Álvaro Villar
CEO
WeWork Mexico

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Expert Contributor

Flexibility as the Ultimate Employee Benefit in the New Normal

By Andrea Villar | Tue, 08/02/2022 - 11:00

None of us could have predicted what we experienced in the past few years, and while we all had our challenges, the pandemic also created an opportunity for extraordinary change. Companies are redefining their work models to benefit employees’ well-being and employees are also re-evaluating their own needs, including paying closer attention to the package of benefits their employers provide.

In the midst of what’s likely to be the most transformative time for “the office,” employers are taking the time to understand what employees really want; recognizing, more so than ever before, the benefit of injecting a greater level of flexibility into their business.

Seventy-five percent of workers globally would be willing to give up at least one perk or benefit — including healthcare, cash bonuses, and paid time off — for the freedom to choose where they work. Additionally, our study, “Redefining work models in Latin America,” found that more than half of Mexican workers believe the office of the future is not a single location but a network of spaces and services, usually closer to home. The same study found that 85% of workers in Mexico want to go to an office between two and three days per week in order to interact and exchange ideas with their peers. Hybrid work gives employees more autonomy to do their job where they feel most productive, whether at a central office for collaborative tasks with the team or at a location near home to save more time and be with loved ones.

As flexibility becomes the new norm and demands for flexible options continue to rise, companies are starting to see it as an essential part of their benefits package. Today, people are appreciating more than just a good salary to choose their next employer, and flexibility might be at the top of that list, along with wellness perks, mental health support and a true cause.

While navigating the global health crisis, people have been reevaluating what’s really important to them, most importantly how and where they spend their waking hours. We want to feel alive and work with purpose. We like to call it: “Make a life, not just a living.” Workplace well-being is a blanket term for all aspects of work life. It includes how employees feel about the physical quality and safety of the workplace, the social environment, and the meaning of the work they do. 

Flexibility can support overall well-being on many fronts, by offering the freedom to adapt our work life to our current situation, by providing the means to collaborate, connect and relate to significant coworkers, by strengthening our sense of belonging and by improving our quality of life.

Companies that place an emphasis on workers’ well-being through a strong package of benefits that includes some level of flexibility will see higher engagement, experience less turnover, and find it easier to attract top talent.

Every company wants to be a place where employees feel engaged, excited, and proud to work. But what does offering flexibility actually mean? And how can companies create an environment that promotes it? At WeWork, we believe that people should have the freedom to choose when, where and how they can perform their best work, which is why we’ve developed products like WeWork All Access, a passport that gives you the chance to work productively from any WeWork location in the world.

Most employees say they want to return to the office, at least for part of the week. Still, they don’t necessarily want to make the long commute to office headquarters on crowded subways or to give up the flexibility they enjoyed while working from home. Flexible working models are the key to solving these issues. Nowadays, companies have different resources to offer flexibility as a benefit. WeWork All Access is just one option to support their workforce with a variety of innovative spaces that suit their personal and professional needs.

In light of the current climate, flexibility in the workplace has become a no-brainer. Something that was once viewed as a short-term solution to the pandemic has now become part of a permanent shift toward a working style that supports and empowers employees.

I believe that companies who are able to recognize the benefits of flexibility as a benefit will be the ones that are able to achieve long-term employee satisfaction and will see both their business and workforce thrive.

Photo by:   Álvaro Villar
Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst