Digital Workers Say Flexibility Is Key to Their Productivity

Digital workplace leaders must establish new guidelines for how employees can effectively work in a hybrid workplace.

The pandemic has provided many employees with greater flexibility over where, when and how they work — and a Gartner survey of more than 10,000 digital workers from the U.S., Europe and APAC shows that workers in that segment are likely to feel that flexibility is key to their productivity. Now it’s up to digital workplace leaders to establish new guidelines to enable employees to work effectively in a hybrid workplace.

Related webinar: Panel Discussion: Reshape the Future of Work Now to Fit Your Organization

In 2021, digital workers whose jobs rely on or are highly dependent on digital technologies are more frequently employing a variety of software programs and devices when working remotely.

Many employees proved during the pandemic that working in employer-controlled workspaces isn’t important to their productivity or engagement. Many see little reason to revert to old ways of working.

Flexible work hours is key driver of productivity

According to the Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of respondents said that flexibility in working hours helped them achieve greater productivity, and 30% of respondents said that less or no time commuting enabled them to be more productive.

Reasons respondents report their productivity has increased while working remotely.

However, 26% of respondents said their productivity fell. They reported that connectivity issues and technology changes were among the top reasons for decreased productivity.

Workers seek flexible work locations and hours

As 2020 provided workers with increased flexibility in time and in the choice of work locations, they are looking to enforce and extend those benefits in 2021 and beyond.

Fifty-nine percent of workers surveyed indicated they agreed more with a statement “I would only consider a new position or job that allows me to work from a location of my choice” than with a statement saying that location would not matter. Similarly, 64% were more likely to consider a role that allows for flexible hours than one that did not.

By 2021, remote workers will represent 32% of all employees worldwide, totaling 628 million employees.

With remote work moving from a privilege to a necessity, employers look to reach the right balance with their employees by emphasizing flexibility of workplace, work time and work technology that workers may employ. Such leaders should make it possible for workers to get access to high-quality network service, and effective computing resources on their hardware and in the cloud.

Recommended Gartner client* reading:

Top 7 Insights From the 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey by Whit Andrews.

*Note: Some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.

Get Smarter

Follow #Gartner

Attend a Gartner event

Explore Gartner Conferences

Improve Remote Work Effectiveness

Gartner’s survey of more than 7,000 digital workers identified 10...

Learn More


Get actionable advice in 60 minutes from the world's most respected experts. Keep pace with the latest issues that impact business.

Start Watching