A new survey finds that an employer’s ability to provide their young workers with their requested flexible working balance is a key factor in talent retention. Seven in 10 millennials reported that if their employer did this, they were more likely to stay at the company.

A new report by ISG, a global construction services company, found that young workers were significantly more motivated to continue to work at a company if their employer granted their requested flexible working balance.

Seven in 10 millennials (70 per cent) and almost three-fifths of Gen Z (59 per cent) workers stated that this would make them more likely to stay. Over a third of respondents generally (35 per cent) expressed that they would be likely to leave their company if they were not given their requested flexible working balance.

In addition, the research further found that working from home was the most difficult for young workers. Almost a third (32 per cent) cited lower productivity whilst three in five (62 per cent) responded that they had poor working conditions.

Despite this, only 21 per cent of the employees surveyed stated that being in a workplace five days a week would be optimal for their productivity. When considering if a return to work would improve their wellbeing, this figure dropped to under a fifth (18 per cent) stating that it would. This is significantly different to results taken before the pandemic in which almost half of employees (45 per cent) classed remote working as important on their list of priorities.

Conversely, almost eight in 10 employees (78 per cent) would also be against working from home five days a week. Two-thirds of respondents stated that this was because they would not have the same contact or sense of team and friendship with colleagues. Over a third (35 per cent) saw the workplace as a key place for training and learning to occur.

However, many employees also examined the benefits of working from home during this period. Two-thirds stated that working from home meant that they had a better work-life balance and more time for themselves and their family. Another key benefit that was recorded was saving money due to working from home.

Lee Phillips, managing director for UK fit-out at ISG, said:

Covid-19 has impacted every single person in the UK and our survey is a unique insight into changing workplace sentiment over a nine-month period of unparalleled societal change. Capturing insights at a moment in time last year of optimism and aspiration, and then resurveying individuals following six months of a global emergency and transformational working patterns is hugely revealing for employers, employees, the built environment, society and future workplace trends.  

These shifts in workplace sentiment will be a crucial consideration for organisations when looking to retain and attract talent, improve productivity levels and nurture the mental wellbeing of staff. Our data shows employees want flexibility to work in the environments that best suit their needs. Over a third of respondents indicated they would be likely to leave their current employer if not given this flex, so employers are on notice that a failure to adapt to the new normal of employee expectations could prove costly to both retaining and attracting the best talent. 

 We know that 2020 will prove the catalyst for dynamic change within the workplace. Marrying everyone’s unique experiences of working during the pandemic, with the data driven insights from this survey, provides a powerful lens to drive transformational change across our future workplaces.


 *This data has been taken from ISG’s ‘The Power of Place: The Impact of Human Behaviour’ which reflects combined findings from two different surveys. An initial survey was conducted by Sapio Research in December 2019 among 5,779 office workers in companies of 250+ employees, including 1,460 with decision-making authority over HR, recruitment and retention, which included 2,006 UK employees. The second survey was conducted Sapio Research in September 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic among 4005 office workers in companies of 250+ employees, which included 2,002 UK employees. The data used in this article has been taken from the UK findings exclusively.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.