Is work flexibility a way to attract millenial workers?

Dec 13, 2013

"One-in-three workers would be willing to sacrifice salary, vacation days and employee benefits in order to have the opportunity to work remotely"


What do you think workers want from their employers heading into 2014? A bump in salary? More vacation time? Some nifty new perks?

Those things would be welcome, sure—but they’re not the only thing on employee wish lists. At least, according to the new Rogers Connected Workplace report conducted by Rogers Communications Inc. (the parent company of PROFIT) and Harris Decima. The report surveyed more than 1,000 employees working in organizations in different sectors and of various sizes located across Canada in October of this year.

It reveals a strong desire for flexibility in the workplace. A full 44% of all survey respondents said they would be able to conduct their normal duties outside of the office. And one-in-three respondents said they would be willing to sacrifice salary, vacation days and employee benefits in order to have the opportunity to work remotely; that’s closer to 50% for Gen Y workers. Moreover, those who currently are able to work remotely reported higher levels of job satisfaction than those who aren’t.

This doesn’t appear to be a fleeting trend, either; 59% of all respondents said that flexible hours and work-from-anywhere policies will be their top priorities in deciding whether to take a job in the future.

For employers, this growing interest in flex-work will require new processes, policies and, importantly, technology. When more workers are accessing company servers and sensitive information from their home networks using their personal devices, it can create big problems—that is, if it’s not managed properly by the company.

That doesn’t necessarily mean banning all personal gadgets. While only three-in-10 survey respondents work for a company that has a bring your own device (BYOD) policy (which allows them to use personal computers, phones and tablets for work), those who work under such policies report higher rates of job satisfaction than those who don’t. (It’s worth noting that BYOD appears to be particularly popular among Gen Y employees.)

Furthermore, workers seem to strongly appreciate the risks of using personal devices from work, and seem willing to mitigate them in exchange for the privilege of flex work. For instance, more than half of employees—54%—who use their smartphone for both personal and professional purposes said they have no problem with their employer enforcing security policies (think: mandatory passwords, remote data wiping capabilities and device location tracking) on those devices.

The upshot of all of this? Companies that embrace flex-work (and equip themselves to handle it) will have a better chance of attracting talent going forward. According to Steve Van Binsbergen, vice-president, business segment at Rogers Communications: “Businesses that enable employees to work seamlessly across devices and environments stand ready to improve employee morale and deliver better customer experiences.”