Why Are People Quitting Their Jobs? A New Study Sums Up the Whole Reason in 4 Words

There are plenty of good business reasons why more companies should consider a remote workforce. Besides it being the future of work, remote jobs could benefit employees’ mental well-being, lower their stress, and make them more productive.

One new study that captured my attention in support of these claims is FlexJobs’s 2019 Annual Survey (their 8th annual “Super Survey” on flexible work). FlexJobs asked more than 7,300 respondents to weigh in on how flexibility at work (or a lack thereof) affects their job choices and their choices to stay or leave their respective companies.

Why people leave their companies

In their published report, one statistic that stood out for me answers a lot of questions about why people are quitting their jobs:

“Thirty percent of respondents reported leaving a job because it did not offer flexible work options.”

There’s your entire reason in four words:  “No flexible work options” (A very tweetable quote.)

That’s nearly one-third of employees choosing to exit because their employers may have failed to adapt to the shifting needs of people desiring more freedom and work-life integration.

According to the FlexJobs report, there are now four reported reasons people seek flexible work, putting the pressure on decision makers to change work policies to more flexible work arrangements:

  • Work-life balance (75 percent)
  • Family (45 percent)
  • Time savings (42 percent)
  • Commute stress (41 percent)

Other findings that caught my attention include:

  • 16 percent of workers are currently looking for a new job because of flexibility issues.
  • 80 percent also said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.
  • 73 percent list work-life balance as one of the “most important factors” they consider when evaluating a job prospect (ranking well above health insurance, vacation time, and other benefits).

What’s the business case for employers?

Companies of every size are faced with a harsh reality once reserved for “future of work” conversations in the board room. As more Gen-Zers enter the labor market, remote work is predicted to become the norm. In fact, by 2028, 73 percent of all teams will have remote employees, according to UpWork’s 2019 Future Workforce Report.

As distributed workforces grow and employees start spending less time in-office, decision makers and chief HR people must adapt to create more flexible work.

According to the FlexJobs survey report, there are five compelling business reasons why they should:

1. Employee retention

Eighty percent of respondents said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options (up from 75 percent in 2018).

2. Reducing expenses

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they would take a 10 percent or 20 percent cut in pay; 21 percent are willing to forfeit vacation time; 16 percent said they would give up employer-matching retirement contributions.

3. Productivity

Sixty-five percent of respondents think they would be more productive working from home than working in a traditional office environment due to fewer distractions (74 percent), fewer interruptions from colleagues (72 percent), reduced stress from commuting (70 percent), and minimal office politics (64 percent).

4. Education and experience

Work flexibility appeals to highly educated and experienced workers. Seventy-eight percent of respondents have at least a college degree; 69 percent having at least a bachelor’s degree and 28 percent having a graduate degree. And in their professions, 33 percent are manager level or higher.

5. Hiring strategy

Ninety-seven percent of respondents are interested in being a flexible worker in the long-term. Offering flexible work options can help attract well-educated professionals with solid experience who come from a variety of backgrounds.

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