Flexibility Is The Key To Future Work

Businesses that provide employees with digital tools to be highly productive are the ones that will ultimately thrive.

Work from home. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

By Helen Kruger

Flexibility, agility, diversity and a superior experience will drive the future of work. This is according to a recent survey by Citrix that reveals that employees will seek opportunities with companies that share their vision and give them space and tools they need to succeed and advance their careers.

The pandemic has forever changed the way people view jobs. If businesses want to attract and retain top talent, they need to understand their mindset and requirements and develop models to accommodate them. As everything returns to normal and the job market begins to recover, there will be a surge in people seeking new jobs.

To help them do this, Citrix undertook the Talent Accelerator, a survey of 2 000 knowledge workers and 500 HR directors in large and medium-sized businesses.

Digital Nomads

Now, more than ever, employees want flexibility in where, when and how they work. In fact, 88% of those workers surveyed as part of the Talent Accelerator said that when searching for a new position, they would look for one that offers complete flexibility in their hours and location.

About 76% believe that employees will be more likely to prioritise lifestyle over proximity to work, even if it means taking a pay cut. According to the Talent Accelerator 83% of employees and 69% of HR directors think that workers will be more likely to move out of cities and other urban locations if they can work remotely for a majority of the time.

It also revealed that 78% of workers and 67% of HR directors predict that the geographical decentralisation of organisations will result in the creation of new work hubs in suburban/rural areas in the next 12 months.

In addition, the majority of employees surveyed are of the opinion that flexible work models will ultimately become the norm in the year ahead.

About 83% predict that, in response to global skilled talent shortage, companies will leverage flexible work models to reach out to suitable candidates no matter where they live. Yet only 66% of HR directors feel the same.

As the battle for talent heats up globally, business leaders will have to embrace a more flexible model for work, one that allows them to employ staff regardless of location. Businesses that deploy technology to enable remote work will not only attract scarce talent, but it will also increase employee engagement and boost productivity.

Virtual Reality

While the pandemic and the remote work mandates associated with it have physically separated workers, technology is proving its worth and keeping them connected, engaged and productive.

The survey found that 89% of employees believe that technology makes workers within their organisation more productive. It states that 86% of employees and 69% of HR directors report that business leaders in their organisation are using technology to collaborate effectively and innovate.

On average, around two-thirds of employees and HR directors say they feel more connected to their direct manager, CEO, senior management team, and peers when working remotely than when working in the office.

It says 73% of employees and 72% of HR directors think the increased use of technology in the future will break down hierarchies and lead to more open communication with business leaders and senior management teams that may advance their careers.

Businesses that provide employees with digital tools to be highly productive are the ones that will ultimately thrive. This is because when people feel empowered by the solutions they use, they can focus, innovate and deliver value.

Outcomes over Output

In the future, companies will need to rethink how they measure productivity because traditional metrics – and views that real work can’t get done outside the office – will no longer cut it. According to the Talent Accelerator, modern employees want to be measured on the value they deliver, not the volume.

They expect to be given the space and trust they need to do their very best work, wherever they happen to be. Nearly 86% of employees said they would prefer to work for a company that prioritises outcome over output, but just 69% of HR directors say that their company currently operates in this way.

It states that 69% of workers say they are more productive – by an average of 72% – when they feel their employer trusts them to get the job done without monitoring their progress; while 51% of HR directors think that their organisation would be more productive as a whole if their employer/senior management took this stance.

Forward-thinking companies recognise that work is no longer about getting the most out of people, but the best. They focus on designing people-centric experiences that unlock the full potential of their employees and empower them to deliver transformative results.

Career Agility

New roles are fast emerging to support new business models sparked by changes in customer preferences and needs, and upskilling and reskilling will be a critical factor in keeping pace.

The survey found that 82% of employees and 62% of HR directors believe that workers will need to hone their current skills or acquire new ones at least once a year in order to maintain a competitive advantage in a global job market.

HR directors believe that ensuring an organisation has the latest collaborative technology in place to enable agile learning is the most important factor in recruiting and retaining the best talent, and 88% of employees confirm this notion, saying that they look for this when searching for a new position.

Diversity Matters

Diversity isn’t just a boardroom agenda item. As the Talent Accelerator reveals, employees and HR directors alike believe it will be a defining feature of the future workforce.

About 86% of employees and two-thirds of HR directors believe that a diverse workforce will become even more important as roles, skills and company requirements change over time.

Finally, 78% of employees and 69% of HR directors believe that neurodiversity is increasingly recognised in their organisation and will drive competitive advantage in the future.

  • Helen Kruger is the CEO of Troye


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