Q2 2023: Flexible Working Index

13th Jul 2023

A third of workers seek jobs that offer mental health support. And summer sparks record demand for “Work From Anywhere” jobs.

Our most recent quarterly Flexible Working Index examined the priorities of job seekers in the past three months. The findings reveal a significant desire for positions that provide mental health support and an unprecedented number of workers expressing a preference for Work From Anywhere programs.

The analysis combines insights from over 350,000 job searches and preferences expressed by more than 8,000 job seekers regarding their desired location, schedule, and work style from April to June 2023.

A third of workers want mental health support

Throughout the last quarter, there has been a consistent and significant demand for workplace mental health support. Approximately 30% of workers expressed a preference for companies that offer mental health support between April and June 2023. This reflects a 20% increase in demand since July 2022, when only a quarter of job seekers prioritized companies providing mental health support to employees.

The demand for workplace mental health support is particularly pronounced among disabled workers. Since the beginning of this year, there has been a 7% rise in the number of disabled workers who prefer to work for companies offering mental health support. This figure has increased from 55% in July of the previous year to 59% in the last quarter. Therefore, disabled workers are nearly twice as likely as non-disabled workers to actively seek out companies that provide mental health support.

These findings align with the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which indicate a record-high number of individuals out of work due to long-term sickness. Additionally, separate research indicates that mental health issues are the primary cause behind this trend.

Molly Johnson-Jones, CEO and co-founder of Flexa, comments:

“Each year, 1 in 4 people will experience mental health issues. The silver lining in the data we’ve collected at Flexa is that workers evidently feel increasingly able to assert their need for support. Job seekers know that, even if they’re not struggling now, they might need mental healthcare in the future - and will be best protected if they are working for employers who genuinely prioritise employees’ wellbeing. Employers who make robust mental health support accessible to all staff year-round - employers like Silverrail, hedgehog lab and Learnerbly - have something worth shouting about. They have exactly what employees are looking for right now. 

“Workplace mental health support should be a priority for all companies looking to nurture inclusive cultures. Our data also highlights the importance of mental health support when it comes to creating accessible workplaces for disabled candidates. The numbers speak for themselves, and we can’t afford to ignore them. Almost 6 in 10 disabled workers want roles that offer mental health support.”  

Seasonal working trends are stronger than ever as summer starts

The trend of workers seeking alternative work locations, which began during the warmer spring months, has continued into the summer. One particular trend that has gained immense popularity is the Work From Anywhere (WFA) scheme, where employees have the flexibility to work outside their usual jurisdiction.

Between April and June 2023, there was a remarkable 10% increase in the number of job seekers who expressed a preference for companies offering WFA schemes. In fact, a staggering 88% of all workers preferred WFA jobs during this period, marking the highest percentage recorded by the Index since its launch in July 2022. The demand for WFA roles saw a remarkable 120% surge, with one-third of all job seekers actively searching for such opportunities.

Furthermore, there was a continuous month-on-month growth in the demand for fully remote roles, where workers are not required to come into the office. By June 2023, an impressive 59% of all workers expressed a preference for fully remote positions, indicating a 13% increase from April of the same year.

This seasonality of demand for flexible working locations extends to working hours as well. Over the past three months, there was a 9% rise in the number of job seekers who preferred summer hours—in June 2023, almost a quarter (24%) of all workers indicated a preference for summer hours, compared to 22% in April. This shift in preference aligns with workers aiming to take advantage of longer and warmer evenings during the summer season.

Molly Johnson-Jones, CEO and co-founder of Flexa, comments:

"We saw fully remote roles fall out of favour with job seekers last autumn, with demand dropping to an all-time low in December. The reversal of this trend, which began in spring and has continued into the summer, highlights the seasonality behind demand for different working locations. 

“Companies that offer fully remote work - like Form3 - and Work From Anywhere Schemes - like Fika and Huel - are the focus of candidates’ attention right now. It’s not hard to imagine why. This kind of flexibility allows employees to travel for extended periods without having to use up annual leave or take a cut in pay - a particularly appealing prospect during the warmer months.”