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How do job seekers and recruiters see smartworking?

 

How do job seekers and recruiters see smartworking?

As one aspect of the future of work, the 2015 Adecco Work Trends Study also looks at the concept of smartworking. Both job seekers and recruiters have been questioned on their knowledge and opinions of smartworking.

Have you ever heard of smartworking?
Smartworking is a concept that not many respondents are aware of: 69% of job seekers and 45% of recruiters say they have never heard of it. Differences are not significant between the different age groups, but as far as geographical areas are concerned, the countries with a greater percentage of people who are not familiar with the idea of smartworking are 
  • Europe (76% of job seekers and 52% of recruiters) and 
  • Eastern European Countries (64% of job seekers and 54% of recruiters).
The highest level of awareness is found in Asian countries, where the number of interviewed people who state they are not declare to not be familiar with smartworking falls to 32% among recruiters and 40% among job seekers.

In general, among those who know about smartworking, most of them define it as
  • flexibility of working time (37% recruiters, 20% job seekers) and 
  • flexibility of workplace (33% recruiters, 18% job seekers), 
  • flexibility in work methods/ focus on deliverables (28% recruiters; 16% job seekers) and 
  • work tools/ bring your own device policy (14% recruiters; 12% job seekers).  

Flexibility of workplace: co-working
Co-working spaces offer a shared working environment, mostly an office, in which people can rent deskspace and work independently. People working in a co-working space are usually not employed by the same organizations. Especially for start-up companies co-working spaces offer a creative environment in which to focus on the task at hand and still enjoy the environment of a ‘usual’ office.

The percentage of people interviewed who had never heard of co-working spaces is lower but still significant (49% of job seekers and 38% of recruiters), to which is added the number of those who have heard of it but do not know what it involves (34% of job seekers and 33% of recruiters). Among job seekers, 9% have visited a co-working space and 7% have worked in one, while 15% of recruiters have visited co-working offices, 4% have worked inside one of these spaces and 5% have opened a co-working office.

It is interesting to see that the experience with co-working has no relation to age and gender.  From a geographical standpoint, however, the results are aligned with those for smartworking: Europe presents a higher percentage of participants in the study who do not know the meaning of the word coworking (56% job seekers, 41% recruiters), compared to Eastern Countries (42% job seekers, 38% recruiters), Asia (38% job seekers, 39% recruiters) and the Americas (37% job seekers, 39% recruiters).  

What are the advantages of smartworking?
Recruiters felt that the advantages of smartworking outnumber the disadvantages for workers (87% advantages vs 13% disadvantages) and employers (69% advantages vs 31% disadvantages), while they see greater advantages for workers. Seventy-four percent of recruiters also felt that smartworking solutions could have positive effects on the matching of candidates to open positions in the job market. 

Among job seekers who declared their interest in flexible solutions, the greatest advantage perceived by more than half of participants is the possibility to organize work time independently, a factor that recruiters do not consider to be significant. On the other hand, both job seekers and recruiters agree on the other main advantages: improving work-life balance and reducing time and costs of commuting. Relational aspects such as growing relationships with colleagues in the office, reducing conflicts with colleagues and supervisors and sharing knowledge with non-colleagues are considered less important.  

What is the best work location?
Despite low levels of awareness and practice of smartworking, interviewed participants showed strong interest in these solutions: 
  • over half, 55% of job seekers would like to work from home, 
  • 43% would prefer an office nearer to their homes, 
  • 33% a co-working space and 
  • 30% while on the move. 
The study revealed a preference among women for working from home (58% vs 53% men) and among men for working in while on the move (36% vs 26% women). 

If we analyze the answers to this question on the basis of geographic areas, job seekers from the Americas are the most willing to work from outside the office (93%), followed by Asian countries (92%) and Eastern Countries (89%), while Europe is at the bottom of the list with a significant difference (77%).

Working from home or on the move was preferred mainly in Asian and Eastern Countries. Co-working and corporate offices closer to home were most popular in the Americas.

Recruiters attribute greater significance to co-working spaces compared to the branch/office that is closest to the worker’s home - and, generally, are more cautious than job seekers in appreciating these solutions: Among workplaces thought most suitable for prospective candidates, the most popular options were 
  • mainly the home (23% recruiters vs 55% job seekers), followed by 
  • co-working offices (22% recruiters vs 33% job seekers), 
  • company offices near employees' homes (21% recruiters vs 43% job seekers) and 
  • working on the move (18% recruiters vs 31% job seekers). 
In the survey recruiters were asked on their opinion and experience of smartworking activities for prospective candidates and not of their own work environment.

What are the demographics?
The tendency to work outside the office is higher up to the age of 39 (with a peak between 30 - 34), and then decreases progressively as age increases.  Among the options offered, co-working and working while on the move are chosen by the younger workers as an alternative to working from home. Those who have already had experience with smartworking say they are more interested in experimenting with these forms of work flexibility (92% vs 80%), in particular, in more innovative spaces. There is a 14% increase in the willingness to work from a co-working office, an 11% increase in the availability to work while on the move, a 7% increase in the desire to work from home and 2% in the willingness to have company offices nearer to their homes. 

What are the advantages of smartworking?
Recruiters felt that the advantages of smartworking outnumber the disadvantages 
  • for workers (87% advantages vs 13% disadvantages) and 
  • employers (69% advantages vs 31% disadvantages), 
while they see greater advantages for workers. Seventy-four percent of recruiters also felt that smartworking solutions could have positive effects on the matching of candidates to open positions in the job market. 

Among job seekers who declared their interest in flexible solutions, the greatest advantage perceived by more than half of participants is the possibility to organise work time independently, a factor that recruiters do not consider to be significant. On the other hand, both job seekers and recruiters agree on the other main advantages: 
  • improving work-life balance and 
  • reducing time and costs of commuting. 
Relational aspects such as growing relationships with colleagues in the office, reducing conflicts with colleagues and supervisors and sharing knowledge with non-colleagues are considered less important.  

It is interesting to see that people choose to work from home mainly for organisational reasons (reduce commute time and costs, work-life balance, independent organisation of work time), while they choose co-working spaces and mobile work mainly for professional reasons (higher accountability since results are more important than time spent in the office, sharing knowledge with non-colleagues, more creative and innovative approaches, increases in productivity).

Only 17% of job seekers refuse these options of flexibility: the main reasons they use to justify this resistance is the loss of an opportunity to interact with colleagues, difficulty in managing work-life balance and the risk of more distractions.


What are the disadvantages of smartworking?
Recruiters see different disadvantages for smartworking solutions than job seekers. The ones most mentioned by recruiters were strongly related to social aspects of the work environment: 
  • perception of isolation, 
  • reduction of interaction with colleagues and 
  • difficulty in sharing the corporate culture. 
In particular, recruiters seem to under-estimate the difficulties in reconciling professional and personal life through smartworking solutions, maybe because they consider smartworking solutions to be better integrated in a corporate office than in the home environment.






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2015 - Work Trends Study

Click here for more information on how job seekers and recruiters used social media in 2015 and what they think of smartworking measures.


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