What’s the most important benefit that job seekers look for in a company?
Is it shorter working hours? More annual leave? Higher pay?
The answer might be none of the above.
According to research conducted by leading flexible workspace provider IWG earlier this year, it could be the implementation of a flexible workspace policy — one that allows employees to choose and change their workplace location.
82 per cent of people indicated that, all other things equal, they would choose a job that allowed flexible working over a job that didn’t. And between getting an increase in holiday allowance and being allowed to choose their work location, 34 per cent chose the latter.
Power to the people
To founder and CEO of IWG Mark Dixon, the survey results show a clear shift in power towards the employee, when it comes to dictating what an average working day entails.
“We are seeing now that flexible working is considered the new norm for any business that is serious about productivity, agility and winning the war for top talent,” he says, pointing out that half of respondents polled claimed to work outside of their main office location for at least half the work week.
Of course, companies with long histories of non-flexible working policies might find it difficult to adapt to such a drastic change in organisational culture — a statement reinforced by 37 per cent of businesses fearing that flexible working would have an impact on overall company culture.
But Mr Dixon also cautions that businesses who rigidly stick to the practices of yesteryear could be seen as out of touch, both with their competitors and with the demands of the modern workforce. In turn, this puts them at risk of losing out on the best talent.
Flexible workspaces are also seen as more inclusive working environments, particularly for parents, older workers, people suffering from stress or struggling with mental health issues.
It’s no wonder, then, that businesses are scrambling to implement flexible work policies: three in four businesses polled were taking steps to introduce flexible working, so as to improve talent retention.
This appears to be a smart move: IWG research shows that 46 per cent of employees would prioritise being able to choose their workplace location over having a more prestigious role, while 69 per cent of them listed a choice of work environment as a key factor in choosing new work opportunities.
A future without commuting?
So why are the workers of today so staunchly in support of flexible work policies?
One word: commuting.
The results speak for themselves. Two in five respondents believed that commuting was the worst part of the day, and that it could be obsolete by 2030.
This comes as no surprise, particularly in Singapore’s urban crush, which sees commuters dealing with rush hour crowds, day in and day out. As Singapore’s population continues to grow ever larger, the limits of our transport infrastructure begin to be pushed. True enough, one in five respondents said that they were regularly late due to travel disruptions.
The discontent with commuting also comes with the fact that almost half of all office workers polled spend their commute working, the majority of which are uncompensated for the time that they do so.
Eliminating the commute not only boosts morale in the office, but also results in an overall improvement in productivity — as evidenced by 82 per cent of businesses reporting increased productivity after making steps toward greater flexibility in the office.
Those aren’t the only benefits of flexible working. In a time where businesses are prioritising agility and cost efficiencies — in the study, 48 per cent of businesses surveyed said they aspired to be more agile in 2019 — flexible work policies are a key part of contributing to said agility, helping them scale more easily and facilitate operations in overseas markets, due to the lower capital and operational expenditure required.
The new frontier
But just because your company hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, it doesn’t mean that it’s too late to catch up. Flexible workspace providers like Spaces enable businesses of all sizes, even small and medium-sized enterprises and startups, to setup and scale themselves accordingly as they grow and expand into other markets.
With locations all over the island including City Hall, Clarke Quay, Paya Lebar, Somerset, One Raffles Place and Robinson Road, Spaces offers businesses a myriad of different facilities, ranging from flexible offices, co-working spaces and meeting rooms.
All Spaces members may access their facilities around the clock — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with full high-speed Internet access at any time. This privilege is not restricted to their own countries, either; all Spaces offices worldwide are open to anyone with a Spaces membership.
This allows for flexibility not just in employees’ schedules, but also in the way business owners choose to set up their working spaces.
Looking to make yourself a little more flexible? Check out www.spacesworks.com for a full rundown of what Spaces can offer you.