Hours, workplace… Employees dream of ultra-flexibility

Hours, workplace... Employees dream of ultra-flexibility

The advent of teleworking has shaken many managerial certainties. But it appears to be the tip of the iceberg. It is flexibility taken to the extreme that employees are now looking for, according to a recent American report.

If the 100% face-to-face model with fixed hours remains the norm, flexible and delocalized teleworking constitutes an increasingly strong expectation among working people. The latter are particularly interested in the possibility of compressing their working time and experimenting with the four-day week.

Job offers mentioning this system have seen a 68% search boom since February 2023, as indicated in Flexa’s Flexible Working report. This date is not insignificant since it coincides with the publication date of the results of a major experiment on the four-day week carried out in the United Kingdom for six months. This operation was a great success since 92% of the organizations which participated chose to continue this test.

Companies, whether based in the United Kingdom or not, have understood that this organizational model can be a key asset for hiring employees. They therefore massively deployed it last year, which resulted in an increase in recruitment advertisements offering alternative working weeks in the last quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Adapt to everyone’s needs

It’s a safe bet that this trend will last a long time. For good reason, having the possibility of working four days, instead of five, is more than a simple comfort for employees. It is the sign of a managerial philosophy based on freedom, autonomy and trust. By establishing this method of organization, the company demonstrates its desire to be in line with the different needs and lifestyles of its employees, which strengthens its employer brand.

The four-day week is not the only alternative work arrangement that interests employees. Flexible hours are also part of this. But surprisingly, the workers surveyed as part of the Flexa study do not seem to want to benefit from it at all costs. Half of them say they are indifferent to whether or not an employer offers flexible working hours. “This suggests that when other flexibility arrangements are put in place, whether it be choice of workplace or alternative working arrangements, daily schedule flexibility is not as important a concern,” note the authors of the report.

But working people are much more interested in the possibility of being able to adapt their schedules on an ad hoc basis, whether to go to a medical appointment or pick up their children from school. They also value being able to work wherever they want.

Generally speaking, everything suggests that the time has come for ultra-flexibility. Workers would like to be able to come to the office when they feel the need, or adapt their working hours to their schedule, in order to maintain a balance between their professional and personal lives. But this new approach to “à la carte” work is a challenge for employers. It involves fundamentally rethinking the relationship between the company and its employees so that individual requirements do not weaken the collective.