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Flexible hours or a four-day work week? Here's the benefit employees want most

Three-quarters of employees consider flexible work hours the most desirable employee benefit, a study by Remote finds.
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Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Associate Editor on
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Image: Getty Images/Jasmin Merdan

The pandemic changed the work environment entirely, establishing remote work and hybrid work models as new work alternatives. These changes have impacted what employees valued the most from their employers: a study conducted by Remote shows that 75% of workers consider flexible working hours the most important employee benefit when considering a job move in 2022. 

Remote's survey of 10,000 workers found that flexible work hours ranked higher than company-sponsored retirement plans or pensions, early finish on Fridays, a 4-day working week and family health insurance, which came in last, with 62% of employees ranking it as the most important benefit. 

SEE: Want flexible working or better benefits? Here's how to negotiate with your boss

The rise of remote work over the pandemic has created new opportunities for global talent to work from anywhere, and employees remain reluctant to go back to the office full-time - despite the insistence of some employers.

The preference towards flexible work hours is felt amongst all employees regardless of gender, Remote found, with 78% of female employees and 74% of male employees wanting flexible hours to be provided by their employer. Job function also did not play a factor in the preference, as employees in almost every job function want flexible work hours, according to the study.

However, there was variation in preferences amongst age groups. Gen Zs and Millennials, for example, valued face-to-face team building more than any other generation. Well-being and mental health were also highly valued by these generations, who favoured access to mental health coaching the most (58%).

SEE: Digital presenteeism is creating a future of work that nobody wants

Baby boomers' priorities were slightly different, with company-sponsored retirement plans (80%) topping their list as the most desired work perk.   

Understanding what benefits employees prefer during these changing times will be critical to helping employers retain workers at a time when companies are struggling to fill growing talent gaps, said J Michael McMillan, manager of benefits at Remote.

"Without a benefits stack that speaks to the needs of a modern workforce, companies are putting themselves at a huge disadvantage. There's a shortage of highly skilled and highly specialized labor, and it's important for companies to be able to support their people everywhere and in a way that makes them want to stick around," said McMillan.

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