more than tripled in France, according to a study from insurance company Malakoff Médéric, which found that 29% of French employees worked remotely in 2018 (up from 25% the previous year).

So, where are these teleworkers getting their work done? The vast majority (92%) said they ‘occasionally or regularly’ worked from home, while 35% worked in another office, and 21% worked in a third place.

Having flexible working written into national law has spawned the culture of flexible working that exists in France today. There’s less of a nine to six mentality and less tolerance of a long commute. As a result, companies in France are seeking smarter solutions to managing their office real estate.

According to IWG’s Global Workplace Survey, 66% of French businesses said that agility will be a key driver in 2019 (the international average was 55%). The report highlighted cultural differences in attitudes towards new ways of working – where flexible styles are becoming ‘the new normal’. And, of all the countries included in the report, France emerged as one of the strongest advocates for flexible working.

“The trend is global, but the change in France is more advanced,” says Mark Dixon, CEO and Founder of IWG. “The government is more involved, especially in the development of co-working at a local level.”

 IWG’s Global Workplace Survey found that 84% of French businesses introduced flexible workspaces to reduce commute times for employees. Some 77% said they use flexible workspace policies to retain talent.

When asked about how flexible working has benefitted their business, 79% of French companies said that introducing a flexible workplace policy has boosted productivity by 20% or more. Only Brazil and Mexico responded more positively (88% and 83%, respectively). What’s more, 70% of French employees surveyed felt that employers who tailor the work environment to the working patterns and particular tasks of their staff are more productive.

Another plus point for flexible working, according to 76% of French respondents to the survey, was that it helped them to improve the diversity of their workforces. Offering a smarter way of working empowers more people to return to work, such as parents who have young families, those with health issues and older workers.

 France’s proactive approach to incorporating flexible working into company policy is encouraging and puts it in good stead for remaining competitive on the world stage. By choosing short-term leases, shorter commutes for employees, diversity in the workforce, talent retention and more productive office environments, the country is at the forefront of these new working styles – and employers and employees alike are already seeing the benefits.