“The Great Resignation” sees overworked and disillusioned employees leaving their current roles, with 4.4 million people quitting their job in September of last year alone. There are more jobs than there are people, in part due to a new demand for flexibility.
According to Bloomberg, almost 39% of workers would rather leave their job if it does not offer them the flexible work that they now require, and that number climbs to 49% for Millennials and Gen Z employees. Those required to return to offices, or who do not get value or inspiration out of it, can easily find their preferred work environment elsewhere.
People want to tailor their working style and schedule to their needs — whether that’s to better support their kids, adjust operations for regions they support, or just spend more time with long-distance loved ones. For instance, flexible work permitted my Qatar-based son to visit home in New York and work while he sees us. Asynchronous work is proving to be ever-present for every industry in every geography.
Flexibility in where, when, and how people work is fundamental for creating a desirable organization. And leaders should tailor their management style accordingly. In-office supervision is no longer the norm, so leaders need to focus on how employees achieve outcomes and provide contributions. If somebody gets up at 5:00 a.m., met their objectives for the day by 1:00 p.m., and then went surfing, should we care? Focus on the outcome and objective employees achieve, rather than having them work at a certain time and location.
And remember to trust your workforce. People never wake up and do things deliberately wrong or make bad decisions. They may do things differently and it may not quite work out as expected, but that’s OK — employees are learning and will ultimately be successful. Businesses that make trust a touchstone will recruit and retain the right talent, while those that fail to do so may see a few more resignations.