Tag: Flexible Working

Ninety percent of office workers want more flexibility to do their jobs, according to research conducted by global workspace specialists Instant Offices, who also found that almost a third of employees will look for a new employer if they have a toxic workplace culture.

 

If employers aren’t willing to offer their employees flexible working policies, they risk losing their experienced talent. A survey conducted by EY found that 54% of employees will leave their jobs post-pandemic if not allowed to work from home. As of this year, 67% of workers believe that their employers can successfully measure productivity regardless of whether they work at home or in the office and employers will be hard pressed to find reasons to insist their employees return to full-time office-based working.

 

With online job postings overtaking the number of candidates, retaining talent should be front of mind for every employer. The increased demand for work from home (WFH) and hybrid working polices is reflected in the high number of job postings offering it to potential candidates. For example, in the last 30 days, Glassdoor posted over 80,000 jobs advertised as remote work, and 490,000 jobs offered as flexible.

 

Lack of flexibility will drive out talent

With one in 10 companies expecting a full return to the office, competing businesses will snap up the talent who are prepared to leave their current jobs because of toxic work cultures and no offers of flexible work policies. A number of large consultancy firms and corporations have been outspoken regarding their WFH policies and have insisted their entire workforces return to work as normal, pre-pandemic.

 

A recent report from BreatheHR claimed that more employees are leaving due to poor workplace culture. This figure has risen from 21% in 2020, to 27% in 2021.

 

Having collected data and insights around the biggest signs of toxic workplaces, Lucinda Pullinger, Global Head of HR & Talent at Instant Offices urges employers to take action and discusses why it is more crucial than ever to create an inclusive and empowering workplace environment for their employees. Having collected data and insights around the biggest signs of toxic workplaces, Instant Offices highlighted the following to address:

 

•            Constant interpersonal conflicts

•            Lack of teamwork and camaraderie

•            Pointing fingers and blaming others when something goes wrong

•            Poor problem-solving as a team

•            Exclusive cliques or social groups

•            Office gossip

•            Work awarded based on personal connections rather than skill

•            Poor communication and lack of clarity around projects

•            Inconsistent communication and mixed messages

•            Unhappy, demotivated workers

•            High turnover rate

•            Stifled/ stagnated career progression

•            Lack of work-life balance

 

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COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, and workplaces are reopening, but recent research reveals that three-quarters of UK workers fear going back into the workplace because it poses a risk to their health and safety. David McCormack, CEO of employee benefits and outsourced payroll provider HIVE360, says employers should take a simple seven-step approach that will support effective management of the workforce’s return to work.

Seventy three percent of workers admit they fear a return to the workplace. Responsible employers need to take action to support workers and ease their worries, to ensure they feel secure and comfortable whenever in the workplace, and know they have their employer’s support and commitment to maintain a safe environment.

The foundation to this is our seven-step return-to-work action framework:

  1. Communicate: Ensure workers know it’s ok to feel anxious about the return to the workplace. Encourage them to talk about their feelings so you can reassure them and take any additional action to ease any worries.
  2. Stay in touch: Make a point of checking in with staff regularly and ask how they are coping.
  3. Be flexible: For those feeling uncomfortable about being in the office, give them the option to continue working from home some days each week. For those anxious about a busy commute to work, be open to an early or late start and finish time for the working day.
  4. Be safe: People are counting on their employers to help them get back to work safely, and by putting employee health, safety and wellbeing at the heart of the return-to-work planwill help reduce any stress or anxiety:
  • Be COVID-19 aware, safe and secure. Employers have statutory duties to provide a safe place of work as well as general legal duties of care towards anyone accessing or using the workplace
  • Carry out a risk assessment of the entire workplace and implement measures to minimise these risks
  • Create a clear policy of behaviour in the workplace and share it with all employees. Policies should include the rules on wearing facemasks, social distancing, hand washing and sanitising, with the relevant equipment available to all. Include clear instructions on what people should do if they or someone they live with feels unwell or tests positive for COVID-19.
  1. Be caring: With concerns about the effects of COVID-19 on society and the economy, mental health is a growing problem, but people continue to feel uncomfortable speaking about it. This is unlikely to change, so make time to show you are an employer that recognises and understands by introducing and communicating the tools, support and measures available to them to help address any fears. Give them access to specialist healthcare resources, information and health and wellbeing support.
  2. Encourage work/life balance: Poor work/life balance reduces productivity and can lead to stress and mental health problems, so build-in positive steps to help the workforce achieve it by encouraging sensible working hours, full lunch breaks, and getting outside for fresh air and exercise at least once a day.
  3. Tailor solutions: Show that you understand that everyone’s personal situation is different and that you will do your best to accommodate it. Remind people of their worth as an employee, and the positive attributes they bring to the team.

Added benefits

Employee health and wellbeing support and benefits are a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’. Onboarding and career progression, reward and recognition policies, training and development, employee benefits, work/life balance initiatives, financial, mental health and wellbeing support, are all essential components of an effective employee engagement strategy. Together, they improve and maintain a positive working environment.

HIVE360 is an expert in recruitment agency PAYE outsourced payroll. Our HMRC-compliant solution guarantees a speedy, transparent service, with no nasty fees for workers. It also delivers efficiency gains from payroll, digital payslips, pensions auto-enrolment and pay documentation support.

HIVE360 goes further. Our unique, customisable employee pay, benefits and engagement app Engage is provided as a standard element of our outsourced payroll solution. It gives workers access to an extensive range of health and wellbeing benefits and employee support services, including:

  • 24/7, confidential access to mental health support, counsellors and GPs
  • Thousands of high street and online discounts
  • Huge mobile phone savings
  • Online training resourcesand access to the HIVE360Skills Academy
  • A secure digital payslips portal
  • A real-time workplace pension dashboard to support employees’ financial wellbeing.
  • An incident reporting system to ensure the safety of employees in the workplace, which allows workers to – anonymously – raise serious issues or concerns with their employer directly through the app.

HIVE360 is a GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) license holder and is championing a new model of employment administration, redefining employment and pension administration processing. Visit: www.hive360.com

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The quest for ‘meaningful work’ is the most important factor in choosing a job, according to a new survey by leading financial recruitment company Core-Asset Consulting.

In a survey of professionals working across the financial, accounting and legal sectors in Scotland, people were asked to rank the importance of eight factors in choosing a job.

Key findings:

  • ‘Meaningful work’ was most frequently ranked as the top reason in people choosing a job
  • ‘Pay & benefits’ was the most commonly cited 2nd, 3rd and 4th factors
  • ‘Flexible working’ was most frequently cited as the least important factor

Factors:

  • Career progression
  • Company reputation
  • Location/length of commute
  • Flexible working
  • Meaningful work
  • Pay & benefits
  • Work-life balance
  • Working culture

Commenting on the survey, Betsy Williamson*, Managing Director of Core-Asset Consulting, said:

“It may come as a surprise to many that ‘meaningful work’ is the most common number one factor in people choosing a job, particularly as this is a survey of financial, accounting and legal professionals.

 

“But however you interpret the term ‘meaningful work’, it seems clear that white collar professionals are now seeking much more from their career than material rewards. The implications for employers is far reaching.

 

“To retain valuable employees, companies need to clearly articulate the driving purpose of its firm beyond the simple pursuit of profit, and how a particular department, team and individual fits into this bigger picture. This can include things such as the creation of a financially secure future for customers, tackling environmental issues and transforming local communities.

 

“Failure to do so not only means employers will have staff retention issues, they will also struggle to attract the very best talent.

 

“It’s very much a candidate-driven market now – particularly in hard-to-fill areas such as risk and compliance. Companies that recognise the importance of ‘meaningful work’ will do better in attracting and retaining the best people.

 

“But all this comes with a caveat: ‘over-selling’ roles comes with a similar risk of creating disillusioned employees. A delicate balance must be struck between aspiration and authenticity.”

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Goldman Sachs is not the only business keen to get its staff back into the office as soon as possible if the results of a new survey are anything to go by.

Even since the bank’s CEO David Solomon told a conference in February that he rejected the idea that remote working was the “new normal” and instead described it as an “aberration”, there’s been an undercurrent of unease about the future of flexible working.

Now a study by accountancy, finance and HR recruiter Wade Macdonald has laid bare the extent to which employers are planning for a return to the pre-Covid way of working.

According to research for its report Employee Expectations 2021, which surveyed 395 employees, one in five employers had already rejected any form of flexible working, while a further 12% had not yet clarified whether any flexibility would be offered.

But employers’ desires for a return to office working were at odds with employees’ wishes, with only 9% of workers wanting to be in the office full-time. The majority (69%) wanted some form of hybrid working, while 22% wanted to work from home all the time.

Chris Goulding, Managing Director for Wade Macdonald, said: “Employers not willing to at least meet staff halfway must be prepared to see a significant decrease of staff loyalty, employee numbers and brand reputation.”

Putting loyalty to the test
This emerging disparity between employers and employees on flexible working threatens to roll back some of the recent gains make in terms of employee loyalty in particular, which by a number of accounts had increased during the pandemic.

For example, the latest edition of Randstad’s Employer Brand Research report found that businesses’ responses to the pandemic had led 68% of employees to feel more loyal towards their employer, with only 6% reporting they felt less loyal.

However, the research, which surveyed 190,000 people across 34 markets in the first quarter of this year, also found that non-financial factors had become almost as important as salary and benefits to workers.

While 62% cited the latter as the most important factor in their choice of employer, 58% cited a desire for a proper work-life balance.

Any unwillingness by employers to meet this demand by offering flexible work patterns could therefore see the newfound employee loyalty quickly dissipate.

London not calling

Indeed, this could prove particularly true for companies in London, with separate research from Guidant Global warning of a talent exodus from London.

It analysed the UK cities losing and gaining talent, and found that the capital was losing more highly skilled professionals than it was gaining as people sought to leave the “rat race” behind.

In particular, the smaller towns and cities these professionals were moving to were cited as Epsom, St Albans, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Welwyn Garden City and Leigh-on-Sea.

This could leave London employers with little choice but to accept at least some form of remote working, said Simon Blockley, CEO of Guidant Global.

“One of the side effects we’re seeing of the pandemic is a migration of talent from previously popular and crowded cities to other, more remote destinations that often offer better value for money when it comes to living costs as well as a better quality of life.

“The simple fact is, remote working has been proven to be feasible in many cases, so people are now more eager to make those permanent relocation moves of which they have dreamed. The challenge for employers now is to not only broaden the geographical scope of their workforce solutions, but also re-evaluate where top talent is now located. For those with a London base, the resources you need are unlikely to still be in the same place.”

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A quarter of employees would switch to a four-day working week even if their pay was cut to reflect their reduced working hours, according to new research.

A survey of more than 1,000 UK adults in full- or part-time work by office designers MoreySmith also found that if their current pay was maintained, 70% would be in favour of switching to a four-day week. Only 14% said they were against doing so.

With many companies now gearing up for employees to return to physical workplaces when the work from home guidance ends on June 21, the survey suggested that employers may need to make adjustments if they want to tempt workers back.

Most of the employees polled now expected more flexibility with regard to working hours, with 66% saying flexibility over start times would be an important factor in their decision to return to the office.

Workers were also eager to see their workplaces adapted to reflect the blurring of home lives and work that has taken place over the past year.

For example, 19% of pet owners said being able to bring their pet to work would influence their decision to stop working from home, while 44% said access to outdoor space would be a key factor.

Many also wanted facilities to allow them to cycle to work, with 35% wanting their workplaces to provide secure bike storage and showers.

Linda Morey-Burrows, Founder and Principal Director at MoreySmith, said: “As this polling demonstrates, it’s essential that workspaces are designed to encourage and stimulate this return to work. Offices must be designed to cater for the new world with flexibility, comfort, outside spaces and sociability in mind.

“I think these results are a snapshot of opinion today and it’s important that we take a measured response and continue to look forward and create spaces people love to be in.”

She added that employers needed to take into account the different needs of different demographics when preparing for workers’ return to offices. For example, the research found that while many young people wanted to return to offices, those with long commutes and young children might be harder to tempt back to physical workspaces.

For workers across all age groups, there was one thing that the majority was particularly keen to see and that was ‘Covid havens’, with 67% of respondents wanting offices that guaranteed hygiene so there was no need for Covid restrictions once on-site.

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One in four UK workers say they will resign from their job if flexible working policies are revoked, a new survey reveals.

As the government prepares to lift England’s lockdown, a study by HR software company Personio found that employers could face revolt if they insist on a return to a 9-to-5 office routine.

Over half of employees have seen a change in working hours as a result of the pandemic; 29% are working for longer, but 37% are working fewer hours.

Appino surveyed over 1,000 full-time UK employees and HR professionals on behalf of Personio to investigate the impact of Covid-19 on the UK workforce and to find out if companies are prepared for a long-term digital shift. And while 41% believe their employer is likely to permanently retain the flexible working hours introduced as a response to the pandemic, more than a third (37%) feel their company is avoiding implementing new hybrid working paradigms and is persisting with compulsory attendance.

However, only 12% of surveyed employees are dissatisfied with the way their employers have looked after them in these uncertain times.

Flexible working hours and mental health

Almost half of all UK employees (43%) are able to work from home, while a third (31%) also said they have been offered flexible working hours, and 22% were introduced to new digital tools to aid communication and organisation.

One in three (34%) have been offered equipment such as chairs and tables. A third (33%) indicated that they are being offered mental health support and a quarter (26%) say they are being provided with on-going coaching on the challenges of managing a work-life balance.

A shift to a hybrid working model

While 43% of UK employees say their employers have implemented hybrid working practices that are enabling them to work from anywhere, 32% are unsure if flexible working hours will become a permanent part of their company’s day-to-day operations.

“Covid-19 forced employers to introduce and trial new flexibilities to the daily work routine in an exceptionally short period of time,” said Ross Seychell, Chief People Officer at Personio. ”In most cases, it hasn’t had a negative impact on individual or company productivity. Employees across the world have now seen how flexible working could look in future, and quite rightly they will expect their company to have a plan for this.

“Now, businesses must work towards implementing the tooling and technology in the long-term to ensure they can continue to attract and retain the best talent in a hybrid world of work.”

Tech talent want to work from home

Following the release of ONS jobs data which found that UK Tech has created more than 100,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, a new survey from Harvey Nash Tech has found that technology companies may need to dramatically scale back their office space, as staff want to mainly WFH post Covid-19. Preliminary data found that:

  • Over three quarters (79%) of tech workers (the equivalent of over 1 million people working in the sector) want to continue working the majority of the week (3-5 days) from home after the pandemic and 95% want to work 2-5 days a week from home. This compares with only 42% of tech professionals working 2-5 days a week from home prior to the pandemic.
  • ‘Work location and remote working’ have been identified for the first time as one of the top three most important factors when looking for a new job in tech, second only to pay. The top three are now – remuneration, work location and remote working, and a strong culture & strong leadership. Over a third (38%) of tech professionals also reported that homeworking during the pandemic has increased the distance they are prepared to live from the office by a little (12.59%) or significantly (25.44%).

With the equivalent of 1 million UK tech workers aiming to continue working the majority of the week from home after the pandemic, Harvey Nash believes that this will not only have a huge impact on tech office space and hubs, but it will also drive many more remote jobs particularly in areas such as cyber-security, data analysis, software engineering /development, and those with skills in AI and machine learning.

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He said, “National Work-Life Week kicks off this week, aiming to promote the balance between working life and home life – a great initiative that highlights the importance of companies offering their employees and potential employees a healthy work/life balance.

“Recent research from Indeed.com reflects the significance of job flexibility and work/life balance revealing that working hours are the most important factor for almost two-thirds (57%) of people when deciding to apply for a job. According to the research, only a salary/ benefits package is deemed more important with 66% of job seekers citing it as the most important information when applying for a job. Job flexibility is also key coming in at fifth place with over a quarter (26%) of Brits claiming it is the most important.

“It appears this demand for job flexibility is in fact being met by UK employers. A recent report from Indeed.com reflects this, finding the UK as the top source for international searches for flexible jobs. With the recent extension of the right to request flexible working for all UK employees, it’s very exciting to see the UK as leaders in job flexibility internationally supporting National Work-Life Week.”

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