Tag: flexible hours

Two-thirds of workers think work-life balance is more valuable than pay

Despite increasing inflation and the UK’s cost-of-living crisis, a new survey suggests that employees value work-life balance more than pay.

The survey by HR and payroll software provider CIPHR polled over 1,000 UK workers about the most important job aspects. The results revealed that 70% of women and 65% of men consider work-life balance more important than pay and employee benefits combined.

According to the research, the top 20 most important aspects of a job, ranked by popularity, are:

  • Work-life balance (67%)
  • Pay and benefits – total rewards package (59%)
  • Job security (57%)
  • Job satisfaction (53%)
  • Healthy work environment (42%)
  • Recognition: feeling valued and appreciated (37%)
  • Feeling safe at work (36%)
  • Feeling included / belonging at work (33%)
  • Right to disconnect from work outside of usual working hours (26%)
  • Promotion opportunities / career progression (25%)
  • Job autonomy – trusted to do a job without being micromanaged (24%)
  • Clear goals and targets (23%)
  • Correct tools for the job (20%)
  • Job purpose and variety (20%)
  • Learning and development initiatives (18%)
  • Social connection (18%)
  • Team-oriented culture (17%)
  • Transparent leadership (15%)
  • Fewer meetings (9%)
  • Regular coaching and feedback (9%)

Interestingly, flexibility in where employees were allowed to work affected the results, with work-life balance being the most-valued job aspect for 79% of remote workers compared to 66% of workers who are either partly remote or who never work from home.

Similarly, the right to disconnect from work – and not feel obliged to do any unpaid work-related tasks outside of contracted hours was also a priority for employees who work remotely, compared to those who don’t (36% vs. 25%).

The results indicated that office- or workplace-based staff see greater value in their physical workspace and working among others. Top priorities among these employees include:

  • Healthy work environment (47%)
  • Feeling safe at work (40%)
  • Feeling included and belonging at work (38%)

Employees with hybrid working arrangements generally seem to place equal importance on how pay and benefits (56%), job security (55%), and job satisfaction (55%) interrelate.

Two-fifths of these workers agree that recognition and feeling valued and appreciated by their employers rank more highly than a healthy work environment (41% vs. 39%).

Further data analysis indicates that survey respondents in leadership and senior management team (SMT) roles are likelier to work remotely than those in non-SMT positions (70% vs. 50%). These workers also have different job priorities than the rest of the workforce, with pay and benefits being the fourth most important aspect of a job, at 46%. Work-life balance (60%), job satisfaction (52%), and job security (51%) were at the top of the list.

Regarding age and career longevity, 72% of 24-to-44-year-olds favoured work-life balance over 51% of 18-to-24-year-olds. People kicking off or ending their careers were more likely to place job satisfaction ahead of job security, with 45% of 18-to-24-year-olds and 65% of over 55s preferring to have a job that they enjoy, even if it’s not completely secure.

For respondents aged 45 to 54, 56% said job security was more important than pay and rewards packages (52%).

Across industries, the results vary. People in the finance and insurance sectors are more likely to prize pay and benefits over work-life balance (60% compared to 58%, respectively). In the IT and software industry, job security beats pay and benefits and work-life balance (58% compared to 54% and 54%). Manufacturing workers rate work-life balance and pay and benefits equally (63%).

Claire Williams, Chief People Officer at CIPHR, commented: “CIPHR’s latest findings highlight that salary often isn’t the key driver that many people think it is. People rarely have just one single aspect of a job that matters most to them: there are always a variety of factors that govern whether an individual will join, stay, or leave an organisation, and these will vary depending on where they are with their career at the time.

“Everyone has their own idea of what work-life balance looks like to them. For some, it means looking for more flexibility at work – such as flexible hours, a four-day week, or remote working – while for others it’s an aspiration that helps shape their career choices, the type of roles they want, and the employers they want to work for. It’s certainly not a new concept, but there’s no doubt that the pandemic has spurred many people to re-evaluate their work-life priorities and change how they want to spend their time at work.

“While employers are still navigating what this means in the long term, they do need to recognise that if they are not meeting their staff’s current needs and priorities – particularly around any core job aspects that they want and value – it’s likely that another organisation will.

“Take the time to actively listen to your workforce – perhaps by running a survey similar to this one – to find out what’s important to them, and map these results against employee demographics, life stages, locations and department. An integrated HR tech stack, with a sophisticated HR system, such as CIPHR HR, at its centre, will help you gain this holistic view of your people data.

“It won’t always be possible to tick every box but if you can act on the feedback where possible, it will help improve employee experience and engagement at all levels. Do nothing, and you’re likely to lose staff in the long run.”

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Work flexibility widens the talent pool

According to president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia, hybrid work arrangements are here to stay; but adds that organisations shouldn’t forget that we had offices for a reason.

Thomas Barkin made the comments in a speech this week with the key takeaway being that companies need to reinvent the office for hybrid working and that while it will look different organizations must focus on making the most of the time workers still while working in person in order to maintain connectivity.

While remote work has positive aspects ­– employees value flexibility, it pulls more people into the workforce and it improves hiring pools – there are certain trade-offs.

“Offices evolved into the dominant model for good reasons, and companies are rightfully hesitant to lose those benefits,” Barkin said.

Efficiency and productivity rank among those benefits; however, offices provide much more, he said.

Companies need to be more “intentional” when it comes to connectivity among workers.

“Enabling more connectivity may require rethinking spending,” Barkin said. “Some companies are reconsidering their physical footprint and lowering real estate costs as a consequence. They should be thinking about redeploying some of those savings into connectivity spend, including meals and social events in the office and occasions to bring people together outside the workplace.”

He went on to say that if we are honest with ourselves, we aren’t optimizing the hybrid environment today.

“To make it meet its full potential, we need to leverage the power of technology while innovating to recreate the benefits which the office once provided.”

Take Google for instance. The company is opening its newest campus in Mountain View, California, and executives say they aim to make it a place where employees in the company’s advertising division feel more comfortable returning to the office for decades to come.

It’s also the company’s first ground-up developed campus. Google’s other campuses are pre-existing buildings that had been modified by the company, a spokesperson told CNBC.

Google’s VP of Workplace and Real Estate David Radcliffe commented: “As we started with a blank canvas, we had to ask ourselves another set of questions, and that was simply ‘what will work look like in 20 years, 30 years, 50 years, 100 years? And I’ll be honest, the conclusion we came to was ‘we have no idea.’ But what we did know was it meant we had to be extra, extra focused on flexibility. This building had to be able to transform itself over its lifetime in order to respond to the demands being put on by the business.”

 

 

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18% of employees will take a pay-cut to work for an NPO 

According to Aviva’s recent How We Live report, almost two thirds of workers (64%) would consider taking a pay cut if a new role offered other benefits with more than a fifth of workers (22%) stating they would think about taking a lower salary if they had the option to do hybrid working, while almost a third (31%) would do the same if they were able to choose flexible working hours. 

Almost a fifth of workers (18%) reported that they would be prepared to take a wage cut if they were going to work for a charity or not-for-profit organisation and 15% would do so if the company had strong environmental credentials. This view is higher amongst under-25s, with a quarter of people in this age group saying they would consider a lower salary for these reasons. 

Aviva’s previous How We Live report (November 2021) discovered two thirds of employees intend to make changes to their careers in the next 12 months. 

Aside from potential pay-cuts, the study found that around three fifths (58%) of UK workers would consider changing their current role for a “greener” career. 

The study suggested that this attitude is more prevalent in some sectors than others, with workers in finance and engineering / building among those most likely to hold this view at 70% in both cases. 

Industry   Percentage of workers who would consider switching to a “green” career 
Finance  70% 
Architecture, engineering and building  70% 
IT and telecoms  69% 
Legal  64% 
Manufacturing and utilities  63% 
Healthcare  58% 
Education  58% 
Retail, catering and leisure  57% 
Travel and transport  54% 

Green schemes in the workplace 

However, there is increasing evidence that employers are becoming greener with three quarters of workers saying their employer has made changes to improve its environmental impact in the last five years – although 75% of people within this group feel there is still more to do. 

More than a fifth (21%) of workers say they are already participating in initiatives to make their employer more environmentally-friendly, while an additional 50% of employees would like to get more involved in this area. 

The report also reported welcomed news regarding the uptake of existing “green” schemes with current employers with the majority of employees saying that their organisations offer some initiatives aimed at reducing their impact on the planet, ranging from cycle-to-work programmes, to removing single-use plastic from workplaces, to electric vehicle leasing schemes. 

 

Workplace scheme for employees  Percentage of employees saying scheme is offered at their workplace  Estimated number of UK employees able to make use of such a scheme*  
Cycle-to-work / bike loan scheme  68%  22.1 million 
Subsidised public transport / loans for transport season tickets  60%  19.5 million 
Removing single-use plastic from the workplace  77%  25 million 
Paperless office  71%  23.1 million 
Vegan / vegetarian options in workplace canteens  70%  22.7 million 
Hybrid / remote working (to reduce commuter pollution)  67%  21.8 million 
Making use of video calls to reduce unnecessary travel  79%  25.7 million 
Using refillable cups for drinks  85%  27.6 million 
Volunteering through environmentally-friendly workplace schemes  60%  19.5 million 
Electrical vehicle (EV) leasing scheme  55%  17.9 million 

Jon Marsh, MD, Partnerships, Aviva General Insurance says:“Sustainability is very much on the radar for businesses large and small and it is positive news that so many UK people are bringing green thinking into their working routines, as well as their personal lives.  

“The latest How We Live data shows that a great many employees are already involved in environmental initiatives in their workplace – from simply re-using cups, to limiting unnecessary travel, to making use of electric vehicle leasing schemes.   

“Three quarters of workers acknowledge that their employer has made environmental progress in the past five years – but they want to do more to make a difference. This could mean actions taken in a current role or switching to a position with a more environmental focus – but the emphasis on green career ambitions is clear.” 

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