Employees Want Autonomy, Not Just Flexibility

Georgiana Petcu

4 minutes read

Employees want autonomy

We hear more and more about flexibility in the current context of work. A term with double meaning, as it reflects both the need of employees to choose how and where they work, and the benefit that companies seem to offer to their teams in uncertain times.

Although, at first glance, we have a common denominator, the perception of the two groups involved in the hybrid work equation, on the translation of this term, is very different. While employees associate flexibility with the freedom to work remotely whenever they want, employers connect it with the right to tell their teams when to come to the office and when to work outside the company premises.

In a recent study conducted by Harvard Business Review among more than 5,000 employees globally, 59% of respondents said that flexibility is more important to them than salary or other benefits. The research also shows that employees want to apply it in a way that suits them best, which means that, in their case, flexibility is conditional upon autonomy.

In other words, employees want to exercise their ability to make their own decisions about how they work. Otherwise, when the company comes to dictate when and how to do it, feelings of false control and low trust become visible among the team members.

Certainly, a universally valid recipe for hybrid work does not exist. Depending on the degree of flexibility, respectively of autonomy, that an organization is willing to offer to its employees, each company will be able to establish its own rules or operation principles, as it deems appropriate.

However, the employer brand will depend on these, but also the employee satisfaction, the attraction of talents and their retention. Aspects that, in the long run, have an impact on the evolution of any business.

Text source: the November newsletter, 2021. Read the full edition here or explore the previous ones.

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Written by Georgiana Petcu

Content Manager

With over 10 years of experience in communication and content creation, I am passionate about design, writing and visual storytelling. I like to paint stories in words and pixels and discover people who inspire us.

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