More and more employees are seeking flexibility and control over where and how they work, giving rise to the concept of 'Everywhere Work'. However, a new report from US-based technology company Ivanti reveals that despite employees' strong desire for hybrid or remote work schedules, there remains a significant gap between what they want and what they are offered.
According to the 2023 Report: Elevating the Future of Everywhere Work, 71 per cent of employees want to work a hybrid or remote schedule of their choice. However, only 43 per cent of employees can work in the location of their choice, creating a 28-point "preference gap", indicating that employers and employees are still at odds over who gets to define the time, location, and manner of work.
The report also highlights that the benefits and flexibility of Everywhere Work have not yet been fully democratised. When surveying executives and IT professionals, the preference gap shrinks to 12 points and 13 points, respectively. This disparity suggests that those in leadership positions may not fully understand the importance of providing flexibility to their employees.
“When it comes to how and where employees work – leaders who do not embrace and enable flexibility where they can – also risk not reaping the benefits of a more engaged, more productive workforce,” said Jeff Abbott, CEO at Ivanti.
“Attracting and retaining the very best talent will always be an executive priority, but the organisations that embrace an Everywhere Work mindset – and supporting tech stack – will have a sustainable competitive advantage. There has been a seismic shift in how and where employees expect to get work done and it's imperative for leaders to break down culture and tech barriers to enable it.”
As employees strive to strike a balance between work and personal life, they are pushing for new ways of working that help them reduce long commutes and minimise the negative impact on their health and well-being. Unfortunately, many employers are still hesitant to fully embrace virtual work arrangements, treating them as temporary solutions that may be reversed in the future.
This reluctance to embrace remote work has led to widespread burnout and disengagement among knowledge workers, particularly younger employees.
Shockingly, one in three office workers under 40 admits to "quiet quitting," while more than one in four are contemplating leaving their jobs within the next six months.
The survey reveals that burnout due to workload and mental health suffering are the top reasons for this "ready-to-walk" mindset, both at 35 per cent. Surprisingly, better pay ranks third, with 33 per cent of respondents citing it as a reason to leave their current job.
It showcased the growing acceptance that hybrid and remote work options boost employee satisfaction and make work-life balance more achievable.
The survey shows that 71 per cent of organisational leaders believe that remote work has a positive impact on employee morale.
Furthermore, the majority of office workers, at 66 per cent, have not experienced any negative side effects from hybrid/virtual work – a 15-point increase from the 2022 survey.
Only 2 per cent of office workers believe they have been passed over for a promotion due to hybrid working, a significant decrease from 9 per cent in the 2022 survey.
The survey also sheds light on the changing attitudes of employees towards remote work. According to it, office workers would be willing to take an 8.9 per cent pay cut to be able to work remotely, an increase from 5 per cent in 2022.
The report also provides valuable insights into how businesses can enable Everywhere Work.
Invest in get-it-done-anywhere technology - It’s time to think about collaboration not just in terms of communication but also in terms of process. A simplified organisation-wide service management solution makes work life easier and more productive, no matter the location.
Challenge how organisations think about security - When employees work virtually, there’s less oversight of their activities, meaning organisations take on additional risks. To release some of that pressure, employers should invest in an organisation-wide, risk-based remediation strategy.
Beware of IT burnout - Business leadership, in the years to come, will be about taming complexity, and simplifying tech stacks and workflows to minimise employee burnout.
Reduce the preference gap – Listen to employees and look for innovative technologies like dynamic collaboration tools, workflow automation and even AI-powered bots to empower workers to be more effective and efficient.
Ivanti collaborated with "Future of Work" experts and surveyed 8,400 office workers, IT professionals, and C-level executives across the globe to gain insights into the attitudes, expectations, and challenges facing future-focused organisations and their employees. The report's goal is to explore what happens when employees want to work anytime, anywhere, but their company is not equipped to deliver it.