The United States economy is on the verge of a major shift in employee expectations. Companies focused on the future of work are weighing in on a new survey that shares what employees really want – and it’s not just a paycheck. Savvy leaders know that increased job satisfaction is the easiest way to fight turnover, disengagement and frustration. And now, new information is emerging around the number one way that companies – and company executives – can drive greater productivity, satisfaction and engagement. New research from Quinyx points to emerging trends for all employers – especially those who rely on the desk-less workforce.

For some companies, like Walmart, robots are providing retail alternatives – but primarily around stocking, inventory and other mundane tasks. As of this writing, there’s still no substitute for human interaction, particularly when it comes to customer-facing positions.

Globally, the top eight industries employ nearly 3 billion desk-less workers. Looking at the retail market segment, one of the larger contributors to the U.S. economy, there are trends that are challenging business success and further driving the need for engaged and productive front-line, desk-less employees.

That’s according to Quinyx founder and CEO, Erik Fjellborg – an internationally recognized expert in workforce management automation.

Nearly 60% of today’s workforce believes that having flexibility is a right, not a benefit. That number jumps north of 70% for Gen-Z and Millennials. A more flexible work schedule makes people more productive, according to 85% of workers surveyed. And 92% of employees appreciate having flexibility within their schedule.

The Future of Work Looks Flexible

When survey respondents were asked, “what do you look for when considering a new job?” 51% said health benefits. Compare that to flexible scheduling, which came in a close second at 50%. Gen-Z topped the survey when it comes to the perk of flexibility: 72% of respondents said flexibility was the leading criteria for choosing a job, versus a paltry 39% of Gen-Z respondents who favored health benefits.

For companies looking to keep employees engaged and productive, flexibility seems to cure both illnesses at the same time – at least, from the employee’s perspective. While disengaged employees can lead to frustrated customers, low morale and turnover, having a flexible workforce creates challenges on multiple levels for employers.

Leadership Challenges

How can work be tracked and schedules managed – especially if everyone wants Friday afternoon off? Does it make sense to provide tools to employees, so that they can have input and influence over all or part of their schedules? What if all this flex time bends the company in ways that actually inhibit production: because, if you don’t have enough employees on the floor of your hotel, restaurant or hospital, employee satisfaction isn’t your biggest problem. Customer satisfaction is.

Forward-thinking organizations understand that employees want greater say in their flexibility, and how work gets done. The implications for the traditional work culture are many. Like most of Vanilla Ice’s music, littering and smoking on airplanes, the 9 to 5 grind is becoming an undesirable thing of the past. To reduce frustration, disengagement and turnover, consider how your company might incorporate greater flexibility into the equation. What employees want – and many of them expect – is the ability to create work life balance. How your culture adjusts to these expectations will define the future of work.


This article was written by Chris Westfall from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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