Flexible working is fast becoming the new norm, but some businesses have yet to embrace it
Professionals don’t want to commute anymore, and this hardly comes as a surprise. Commuting has been a sore topic for decades, but most have simply accepted it as the only way to land the best jobs with the best companies.
However, this no longer holds true. Workers are now voting with their feet: more than eight in ten people won’t take a job that doesn’t offer flexible working according to IWG’s Global Workplace Survey.
The Survey represents the views of 15,000 businesses and professionals from 80 different countries, and aims to understand current attitudes to commuting. It examines the impact of commuting on people’s lives and how individuals - and in some cases their employers - are dealing with it.
The results revealed an unhappy bunch of people, with almost half of the survey’s respondents (40%) saying that commuting is the worst part of their day. One in five (22%) say they are ‘regularly late’ for work due to travel disruptions. This experience is also impacting on their broader life decisions. For example, a quarter (25%) of those surveyed said they would prefer to live in another area, but don’t move because it would increase their commute time.
Fortunately, commute-free and commute-light flexible working options are becoming far more commonplace with three-quarters (75%) of people saying that businesses in their sector are offering flexible working options to reduce commute times. In fact, 40% of people questioned believe that by 2030, commuting will be a thing of the past.
For companies that can’t can the commute completely, it’s important to listen to their employees and look for ways to ease the burden that commuting puts on them.
Almost half (48%) of workers spend their commute working, and as a result, nearly half (42%) think that official working hours should include time spent on their journey, as this does not constitute free time in their day. They are asking that commuting hours be incorporated into their work contracts.
Not only is commuting a drain on time and energy, but it’s an expensive business. While some companies offer season ticket loans as part of their benefits package, over half of respondents (51%) want businesses to subsidise the cost of commuting.
A flexible workplace policy can be difficult to implement if there are strong cultural barriers against it. However, if employers want to attract and retain the best talent, there is a need to look for ways around this. IWG’s research showed that 83% of workers would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working, and over half believe a choice of work location is more important to them than working for a prestigious company.
Given that people are a company’s greatest asset, failing to address employees’ needs and wants won’t only impact recruitment and retention, but will, in turn, hit the bottom line.