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Is flexible working the way to engage Millennials?


The impact of millennials in the workplace has been a point of regular discussion in recent times, with a range of organisations and researchers producing in-depth studies into the various motivations and workplace needs of those individuals born between approximately 1980 and 2000.


A particularly interesting aspect of Deloitte’s recent study – “The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey” – considered how Millennials view the subject of flexible and remote working practices. The idea of millennials being especially keen on such flexibility is something of a well-worn trope, and the data Deloitte produced certainly appears to confirm this.


What their study found was that a substantial 88 per cent of respondents wanted, within limits, a greater opportunity to start and finish work at times that they chose. Similarly, a majority – a full 75 per cent – of those surveyed wanted to begin working from home or another location where they felt they could be more productive. This is substantially more than the proportion (43 per cent) who currently have the opportunity to do so.


What the research appears to show is that millennials value greater levels of flexibility in their working practices, as well as the increased level of trust that such practices appears to show in them. Part of this might be because they are a generation who is very comfortable with the concept of being near-perpetually connected, and so are less convinced by the idea of that being physically present in a workplace will make a significant impact on their level of contribution.


The survey also appeared to confirm this perception in terms of their effectiveness at work, finding that 51 per cent of respondents said remote working would actually increase their level of productivity.


It is also possibly no coincidence that Millennials were found to highly value a sense of control in their jobs and careers. 29 per cent of respondents said they felt in “total control” of their careers, while 77 per cent said they felt their careers paths were in their own control and not influenced by other people or external events.


In the region, a 2015 YouGov survey conducted on behalf of the UAE’s Federal Authority for Human Resources (FAHR) found that around seven in ten respondents had the opportunity to work remotely, with 74 per cent of respondents saying remote and flexible working arrangements would bolster their productivity in their roles.


Such results, of course, suggest that it might not be solely millennials who value flexibility. However, for employers looking to retain notoriously job-hopping millennials, it is interesting to consider how far flexible working practices might provide one answer.


Does your company offer remote and flexible working practices? Has it helped attract and retain millennials?
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