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Okta: 60% of European staff want to work asynchronously

They don’t want to return to the old 9 to 5.

Allie Nawrat

Credit: TITOVAILONA8 via Twenty20.

What are the benefits of asynchronous working for staff and their employer? Unleash Your Potential

  • Asynchronous working looks set to be the future of work.
  • Research by Okta found that Europeans are very keen to choose not only where, but also when they work in the future.
  • This trend is very clear cut for staff aged between 16 and 34, but less so for the over 55s.

Many European countries have started to ease their COVID-19 restrictions, particularly around the workplace. For example, over the weekend, both the Netherlands and Switzerland lifted their mandatory requirement to work from home.

While other countries across Europe, including the UK and Germany, are planning to do something similar in July.

Therefore, as the return to the office gathers pace, identity provider Okta decided to survey (with the help of Censuswide) more than 10,000 workers across eight European countries to see what their preferences are for the future of work.

It is clear that they most workers do not want to return to the old Monday to Friday 9 to 5 in the office. Instead, they want flexibility not only about where, but also when they work.

60% of those surveyed said they would want to work asynchronously post-pandemic.

This is despite 56% admitting they had never heard the term asynchronous working before.

Asynchronous working means that employees choose the hours they work and have no fixed schedule. It is an emerging trend, and one that is championed by big employees like Dropbox, Dell and Ford.

The pros of asynchronous working, according to Okta’s survey, is that it improves productivity (39%) and it means they can better balance work and their personal life (54%). Just imagine how freeing it would be to be able to focus on work without constant chat or email notifications.

However, it is important to note that younger generations of the workforce are more on board with asynchronous working that their older colleagues.

While 64% of 16-34 year olds surveyed would choose to work in an asynchronous working environment, 52% of those over 55 would not choose to work asynchronously if they were given the option.

Okta head of dynamic work Samanta Fisher noted: “Given a large proportion of younger generations are keen to make the switch to an asynchronous working environment, it’s not a case of if this will happen in the future, but when.”

The generational divide noted by Okta’s survey also extends to where employees want to work.

While 26% of those over 55 would choose to work in the office full time, this dropped to 16% for 16 to 34 year olds. Instead, 46% of this age group would like a hybrid working approach in the future, compared to 34% of the over 55s.

“As millennials begin to move into decision-making roles, they will shape the working environment surrounding them. And it’s clear they want flexibility and the option to choose where, when and how they work,” continues Fischer.

She adds: “The onus now falls on businesses to find a way to keep workers of all ages satisfied and equipped with the right tools, no matter where or when they might be working.”

Navigating everyone’s different preferences is no easy feat, but finding the right balance is important to success in the future of work.

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