According to a new ADP Research Institute survey of more than 19,000 workers worldwide, the global economy has a real engagement problem: Only around 16 percent of workers around the world are fully engaged. Interestingly, the ADP survey found that being part of a team makes a big difference: For example, 29 percent of workers on a team in the UAE are fully engaged, compared to 7 percent of solo workers, and 11 percent of workers on a team in the Netherlands are fully engaged, compared to 2 percent of solo workers. But even more interestingly, physical proximity to one’s teammates does not drive engagement. In fact, as the Harvard Business Review notes, the converse is true: Workers who work away from the office 4 or 5 days of the workweek are nearly twice as engaged as those who work solely from their company office.

"Regular communication with colleagues is important, of course," writes HBR's Matt Perry. "But as anyone who has worked in an open office can attest, the ability to minimize distractions is crucial to engagement. The critical factor is whether virtual workers feel that they're part of a team. If they do, they're twice as engaged as their office-bound colleagues."

This engagement boost associated with location flexibility is just one of the many reasons flex can be a game-changer for organizations. Remote gives workers location independence, but many employers want their employees in the office part of the time, and many employees want that in-office face time, too. This desire for location variety instead of location independence may explain why DeskPlus ranked as the most in-demand type of flexibility in our research. And Gallups 2017's State of the American Workplace report found that DeskPlus workers might actually be the most engaged: The report revealed that workers who "spend 60% to 80% of their workweek—or three to four days—working off-site" experience the "optimal engagement boost."

And when employees are engaged, their productivity soars. A 2012 Madison report touted that highly engaged employees are 38 percent more likely to show above-average productivity—and that upping employee engagement satisfaction investments by 10 percent can boost annual profits by $2,400 per employee. Additionally, economists at the University of Warwick recently discovered that happy employees are 12 percent more productive. Our own research added more good news: Employees with flexibility are 16 percent more likely to feel their ideas are valued in the workplace and 20 percent more likely to feel their employee cares about them and treats them well.

To explore flexibility further—including and the people analytics data that makes flex policies successful—learn more about the Werk platform.