Survey: Financial and Job Insecurities Not Biggest Obstacles to Work-Life Flexibility

Madison, N.J. — June 13

Just as employees have gotten comfortable with the idea of work life flexibility, worrying less about the impact it has on their paychecks or careers, new research shows increased workloads or no time are now the biggest obstacles. The finding is from the 2011 Work+Life Fit Reality Check, a telephone survey of a national probability sample of 637 full-time employed adults, sponsored by Work+Life Fit Inc. and conducted March 3-7 by Opinion Research Corp.

The current Work+Life Fit Reality Check found:

  • During the recession, about nine out of 10 respondents said their use of work life flexibility either increased (11 percent) or stayed the same (76 percent).
  • While in the recovery, nine out of 10 felt their level of use of work life flexibility would increase (10 percent) or stay the same (82 percent).
  • Compared to this time last year, more than eight out of 10 report they have the same (66 percent) or an increased amount (17 percent) of work life flexibility.
  • Without work life flexibility, 66 percent believe the business suffers with employee health, morale and productivity as the most affected areas.
  • Looking for a new job is the plan for more than one-third (35 percent); 33 percent of those cite a more flexible schedule and 25 percent the ability to telework as a reason. (Job search questions sponsored by CareerOwners.com.)

"Whatever flexibility there was before the downturn survived, indicating it is here to stay in good times and bad. Work life flexibility withstood its toughest test and continues to grow," said Cali Williams Yost, CEO, Work+Life Fit Inc. "But just when employees start to worry less about using flexibility, now they think they're too busy to do so. Clearly, both organizations and employees struggle with how to make flexibility work as a meaningful and deliberate part of the way we manage our business, work and lives."

Fewer respondents report obstacles to using or improving their work life flexibility - 61 percent in 2011 compared to 76 percent in 2006. The most-cited (29 percent) obstacle in 2011 was "increased workload or no time for flexibility." But, despite going through one of the worst economic recessions ever, financial and perception worries have progressively become less problematic.

  • You might make less money: 21 percent in 2011 versus 45 percent in 2006.
  • You might lose your job: 16 percent in 2011 versus 28 percent in 2006.
  • Others will think you don't work hard: 11 percent in 2011 versus 39 percent in 2006.
  • You worry that your boss would say "no": 13 percent in 2011 versus 32 percent in 2006.


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