Once considered a workplace perk, the ability to work remotely has now become the future of work, according to a new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In “Work-life 3.0: Understanding How We’ll Work Next”, both employee and employer surveys were conducted to see what the world of work currently looks like, where it’s lacking, and most importantly, where it’s going. Although out of the 1,385 employees surveyed, 60 percent rated their job with an 8,9, or 10 in terms of happiness level, many were dissatisfied with their companies and the way work is handled. In fact, more than half wanted work-life balance, but only 34 percent felt they had it.
Case in point: three in ten workers planned to leave their jobs within six months, and more than one-third (38 percent) planned to do this in the next year.
So why are U.S. workers so unhappy at work? There are a few factors to consider, but millennials in particular aren’t pleased with their role within their company. Only one-third feel that their job aligns with that what they are asked to do.
But beyond that, the answer seems to point to one thing: the ability to work remotely. While 41 percent of boomers feel that they have extremely good work-life balance, only 30 percent of workers under 35 feel the same way. And while 86 percent of large company workers would like to work from home one or more days a week, only 26 percent actually do. When employees are allowed to work from home (38 percent state that they are able to do so at least one day a week), they’re far more likely (48 percent, in fact) to rank their job as a 10 on the happiness scale.
The Future of Work from Small Businesses
There’s something to be said for the way small businesses operate, and it’s something that larger corporations should learn from. A whopping 80 percent of small business employees say they feel appreciated at work. Why? Well, smaller companies are known for nurturing their workers, providing real-time feedback, giving recognition, and giving them opportunities to grow in the company. There also tends to be less policy and procedure, allowing workers to do what they were hired for and not get tangled in red tape.
Closing the Gender Gap
Remote work can also help close the gender gap. Since 64 percent of women rank work-life balance as very important, affording them flexible work opportunities means that working mothers can still continue to work but also care for their children at the same time.
Remote work may also make it easier for women to climb the corporate ladder, since they won’t have to sacrifice career for family, or vice versa.
Freelancers Take Charge
So remote work will help people achieve work-life balance, it will keep women in the workforce, and it can also help with job satisfaction.
All of that sounds great, but if that’s not enough to convince you to implement a flexible work policy at your company, the following stat just might: currently, 34 percent of the total U.S. workforce is comprised of freelancers. This equals 54 million American workers—and this number is growing. (It’s estimated that 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers by the year 2020.)
Employers are no longer dictating the trajectory of people’s careers—the workers are. To that end, 86 percent of those surveyed said they somewhat agreed with the statement that they had a strong desire to work independently. These workers will look for what matters most to them (i.e., work-life balance, companies that inspire and nurture their workers, and work flexibility) and apply to work for companies that can offer this to them.
Companies that want to stay ahead of the competition and provide a company culture that puts workers’ interests first should consider remote work options for their workers. After all, it’s only a matter of time before the future of your company might depend on its remote work policy.
Readers, what do you think about the stats from this survey and the future of work? Does this convince you to have a flexible work policy for your employees? Let us know in the comments below!