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58% of Employees Say Their Job is the Main Source of Their Mental Health Challenges, Qualtrics Study Finds

Last updated:  February 9, 2022


2022-02-09

Employees want more flexibility. 87% say they want to be in control of their schedules and have their performance measured by results.  

PROVO, Utah and SEATTLE, Feb. 9, 2022 — Two years into the pandemic, the majority of employed people (58%) say their job is the main source of their mental health challenges. While flexible work is often cited as an antidote to burnout, not everyone agrees on what ‘flexible work’ means. New research from Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM) shows that more employees would prioritize the ability to choose which hours of the day they work (41%) and what days of the week they work (25%) over the ability to work remotely from any location (14%). See full study results here.  

With the move to remote work during the pandemic, 69% of employees say the lines between work and life have become increasingly blurred. Even more than the ability to work at home in their pajamas or on a beach, what employees really want is flexibility around when they work. They’re ready to move past a strict 9-to-5 day and mold their schedules to fit their needs, like doing laundry between meetings, going to doctors’ appointments or taking care of kids.  

The vast majority (87%) of employed people want to be in control of their schedules and have their performance measured purely by results. One in three workers (36%) said flexibility to work whenever and wherever they want would have a positive impact on their mental health, beat out only by increased pay (58%) and working one day less a week (46%).  

“Flexibility has become a buzzword as employees have embraced new styles of working during the pandemic. But it’s important to look deeper at what flexibility really means,“ said head of employee experience advisory services at Qualtrics, Benjamin Granger, Ph.D. “As work and home life have become increasingly connected — and employees continue juggling childcare responsibilities and caretaking needs for themselves and sick family members — they’re asking for flexible schedules that fit better with the demands of their lives.”  

But changing policies is not enough, workplace culture has to support the success of a flexible workplace, according to Granger. Fifty-five percent say they think their career advancement or pay will suffer if they take advantage of flexible policies at work. There’s also a need for boundaries. Many remote employees say they start their days earlier (20%), take fewer sick days (18%) and are working more overall (17%). Fifty-seven percent say there is a downside to too much flexibility and they would prefer having some amount of structure to their workday.  

More key takeaways from the study:

  • 55% of employees say more flexibility over their hours and schedule would influence them to stay at a company longer
  • Only 11% say they already have a job where their performance is measured by results and their hours are not tracked
  • The top reasons people support being in control of their schedules are: 1) it would increase efficiency 2) it would help them focus 3) it would bring more attention to their contributions and achievements
  • 24% of employees are fully remote and 54% have worked remotely for at least a month during the pandemic
    • 24% of remote workers have worked from a couch, 22% from a bed, 19% from a different city and 10% from a car. More have worked everywhere from a bathtub to the Starbucks drive-through
  • 34% would be willing to take a 5% pay cut or more in order to work remotely long-term
    • 51% of tech workers would be willing to take a 5% pay cut or more, compared to 24% of government workers and 24% of travel, hospitality and food workers

Methodology:  

This study was fielded between Jan. 10 and Jan. 12, 2022. Respondents were selected from a randomized panel and considered eligible if they live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age and are employed full-time. The total number of respondents was 1,021. Respondents who did not pass quality standards were removed. See full results here: qualtrics.com/blog/flexible-working-statistics/  

About Qualtrics  

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business—customer, employee, product and brand. Over 16,750 organizations around the world use Qualtrics to listen, understand and take action on experience data (X-data™)—the beliefs, emotions and intentions that tell you why things are happening, and what to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action that helps businesses attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who build a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love and build a brand people are passionate about. To learn more, please visit qualtrics.com.