FlexJobs and Mental Health America Finds People with Flexible Work Options Report Better Mental Health

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Survey shows 66% would prefer to work remotely full-time after the pandemic is over; 33% prefer combination of in-office and home office

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“Allowing employees to work flexibly can significantly reduce the conflict we experience between our personal and professional lives, and better equip everyone, regardless of career level, to take better care of their mental, emotional, and physical needs,” Sara Sutton, CEO & Founder of FlexJobs.

According to a survey of more than 800 respondents currently employed, having flexible work options such as remote work options, a freelance contract, or a part-time/flexible/alternative schedule, contributes positively to workers’ overall mental health and wellness. Of those that currently have flexible work options, 48 percent say their current work-life balance is excellent or very good. Fewer, 36 percent, of those without flexible work options say the same. Seventeen percent of those with flexible work options say their mental health is poor or very poor but 27 percent of those without flexible work options say their mental health is poor or very poor. This survey was conducted by FlexJobs, fielded in partnership with Mental Health America in late July 2020.

“Allowing employees to work flexibly can significantly reduce the conflict that we all experience between our personal and professional lives, and better equip everyone, regardless of their career level, to take better care of their mental, emotional, and physical needs,” Sara Sutton, CEO & Founder of FlexJobs. “Given the enormous amount of stress and uncertainty that we are all facing as a result of the coronavirus, offering employees more control over their workday can have a major impact on overall mental health and wellness right now,” Sutton concluded.

When asked how their workplace could better support them, the top reason listed was having flexibility in their workday (56%).

Healthy Company Cultures & Flexible Work:

  • 54% of people with flexible work options say they have the emotional support they need at work to manage their stress but 45% without flexible work options say the same thing.
  • 57% with flexible work options say they have the ability to change stressful things about their work (e.g., workload, time off, changing tasks, or responsibilities). However, only 37% without flexible work options say the same.
  • 66% of those without flexible work options say that their workplace does not encourage open conversations about burnout and mental health but only about half (52%) of those with flexible work options say the same thing.
  • 25% who have experienced burnout at work and also have flexible work options say they were able to have really productive conversations about their struggles with HR. Just 15% without flexible work options say the same thing.
  • 60% without flexible work options feel distracted or find it difficult to concentrate because of their work environment but 47% with flexible work options feel distracted because of their work environment.

Tools for Better Mental Health

  • Across the board, people with flexible work options leverage strategies to take care of their mental health at a higher rate than people without flexible work options pursue.
  • For example, 38% with flexible work options stick to a healthy sleep schedule compared to 31% of those without flexible work options. 44% with flexible work options strive for a balanced diet compared to 40% of those without flexible work options. 20% with flexible work options do yoga compared to 15% of those without flexible work options. 28% with flexible work options use meditation and 25% without flexible work options meditate.
  • People with flexible work options are also more interested in virtual services from their workplace.
  • For example, 35% of people with flexible work options would do desktop yoga but only 29% without flexible work options would be interested in it. 40% with flexible work options would attend virtual workout classes but just 31% without flexible work options would attend.

Flexible Work and Improved Quality of Life:

  • 80% think having a job with (more) work flexibility would help them take better care of their mental health.
  • 83% think that having a job with (more) work flexibility would decrease their level of stress.
  • 67% think that having a job with (more) work flexibility would increase the time they spend exercising.
  • 92% think having a flexible job makes them (or could make them) a happier person in general.

Remote work

  • If given the choice, 66% would prefer to work remotely full-time after the pandemic is over with 33% preferring a combination of in office and remote work. Less than 2% were interested in full-time on site work.
  • 62% say they view remote work more favorably since the pandemic.

“It is important for employers to consider flexible work options as an essential part of helping employees thrive under the current circumstances and beyond,” stated Paul Gionfriddo, MHA’s President and CEO. “Even before the pandemic, some of the healthiest industries as it relates to employee mental health and well-being offered flexible work options.”

To highlight the types of companies that hire for flexible schedule jobs, FlexJobs has compiled the top 30 companies hiring for flexible schedule jobs this summer.

*Methodology
Demographic breakdown of the 800+ respondents: Ages: 20-39 (36%), 40-59 (51%), 60+ (13%); Household income: Less than less than $50,000 (40%), $50,000 to less than $75,000 (18%); $75,000 to less than $100,000 (15%), $100,000 to less than $150,000 (17%), $150,000+ (10%).

For the full report of the survey, please visit https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/flexjobs-mha-survey-flexible-work-improves-mental-health/ or contact Kathy Gardner at kgardner@flexjobs.com for more information.

About FlexJobs

FlexJobs is a premium online job service for professionals seeking flexible work, specializing in full-time and part-time remote jobs, employee and freelance jobs, and on-site jobs with flexible, part-time, and alternative schedules. Since its start in 2007, FlexJobs has helped more than 4 million people in their job searches and has created the largest vetted database of legitimate flexible job opportunities in over 50 career categories. In addition, FlexJobs provides robust career support, including curated expert resources and career coaching services, to partner with job seekers in all phases of their journey. A trusted source in the media, FlexJobs has been cited in top national outlets such as CNN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC, Forbes, and many others. FlexJobs' Founder & CEO Sara Sutton has also launched two additional partner sites, Remote.co and 1 Million for Work Flexibility, to help provide education and awareness about the viability and benefits of flexible work. Sutton is the creator of The TRaD* Works Forum (*Telecommuting, Remote, & Distributed), dedicated to helping companies leverage the benefits of telecommuting, remote and distributed teams.

About Mental Health America

Founded in 1909 by Clifford W. Beers, Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. During his stays in public and private institutions, Beers witnessed and was subjected to horrible abuse. From these experiences, Beers set into motion a reform movement that took shape and is known today as Mental Health America.

MHA’s programs and initiatives fulfill its mission of promoting mental health and preventing mental illness through advocacy, education, research, and services. MHA’s national office and its 200+ affiliates and associates around the country work every day to protect the rights and dignity of individuals with lived experience and ensure that peers and their voices are integrated into all areas of the organization.

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Kathy Gardner
FlexJobs
(203) 253-9531
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