In the age of the “gig economy” a flexible work schedule has risen to the top of most workers’ priority checklists—especially when it comes to hourly, seasonal work, according to a recent survey from software company Legion Technologies, released this week.
Legion surveyed 1,500 hourly employees and 500 managers for its 2022 Seasonal Hourly Workforce Report. They found that seasonal workers value gig-like flexibility above all else, and that not offering flexible employment could be detrimental to businesses this holiday season.
Nearly 60% of hourly employees surveyed said they are not confident their employer will have enough workers to manage the holiday rush.
“The widespread need to fill positions has created a shift in power between hourly employees and their employers. With so many open positions, seasonal workers can be more selective in choosing their employment opportunities,” according to a press release announcing the survey results.
The retail industry is expected to hire roughly 500,000 temporary workers during peak holiday season, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF). Warehousing and logistics also drive seasonal hiring. Earlier this fall, GXO Logistics said it will hire 11,000 seasonal team members worldwide to handle the holiday peak, and DHL Supply Chain said it will hire 12,000 seasonal workers in North America alone, primarily to address retail and e-commerce demands. The U.S. Postal Service said it will hire 28,000 seasonal employees to meet this year’s winter season rush.
Flexible scheduling may be key to filling many of those jobs.
“Hourly employees are seeking positions that allow them to manage their own schedules, prioritize family events and avoid burnout,” the researchers wrote, noting that retailers and others “must evolve to attract and retain employees while simultaneously improving the lives of their managers.”
More than 60% of the hourly employees Legion Technologies surveyed said that having a schedule that meets their preferences is the most important aspect of a seasonal employment opportunity. What’s more, nearly half said they would take a different job if the schedule better matched their preferences.
The demand for flexible scheduling is also affecting managers, who struggle to deal with understaffing, missed shifts, and burnout, among other issues. Seventy percent of managers surveyed said that matching employee preferences with business needs is the most difficult part of creating work schedules. What’s more, nearly 60% said that creating fair schedules is one of the most difficult aspects of their job, and nearly 70% said that staff shortages are the reason they are more stressed this holiday season compared to last year.
Managers surveyed said technology tools may help address those challenges, including automated scheduling (60%), compliant time tracking (36%), and automated demand forecasting (34%). Almost half of managers—45%—said their company should offer flexible schedules to attract more people.
California-based Legion Technologies provides technology tools via its workforce management platform.