Flex work

Report: Flexibility has strong ties to employee perceptions of culture and inclusion

Lack of flexibility is also correlated to higher levels of reported burnout.
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· 3 min read

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Flexibility at work is like ice cream after dinner—having some is always better than having none. While many managers and well-known CEOs are trying to mandate employees to come to the office, data shows that people tend to perceive better work cultures and avoid burnout when they have flexibility.

According to the Future Forum Pulse report, released February 15, global employees who are dissatisfied with their level of flexibility at work are 43% more likely to say they feel burned-out at work than those who are satisfied with their level of flexibility.

Survey respondents also shared their primary motivations for going into the office. Executives valued building camaraderie far less than non-executives.


Conflict still remains, as 25% of executives surveyed cited “team culture is negatively impacted” as their top concern about offering employees more flexibility in an office. It may be HR’s job to bridge this gap.

The payoff. Workers with any flexibility to telework or go into the office were 57% more likely to say their company’s culture has improved over the past two years compared to fully in-person employees.

Timing matters, too: Compared to those with no ability to shift their work schedule, respondents with full schedule flexibility reported 39% higher productivity and 64% greater ability to focus.

The study also found a connection between burnout and lack of flexibility, as 53% of those who are dissatisfied with their level of flexibility say they are burned-out compared to 37% of employees who are satisfied.

“Giving employees choice in their day-to-day work while coming together in person with purpose is a highly effective way to drive employee connection and build trust,” Brian Elliott, executive leader of Future Forum, said in a statement on the study. Future Forum’s’s data indicates that hybrid is still the preferred model.


The office isn’t dead. The Slack-affiliated research consortium’s report surveyed over 10,000 workers in the US, Australia, France, Germany, and the UK at all levels and did not target Slack employees or customers. All respondents were desk workers, defined as working 30 or more hours per week and saying they “work with data, analyze information, or think creatively.”

Future Forum also found that people like having the option for a physical space: Two-thirds of global respondents said they prefer a hybrid working arrangement with that option.

In terms of what attracts people to the office, 75% said they use the office for either collaborating, building camaraderie, or in-person meetings, 15% said they use the office for having a quiet space to focus on getting work done, with the remaining respondents saying they valued face time with managers. —AK

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

Our HR newsletter delivers need-to-know industry news and insights to HR pros every weekday for free.