In fact, there has been a 115% percent increase in telecommuting between 2005-2015. And the percentage of workers doing all or at least some of their work at home increased from 19% in 2003 to 24% in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Yes, we have seen the future of work, and it is flexible!
This was confirmed at a FlexJobs webinar as part of National Flex Day, started 5 years ago to encourage employers and employees to talk openly about the importance of work flexibility.
These were some of the biggest takeaways when it comes to a flexible work schedule…
There’s Going to Be More Tracking of Work
The panelists for the webinar discussed that there are actually, even more, people working flex-jobs than we even know about because the majority of knowledge workers are doing it in unofficial capacities.
“Remote work isn’t all-or-nothing. The majority of white collar workers are already working remotely. Even 5 or 10 percent of the time,” said Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and Founder of FlexJobs.
Basically, any time you are checking email while you sit at the airport you are part of the remote workforce. The problem is, there is no official monitoring of this and your efforts may go unnoticed. Currently, even though 80 percent of companies offer flexible work options, only 3% monitor the impacts and ROI of these options, according to a study by WorldAtWorkand underwritten by FlexJobs.
There is clearly a need for more monitoring of remote work. This is something we will see more of in the coming years by employers. Even though monitoring may sound a little big brother, this will actually help companies understand the tremendous benefits that come from flexible work arrangements.
For example, how it can save companies approximately $11,000 annually per employee, according to WorkFlexibility.org. Or that studies show that workers are actually more productive when they aren’t distracted by their neighboring coworkers, a stressful commute and that box of donuts in the kitchen.
Tracking metrics and really looking at the impact of flexible workers will help companies understand more. “The fear is what’s holding people back—the fear that employees are not going to be working if they’re remote,” said Sutton Fell.
Flex-jobs Will Become Reason-Agnostic
The webinar panelists believe that looking at flex-jobs as a special arrangement instead of as a right will change.
“We need to make flexibility the default instead of an accommodation and a right instead of a privilege. I’d really urge measurement and collecting statistics to make this case. So many companies say they offer flex-jobs and such a minute amount track what that actually means,” said Bridget Schulte, the director of the Better Life Lab and The Good Life initiative at New America.
For this to happen there needs to be better communication between the employee and their manager. Communication about what they want in terms of flexible work and why it will benefit them.
Millennials Will Lead the Way
Like flexible work? You can thank millennials for that as they are going to be the ones to keep it going. More than one-in-three American workers today are millennials. That makes them the largest group in the workforce (they just surpassed Gen X.)
This means they are really going to be the ones dictating what the culture of work looks like. The tools and technology we use to keep this flexible environment possible and improving over time. “While flexible work often seems like an accommodation, typically for women, or mothers, or caregivers, it becomes the inflection point. With millennials, both men and women are saying they want full, meaningful lives and meaningful careers,” said Schulte.
No doubt: the future of a flexible work schedule looks good. Very good indeed.
For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.