Generational divides become evident when it comes to which groups care most about flexibility.
By Zee Johnson
For many workers, working remotely or flexibly was not much of an option at the height of the pandemic, but instead, a mandate. Now, some are getting the opportunity to choose where they want to work—and from this, generational gaps are becoming very apparent.
According to a recent YouGov research, two-thirds of younger British workers under the age of 55 placed great importance on the ability to work flexibly. On the opposing end, less than half of workers over the age of 55 cared about having the ability to work flexibly, or, working from home or having flexible working hours.
Of the group of over-55-year-olds, men were the most likely to condemn flexible work, with 57% saying the ability to work flexibly did not matter to them. However, 48% reported being more inclined to apply for a job if it offered flexible hours or the chance to work from home. Likewise, when it came to women in the 55 and older category, 49% expressed the importance of workplace flexibility, a number almost mimicking men, indicating no significant gender difference.
Younger workers, especially women who may have the responsibility of caring for small children, cited working from home as very important to them, at 72%. Seventy-one percent of the same group said they would be more likely to apply to a job that offered great flexibility. For the men in the group, 63% iterated the same sentiments.
While flexibility has been the name of the game for millions after COVID-19 hit, many are ready to get back to their normal, in office routine. “These results are pretty stark. Those most likely to have caring or childcare responsibilities – women under the age of 55 – are those prioritising flexibility,” said Molly Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Flexa. “And those who don’t – older men – are much less fussed. Employers should be mindful that their perception of what the ‘best’ working set-up is won’t be shared by everyone on their team. They should be consulting with staff about what they want from the workplace and what set-up will enable them to thrive,” she said.
The survey findings could provide organisations with insight into employee behavior when moving forward in a post-pandemic landscape.