NEW YORK, NY–(Jan 26, 2017) - Employees cite flexible work hours and remote capabilities as critical factors in the workplace, even more important than unlimited paid time off, according to new research. Below are the findings from interviews with 314 U.S. small business employees and 47 small business owners, conducted by Justworks, the simple all-in-one benefits, HR and payments platform for small businesses, and SquareFoot, a marketplace for commercial real estate leasing.

Employers Must Embrace Flexibility and Remote Work to Win the Talent Race

  • Employees polled cited the importance of flexible work hours and remote capabilities as very important to them, more important than unlimited paid time off.
  • 70 percent of employees feel flexible hours are very important, and 68 percent believe it has a positive impact on their teams. Aligning well with those needs, 63 percent of employees polled work at companies that offer flex time.
    • An even greater majority of the 47 business owners we spoke to offer flexible work hours: 86 percent, making it the most popular workplace benefit. 76 percent of employers believe this has a big impact on their ability to hire, and they’re clearly right.
  • 57 percent of employees feel that remote work capabilities are very important, and 60 percent believe it has a positive impact on their teams. 59 percent work at companies that offer remote capabilities.
    • 74 percent of the business owners we spoke to offer this benefit. 64 percent believe it’s something employees desire, but 44 percent of employers feel that employees are most likely to abuse remote work policies (of the potential benefits examined here).
  • Meanwhile, less than half (44 percent) of employees believe that unlimited PTO is important, only 21 percent believe it has a positive impact on their teams (72 percent say it has no impact on team performance). Just 28 percent work at companies that offer it.
    • 73 percent of business owners polled believe unlimited PTO has some impact on hiring.

Paid Parental Leave Still Not the Norm

  • Only 35.5 percent of employees polled (the majority of whom are not parents) work at companies that offer paid parental leave.
  • 49 percent believe it’s very important, and 22 percent believe paid leave has a positive impact on their teams.
    • 52 percent of the business owners we spoke to offer paid parental leave – possibly because just 18 percent believe that it’s a perk that employees desire.

Company Criteria & Decision Making

  • 48 percent of the employees polled said none of these perks affected their decision to join their companies.
  • Flex hours factored into the decisions of 35 percent of the employees polled.
  • Remote capabilities were a factor in 30 percent of the employees’ decisions.
  • Only 14 percent of employees said that unlimited PTO impacted their decision to accept their current position.
  • Just 4 percent indicated paid parental leave was a factor in their decisions; however, it’s worth noting that 81 percent of the employees polled don’t have children.

Flexibility Beats Pay: Almost half of those surveyed would trade 10 percent of their compensation for a job with a greater degree of workplace flexibility.

  • People indicated they would take a job for 10% less pay (all else being equal) if the following were available to them as part of the offer. Counterintuitively, unlimited PTO was the most popular option when it came to this question.
    • Flex hours – 42 percent
    • Remote – 42 percent
    • Unlimited PTO – 51 percent
    • Paid parental leave – 32 percent

Vacation View: Long Weekends FTW

  • - With or without unlimited PTO, employees are often inclined to take time off in short bursts, rather than extended breaks.
  • Justworks’ customer data, which largely represents small businesses, shows that workers typically take long weekends – an average PTO request of one to two days at a time – far more often than larger trips. (See graph below.)

Justworks and Squarefoot PTO Graph

Methodology

This analysis was the result of in-depth interviews with over 314 US small business employees and 47 small business owners that Justworks and SquareFoot conducted in December 2016.

About Justworks

Justworks helps entrepreneurs bolster their growing businesses with transparency, integrity and simplicity in mind. Justworks believes in leveling the playing field, and offering large company benefits for small businesses – so they can provide the care their team deserves and compete for top talent. The ultimate goal is to free entrepreneurs to focus on what matters: building their business and creating a great place to work. To learn more about Justworks' fast and simple-to-use HR and payments platform visit https://justworks.com/ and follow on Twitter @JustworksHR.