A new study from CIPD unpacking the thoughts and concerns of London’s workforce suggests that greater work flexibility can not only improve job satisfaction and work-life balance, but the ability to handle various life pressures as well. The research indicates that workers who are allowed greater flexibility with regards to how and where they do their jobs “are much less likely to report being under excessive pressure than people who don’t work flexibly, with 29% of flexible workers saying they are under excessive pressure every day or once or twice a week compared with 42% of people who don’t work flexibly.”
Only 52 percent of the London workers surveyed by CIPD reported that they have the ability to work flexibly, however, despite the fact that employees working in the city face longer commute times than anywhere else in the UK, and that 19 percent of the commuters surveyed indicated that getting to and from work was one of the top causes of stress in their lives.
And overall, for those who have been allowed greater flexibility:
The top three benefits of flexible working most frequently cited by employees are that it helps them reduce the amount of stress/pressure they feel under (29%), it enables better work–life balance (54%) and it has been a factor in them staying with their current employer (28%). A quarter of respondents say being able to work flexibly enables them to be more productive at work and to pursue hobbies/personal interests outside work.
Just over a fifth of respondents say that flexible working helps them to reduce the amount of time they spend commuting (23%), manage caring responsibilities for children (22%) and invest more time in friends and family (22%).
As our own Daniel Metz recommended a few months ago, organizations that want to help their employees tackle work-life balance should adopt an approach “which focuses on providing the employee with the right amount of flexibility and choice to tailor their own solution to their unique work-life issues”:
This might take the form of encouraging managers to let employees work remotely, work flexible or non-typical hours, or more easily make arrangements for periods of personal time during working hours. It could take the form of more and more creative cafeteria-style or voluntary benefits, where employees can craft their own benefits package to address their specific situation. In fact, giving employees flexibility is nearly twice as effective as any other company benefit in meeting work-life balance needs.