Much time, research, and thought have been devoted to understanding what Millennials want in the workplace. And the answer is simple: Millennials want flexible work schedules.
Millennials have grown up watching their parents devote long hours to their job. Coming home late from the office, working on weekends, foregoing vacation time all in the name of getting ahead at work or earning a promotion at the company they’ve spent their whole working lives at.
Millennials have witnessed this, and they reject it.
Gen-Y’ers are the generation most likely to change jobs or careers, give up promotion opportunities, move, or take a pay cut in order to have flexible schedules to manage work and family life
If management and human resource departments do not attempt to provide some type of flexibility in scheduling, it could mean the loss of Millennial talent to companies who will.
Studies show that 88 percent of millennials consider their work-life balance when choosing a job, while 74 percent say flexible work schedules are their priority.
In a previous article, we spoke with Michael Parrish Dudell who is a business consultant, bestselling author, expert on Millennials, and a Millennial himself. We asked him if he has noticed any particular incentive that Millennials look for at work, and without pause he said, “Freedom.” “This is a very entrepreneurial generation. They love the idea of feeling like they have control over their life.”
Here are some increasingly popular policies that offer employees more freedom in their work schedules, which will ultimately make them happier and more productive individuals.
- Working Remotely
Research by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom found that working remotely can actually increase productivity and satisfaction. Bloom says the study also found that “flexibility for workers to work where they prefer is critical to retention.”
- Flexible Daily Schedules
The idea behind this is that different people work best at different times of the day. If an employee is not a morning person, they could choose to start their day later, and stay later. Or, other employees might prefer to come to work very early, leave for a few hours during the middle of the day, and come back later that evening.
- 20% Time
In his co-authored New York Times best-selling book, The Alliance, Ben Casnocha discusses how it is important, and actually profitable, to empower your employees to build their personal brands and expand their professional networks. Giving 20% Time is a perfect example of how to implement that into your organization. Innovative vanguards such as Google, LinkedIn, Apple and Microsoft have at one point or another offered a 20 percent time policy. This policy encouraged employees to take 20 percent of their time—the equivalent of one workday per week—to work on personal pet projects aside from their main job. The technology behind Gmail was one such pet project to come from this policy at Google.
- Me Passes
BigSpeak offers employees 6 Me Passes per year. Me Passes are 3-hour time periods that employees can take at any time during the day. These are not for doctors visits or various necessary appointments, which additional time is allotted for, but specifically for a few hours of personal time. Employees often take this time to go to the beach on a sunny day, see a movie, do a fun activity with friends and family, and even to sleep in or take a nap.
- Unlimited Vacation Days
About two years ago, companies like LinkedIn, Hubspot, and Netflix, began offering unlimited vacation days and many other organizations followed suit. The deal is that employees can take as many vacation and sick days as they please and are held accountable by their productivity and quality of work. The policy is still debated in some HR circles. Michael Parrish DuDell admits, “Some people have had success with it, some haven’t. I don’t know if it’s going to catch on.”
- Flexible Schedules as Recognition and Reward
If you’re not yet ready to make large structural changes to your organization, Millennial expert and author of The Young Professional’s Guide book series, Aaron McDaniel, suggests offering schedule flexibility as a reward. He says this could potentially be “much more empowering than another certificate or monetary award for a job well done (Millennials received enough participation ribbons growing up). Offering your Millennial employees additional work schedule flexibility as recognition for work accomplishments not only helps retain that employee, but it will motivate their peers to work hard to earn the same flexibility.”
These types of scheduling options help to break up monotonous work and encourage employees to think creatively. But it’s not just employees that benefit from flexible schedules, employers can profit as well:
1. Bottom-line savings. Having remote workers cuts-down the cost of office expenses such as electricity, coffee, water, snacks, and office supplies.
2. Increased focus. Because employees are held accountable by their productivity and quality of work, not the number of hours worked, focus on each project is increased.
3. Higher input. Twenty-two percent say they would be willing to work more hours.
4. Heightened loyalty. Eighty-two percent say they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.
5. Reduced turnover. More commitment through flexibility. Thirty-four percent of Millennials have left a job because it did not have schedule flexibility.
6. Increased productivity. Sixty percent said they would be more productive at home than in the office.
Tasha Harris is the Content Associate at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau. She graduated with honors and a degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She also holds a certificate in Publishing from the Denver Publishing Institute at the University of Denver. Contact her at TashaH@BigSpeak.com