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Why is flexibility important in business?

Startling new figures brought to light in our new international report "The State of the Deskless Workforce" show that half of the workforce admitted to going into work sick because their schedules lacked flexibility.

Flexible working is more important than ever. The way we work has undergone a huge transformation thanks to the huge disruption to the status quo we’ve seen..

While white-collar workers around the world have been able to work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak and enjoy the benefits of flexible working, the same isn’t true for the deskless workforce. It’s a growing problem forcing businesses to be flexible and react immediately to the circumstances.

Startling new figures brought to light in our new international report The State of the Deskless Workforce show that half of the workforce admitted to going into work sick because their schedules lacked flexibility. Deskless workers also stated to be scared of being fired if they switched shifts with a coworker. 

With strides being taken across the globe to reach a new normal - flexible schedules for the deskless workforce are crucial. But why are they so important, what’s the current state of scheduling, and how can you make your schedules more flexible?

The current state of flexible scheduling across markets

Rarely do shift workers have control of their schedules. This can have a huge impact on their lives, making It hard for them to plan outside of work. For part-time workers, the deskless workforce, or people working in the gig economy, this also increases the challenge of working multiple jobs and calculating their income, as their hours can fluctuate wildly.

The survey results showed workers are currently unable to achieve a work-life balance, with two in three giving up sleep, hobbies, and normal eating routines due to inflexible schedules. Workers in Norway, Denmark, and Finland were even more likely to forgo personal time than those in the U.S. or UK. 

On top of that, workers are regularly forced to choose between their personal lives and their jobs, with around two-thirds missing social events or holidays. 49% of the workers in the U.S. said they’re missing major milestones such as funerals or weddings due to inflexible schedules. 

Figures also showed that at least 1 in 3 in surveyed regions have left a job because their employer did not provide schedules with enough advance notice, making it difficult for them to balance their work and personal life. The exception is Germany, where only 23% have quit because of scheduling. 

It might therefore not be surprising that a quarter of workers across markets we surveyed said they would rather have greater flexibility than a pay raise. 

How to make schedules more flexible

Not only do flexible schedules give you as an employer the ability to respond to unpredictable demand, but they also make your employees happier, lead to a more efficient business, and, ultimately, ensure your customers receive a better service.

As a result of Covid-19, demand forecasting has however become especially difficult, with schedules created one or two weeks in advance becoming incredibly tough to get right.   

That’s why tools that support flexible working are becoming invaluable. With them, you can use real-time data to adjust schedules immediately and ensure you have the right people in the right place at the right time. It means your employees are far less likely to miss social events or celebrations that are important to them.

It also gives your employees the power to easily switch shifts, while giving your managers a simple toolkit to make more shifts available and to fill open shifts. Add AI and machine learning to that and the process of handling schedules becomes easier than ever.


Inflexible schedules cause deskless workers to forgo their physical and mental wellbeing - impacting their work performance and their health alongside damaging your business, crushing your productivity, and reducing your efficiency.

Download our report on The State of the Deskless Workforce for more insight and analysis.

Download report

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