Flex jobs are here to stay. For employees, the benefits of flexible work are obvious. But there can also be a downside to remote work and flexible hours. Here’s what you need to know.
To improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover, employers are increasingly willing to offer flex jobs that allow for remote work and flexible hours.
But flex jobs aren’t for everyone. Although flex jobs have perks, there are also serious drawbacks that workers and employers need to know about before committing to flexible work plans.
Flex Jobs Are on the Rise
Flex jobs are becoming common fixtures in the American workplace. Both the number of employees taking advantage of flexible work scenarios and the amount of hours worked outside the office are on the rise.
- Telecommuting is up. Over the past decade, telecommuting has increased by 30 percent. In 2015, occasional telecommuters worked from home an average of two days per month.(Gallup)
- Employees hate being chained to their desk. More than 80 percent of workers want a job that provides some remote work opportunities. And at least half of them hold jobs that are compatible with telework. (Global Workplace Analytics)
- Work-life balance isn’t the only issue driving the rise in flex jobs. Nearly a third of employees indicate that they want flexible work scenarios for health benefits and exercise. (FlexJobs)
With the U.S. economy rapidly transitioning to a “gig economy,” the demand for flex jobs is forecasted to become even more intense. In many ways, flexible work opportunities are becoming a standard expectation for information workers and other employees.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Flex Jobs
The good news for employers is that flex jobs can provide important benefits for both employees and the companies they work for.
The PROs of Flex Jobs
- Increased Productivity – Flex workers consistently report that they are more productive when they work from home because they experience fewer distractions and interruptions than when they’re in the workplace.
- Employee Satisfaction – Employees who are allowed to participate in flexible work opportunities see it as a tangible benefit and are willing to receive less pay or fewer benefits to work some of their hours on their own terms.
- Quality of Life – Flexible work allows employees to enjoy a better overall quality of life. Although each individual has his or her own motivations, nearly all flex workers indicate that their quality of life is better than when they worked a nine-to-five office job.
But flexible work scenarios aren’t always a bed of roses. In some cases, remote work and non-traditional workdays can be disastrous for established workflows and the employee’s well being.
The CONs of Flex Jobs
- Management Challenges – The management of remote workers presents serious challenges, especially for companies that just starting to experiment with flexible work routines. Not everyone is suited for remote or flexible work patterns, so supervisors may need to evaluate flex job requests on a case-by-case basis.
- Poor Communication – Communication and collaboration often suffer during the early stages of a flex work program. The burden is on workers to stay connected with teams, clients and managers using the technologies that have been provided to them.
- Isolation – It’s not uncommon for remote workers to feel isolated from the workplace and career opportunities. A combination of in-the-office and work-from-home work hours provide the balance most employees need to feel connected with their coworkers and companies.