Flexible or Teleworking has become a prominent part of the modern work environment, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite its centrality to employee experience, many organisations are still without policies designed or adapted to enable an effective flexible work culture.
Trust between employers and employees plays a crucial role in ensuring a more productive and collaborative hybrid workplace, as revealed by a recent study of OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), in collaboration with LiveTiles. The research collected 1500 responses from seven countries, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, and the United States and analysed the experiences of employees who telework frequently and the role that flexible workplace policies play to facilitate greater connection, collaboration and productivity. Here’s are some key highlights:
Employees are willing to quit jobs if there’s no flexible or hybrid work option
The study found that employees highly value the ability to telework, to the extent that they would be willing to switch jobs if their employers no longer offered this. 82% of employees who currently telework said that they were prepared to quit their jobs should they no longer be allowed to telework. This statistic suggests that the demand for teleworking is likely to remain strong, and employers competing for talent will need to take this reality into account.
Teleworking policies improve the experience
It is also found that teleworking policies have an important role to play in enhancing hybrid work experiences. Workplace policies should typically cover issues such as: the provision of financial support for workers for digital workplace IT equipment, a clear definition of mandatory in-person workdays, the possibility to do remote work from abroad, the use of remote monitoring and surveillance, and the organisation of employee consultations on teleworking practices, among others.
Employees who say they are covered by workplace teleworking policies are more likely to engage in their work. For example, in firms that consult their employees on teleworking, 87% of employees telework, compared to only 61% of employees in firms that do not consult their workers. Teleworkers also report better employee experiences when they are covered by workplace policies, such as the right to disconnect or being consulted on the hybrid work model. Average levels of satisfaction with one’s job, work-life balance, mental health, physical health, and overall employee experience are all higher among employees who are covered by such teleworking policies.
The importance of ‘Trust’
Another important finding of the study is the role of workplace trust in enhancing hybrid work experiences. Where workplace teleworking policies exist, there are higher levels of trust between teleworkers and their managers. 89% of teleworkers who are consulted about teleworking report the presence of workplace trust, compared to only 59% of those who are not. Similarly, 86% of those who have the right to disconnect report workplace trust, compared to only 67% of those not covered by such a right. Therefore, teleworking policies, workplace trust, and teleworking take-up appear to be mutually and positively reinforcing cycles.
Despite these positive associations, many workplaces still lack fit-for-purpose teleworking policies. Close to 30% of hybrid workers and 25% of full-time teleworkers say that there is no worker consultation on teleworking in their organisation. Coverage also varies by country, with Switzerland having the highest coverage of the right to disconnect and financial support for digital workplace IT equipment, while Australia has the lowest coverage.
In summary, this new research highlights the importance employee consultation in the formulation of effective teleworking policies which will additionally result in fostering a culture of workplace trust; the key ingredient for hybrid work practices to thrive. Employers should take into account the high demand for teleworking among employees and the positive associations between teleworking policies, workplace trust, and teleworking take-up. By formulating teleworking policies that enhance workplace trust and employee experiences, employers can ensure that teleworking is productive and efficient.
Download the full Key Finding Report to get the full picture of what the study says and see how it can affect your organisation. Get the report here.
We have just released our on-demand online event, Teleworking Policies and Trust: a critical relationship in the hybrid world of work, that will give you a better understanding of trust and teleworking policies. Click here to watch the webinar.