Flexibility is a top priority for IDA-members

A good working life equals flexible hours and the opportunity to work from home, according to a majority of IDA members.

The ability to structure one’s own work and working hours, as well as an increased opportunity of working from home: These are high on our members’ wish list for their future working lives.

With the corona lockdown, working from home has become the norm for many engineers, science graduates, and IT professionals. When they are asked what contributes to a positive work-life balance, younger knowledge workers point to being able to structure their own working day and decide when to solve which tasks, as well as more flexibility when it comes to working from home. These aspects, a majority respond, can be decisive in their choice of workplace.

In a new IDA-survey among 1,100 engineers, science graduates, and IT professionals with between three and ten years of work experience, almost 9 out of 10 respond that having flexible hours is either a “very important” or “important” factor when asked what it takes to ensure a positive working life in the future.

Almost 8 out of 10 respond that the possibility of working from home and having flexible weekly and monthly working hours are either “very important” or “important” tools in ensuring the quality of their working life.

“The key word is flexibility. It is part and parcel of the work-life balance for many knowledge workers. The concept of working from home, which many of us have become familiar with because of the covid-19 lockdowns, has actually proven to have a positive impact on our well-being and efficiency. Many benefit notably from increased flexibility in the rhythm of work, fewer disturbances, and from saving time by avoiding peak-hour transport. That is why the working life of the future should leave room for working from home for those who can make it work, “ says Morten Thiessen, Chairman of IDA’s Council of Employees.

He thinks that the findings of the survey underline the need for taking individual needs more into account when employers and employees at workplaces around the country formulate policies and agreements.

“It is clear that when so many of our members want more freedom to structure their working life through a greater access to distance work and the chance to plan their own work rhythm, then that is high on our agenda. But we need to take into account the risk that more distance work, and thereby more self-management, leads to stress, isolation and decreased quality of working environment. That happens if the management is not suited to the changed circumstances, the rules and regulations are unclear, and physical surroundings, including basic necessities such as a proper screen and other tools, are not in order.

These are the reasons IDA pushes for bearing in mind the negative effects of working from home when formulating agreements about distant work, and that the training of managers in distant management is not just viewed as a focus area, but an urgent one. One size fits none,” Morten Thiessen says.