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Flexibility vs Pay in the Workplace

According to recent statistics, remote work is here to stay for some companies. The 2021 State of Remote Work Report from Owl Labs discovered that of the 2,050 remote workers surveyed: 

  • 90% said they were more productive working remotely 
  • 74% said working remotely is better for their mental health 
  • 33% said they would quit if they could not stay remote after the pandemic 
  • 71% said they desire a remote or hybrid setting after the pandemic 

These results tell us that most workers place immense value in working from home, and as Florida stays at or near full employment, employers are looking for ways to stand out to potential candidates. 

The value of flexibility 

Many employers believe pay is the most crucial factor to workers. As a result, The Conference Board’s Salary Increase Budget survey found companies are planning to raise wages by 3.9% this year alone, this would be the highest increase since 2008. However, there is growing evidence that flexibility might rank higher on the priority list for employees. Recently a survey from Skynova saw that 47.8% of workers believe flexible schedules are more important than salary. 

Overall, the need for a more flexible work environment and the paradigm change from “work-life balance” to “life-work balance” gives employers great opportunities to attract and retain talent. Angela Fischer, Director of HR Services at CentroMotion, noted in a recent article on the SHRM Blog the need to remain flexible as an employer. “Creating a Workplace Flexibility policy is a new policy that fits and adapts to what employees are looking for in today’s market. This policy considers remote work to be a viable and flexible work option when both the employee, the position, and schedules are suited for such an arrangement”, stated Fischer.  

Flexibility does not mean all workers must work from home 100% of the time. It means structuring the workload assigned to an employee in a way that allows for the uncertainties of life to occur alongside their role in the company. Allowing for a space to meet and collaborate in person, but also accepting time they spend at home in pajamas while finishing that big report. Allowing to pick up children from soccer practice at 4 pm, but still answering emails and reviewing documents over coffee at 6 am at the dining table. In the past, the rigid structure of 8 to 5 schedules provided clear delineation between the workday and home life but over time those lines have been blurred and the pandemic saw the line almost wash away completely.  

Location, location, location 

One of the side effects of a more mobile workforce is that a company’s talent pool is no longer defined by a 30-minute commute. Employers can look far beyond traditional talent pools that are clustered in big cities and urban centers. Likewise, workers have begun to spread out and move out of the areas of high density and into communities that offer more space, lower costs of living, great amenities, and all they need to stay connected is a reliable internet connection. This is one reason that Pasco County has seen 14.6% growth between 2014 and 2019 and was ranked the 3rd best work from home counties by the National Association of Realtors. Employers are ditching the expensive high-rises in exchange for smaller, more cost-effective, collaboration spaces in areas surrounding large metros. 

This strategy certainly does not apply to jobs at every company as there are plenty of positions in which a hybrid work model will never apply. For roles in which a hybrid work environment can work, this can give employers a leg up in recruitment and retaining top talent to adapt and become flexible where possible. For more information on current local trends in Pasco County be sure to check out our Annual Workforce Report, or if you would like to meet and discuss local resources that can help you develop these new hybrid work policies book a consultation with our workforce advisor.