57% of staff say their employer welcomes flexible work

New research has found that only 57% of employees believe their organisational culture embraces flexible work, compared to 75% of executives.

The 2021 Gartner hybrid work employee survey of 4,000 people revealed a perception gap between individuals and their managers on a range of working conditions.

The study found that while nearly three-quarters of executives think their organisation understands how flexible work patterns support staff, only around half of employees share this view.

In addition, two-thirds (66%) of individuals agree they have the technology they need to effectively work remotely, compared to 80% of executives, while 59% of staff and 76% of executives say their organisation provides them with resources that allow them to work in a virtual environment.

Another 41% of respondents said that senior leadership acts in their best interest, compared to 69% of executives, who are also more likely to feel trusted when it comes to working from home. Indeed, 70% agreed that their organisation trusts staff not to abuse work flexibility, compared to 58% of employees.

Almost three-quarters (71%) of executives believe leadership at their organisation has expressed a preference for work conditions to return to their pre-Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic model, whereas half of employees have that same impression.

Alexia Cambon, director in the Gartner HR practice, explained that workers do not feel that their need for flexibility is seen as a driver of performance.

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She added that what is more concerning is the “clear gap” when it comes to autonomy over the decision to work flexibly, as 72% of executives agree they can work out their own flexible work arrangement with their manager, whereas only half of employees feel they have that same privilege.

“Without trust, employees may feel wary of sharing their honest opinions about how, where and when they want to work. According to our most recent survey on hybrid work, only 56% of staff agree they feel welcome to express their true feelings at work, compared to 74% of executives,” Cambon said.