Tag: Flexible Working

Back to the office for many Brits

It has been almost three years of pandemic-affected work patterns, but now certain sectors are being called back to the office across sectors. This is according to new research from the job search engine Adzuna.

The research looked at jobs advertised on Adzuna between January 2020 and January 2023 and tracked the proportion of postings that specify jobs as either ‘remote,’ ‘hybrid,’ or ‘office-based’/‘on-site.’

The data revealed that remote working opportunities are dropping significantly in the Creative and Design sector, down from 22.1% in October to 16.0% this January.

The IT sector is also seeing a drop in remote opportunities, dropping to 27.9% in the last three months.

Since October, remote work is also lower in the PR and Legal sectors – down -1.5pp and -0.7pp, respectively.

In the US, this trend is even more prominent. Large employers, such as Disney and Twitter, are insisting that their workers return to the office.

The research also revealed that designated ‘office-based’ roles are growing in some sectors:

  • Scientific & QA (+1.5pp)
  • Retail (+1.1pp)
  • Travel (+0.8pp)
  • Graduate (+0.6pp)
  • Engineering (+0.6pp)

The increase in on-site graduate roles indicates the need to nurture new talent on-site and help them create work networks.

Some sectors, however, are resisting returning to the office and, instead, seeing a rise in remote job opportunities.

Top of the list is the Admin sector, with the proportion of job ads for remote roles increasing by +14.7 % between October and January 2023. At the same time, office-based admin roles have fallen -2.2%.

Many Consultancy roles are also pushing back against a return to the office, Remote opportunities are up 2.6% since October, and the proportion of on-site ads is down -2.7%.

Interestingly, remote roles within the Teaching sector are up +12.6% since October – more advisory, tutor, teaching assistant, assessor, and lecturer roles are shifting to remote work.

Across the UK, 12.1% of all UK job vacancies were listed as ‘remote’ in January 2023. A further 11.3% were labelled as ‘hybrid’ and 8.5% as ‘on-site’/‘office-based.’

The top sectors for remote working roles overall are:

  • IT (27.9% of job ads)
  • Admin (21.7% of job ads)
  • PR (20.4% of job ads)
  • Teaching (16.5% of job ads)
  • HR & Recruitment (16.1% of job ads)

Paul Lewis, Chief Customer Officer at job search engine Adzuna, comments: “To date, UK workers have been resistant to the return to the office, but as the recession bites, layoffs mount up and job opportunities slow down, refusing on-site mandates is becoming higher risk. We’re seeing employers becoming firmer on return-to-office policies, following a spate of high profile mandates led by the likes of Elon Musk. Sectors like Creative & Design and IT are slowly but surely moving back to the office, in a trend we expect to see pick up through 2023.

“But while the return-to-office may be reassuring to some employers, there are some very real downsides. Flexible working is of particular importance to women, who often shoulder the burden of caring needs on top of their jobs. Forcing women back to the office could cause some to quit, burnout, or force less productive working patterns, which will only widen existing gender divides further. It’s crucial that employers maintain flexible options for those that need it, even if mandating wider return-to-office policies.”

 

Share this article on social media

Employees will be allowed to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period

On Monday the government said it would introduce legislation giving employees the right to request flexible working arrangements from the moment they start a job. It also said about 1.5 million low-paid workers, including some gig economy employees, students and carers, would benefit from a new law ensuring they are free to boost their income by taking on a second job if they wished.

The move has been welcomed by unions, who urged ministers to go further in terms of making such arrangements the norm.

Joanne Frew, global head of Employment law at DWF, commented: “Employees will be allowed to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period (previously only one request could be made in any 12-month period) and employers will be required to respond to requests within two months (previously employers had three months to respond). Employees will no longer be required to set out how the effects of the request might be dealt with by the employer.

“The last two and a half years have seen an unprecedented increase in flexible working, with the pandemic acting as a catalyst for change. Despite the tightening up of the flexible working regime outlined by the Government; many employers are already offering increased flexibility.

“In order to retain top talent and promote a culture of diversity and inclusion, it is essential that employers take flexible working requests seriously and consider innovative ways to make requests work. Open communication between the employer and employee is key.

“Having a blanket policy of not allowing employees to work flexibly can be incredibly detrimental to organisations, from the risk of discrimination claims to a reduced talent pool. However, it is also important that employers retain the right to refuse certain requests when there is an insurmountable clash with business needs – the response to the consultation makes it clear that the current list of business reasons for refusing a flexible working request will be retained.

Share this article on social media

39% of organisations reporting losing employees to companies who offer flexibility

Unit4, the cloud applications organisation, has announced the people and HR-related findings of its second annual Business Future Index.

The report surveyed 3,450 respondents across 12 global markets in order to understand how much people, policy and technology changes have accelerated over the past 12 months with the Index revealing significant concerns with flexible working strategies, despite a dramatic acceleration in its adoption. With competition for talent growing, there is a danger that failure to improve working policies and implement the right tools could lead to more employees choosing those employers who offer a more flexible approach.

The index found that 76% of respondents said that flexible working policies need improvement and 62% agreed that the tools to support flexible working are not adequate. A mere 18% of respondents said that they experience a flexible working policy without any restrictions with 39% of organisations reporting losing employees to companies who offer flexibility.

Attracting and retaining talent (62%) remains the biggest priority for organisations over the next 12 months, as talent shortages continue.

Flexibility important but implementation inconsistent

The Business Future Index found that 92% of respondents stated that their organisations have now adopted some form of flexible working policy. However, it also revealed that there is much work to be done to apply these policies more equitably and ensure employees have the right framework and tools to enable such approaches. For example, the Index discovered that 37% of people work flexible hours, such as working from 9am – 3pm, then made up time in the evening with 31% working a completely flexible hybrid model (office and home based). Of the respondents, 31% stated that they are mandated to spend a proportion of time in the office (for example, a certain number of days per week).

While the reasonably even split between the different types of flexible working is understandable given that not every organisation can offer complete remote working, other data suggests an imbalance in how such policies are applied. While 55% say flexible working applies to all employees, more than a third (35%) said it only applies to some employees dependent on job role, and 9% suggested it depends on the manager’s discretion applying only to some employees. Given that less than one fifth of employees experience flexible working without restrictions, there is still some way to go to improve such policies and, therefore, it is critical organisations move quickly to avoid loss of talent.

Big drivers for workforce strategies: recruitment, diversity and technology

According to the Index, attracting and retaining talent remains the top priority for all organisations across the globe in the year ahead, but the Index revealed further challenges impacting workforce strategies, that included staff retention, ESG credentials and diversity, with only 25% of organisations planning to improve diversity within the business.

Re-skilling talent (51%) and implementing a successful flexible/hybrid working policy (50%) also made it onto the list of top business priorities, compounded by 51% who believe that the real need to enhance talent strategies will hinder their ability to achieve their objectives.

Tania Garrett, Chief People Officer, Unit4 commented: “Given the need to attract a broad spectrum of talent into organisations from different demographic groups to meet demand for skills, the Business Future Index shows businesses must make diversity a higher priority. Along with investing more in reskilling their existing workforce to help meet future requirements, the Index clearly shows there is a close correlation between investment in innovative technologies and a positive impact on recruitment and retention.”

Share this article on social media

The average person spends around 23 days a year commuting to and from work

With 24% of Brits hybrid working and 14% working from home exclusively, a large part of the workforce still travels to and from work daily with evidence stating that even an extra 10 minutes of commuting can drastically reduce overall job satisfaction. New research from the flexible working company Easy Offices ranked the worst commutes across the UK.

Who has the longest commute?

It comes as no surprise that Londoners have it the worst, with research showing the average Londoner spends 80 minutes travelling to and from work by car, train or bus daily, racking up around 27 hours a month of travel time.

Outside of the Capital, residents in the Surrey town of Guildford face the second longest commute in the country, at 58 minutes a day and 19 hours a month.

The research, conducted by the ONS, looked at the median commuting time across the country and all transport types to determine who spends the most time travelling to work.

Of the top 10 regions with the most extended travels, East London has it the worst, with commutes in places like Chelmsford, Luton, Cambridge and Huntingdon taking up to 19 hours a month.

On the opposite end of the scale, residents in North West London have it the best, with those in Carlisle and Burnley travelling for just 28 minutes a day or up to 11 hours a month.

See below for the top 20 longest commutes:

City Minutes Spent Commuting Per Day Hours Spent Commuting Per Month
London 80 27
Guildford & Aldershot 58 19
Chelmsford 56 19
Bridgend 56 19
Luton 52 17
Eastbourne 52 17
Nottingham 52 17
Cambridge 50 17
Huntingdon 50 17
Reading 50 17
Barnsley 48 16
Bedford 48 16
Bristol 48 16
Birmingham 48 16
Canterbury 48 16
Leeds 48 16
York 48 16
Coventry 48 16
Derby 46 15
Worcester 46 15

The future of flexibility

It’s alarming to note that the average person spends around 23 days a year commuting but rising costs and a difference in how we work is changing this.

Half of Brits (46%) would like to work from home more often to avoid mounting fuel costs, and 30% would prefer their companies to offer a flexible hybrid approach, which enables people to choose which days to work remotely vs in the office.

With that in mind, more companies can help their teams combat increased costs and improve workplace satisfaction by offering more flexibility, not just in how they work but where they work too.

John Williams, Chief Marketing Officer at Easy Offices said: “With an extensive portfolio of coworking space, serviced and managed offices in the UK, Easy Offices can help commuters find an office that is flexible, affordable and ideally located to shorten the daily commute or even cut it out. We know that commuting can add stress to the workday and at Easy Offices we are committed to helping reduce the workday stress across the UK.”

Share this article on social media

The gig economy may be key to overcoming staffing shortages

For a lot of us, the pandemic shifted the way we see work for good. More people began to embrace flexibility and seek out new working options.

But flexibility is something that’s been at the heart of the ethos for temporary staffing platform GIG long before the pandemic.

Flexible shift work app GIG means for candidates that there are no requirements for working 9-5, 5 days a week. Instead, they’re able to choose when they work and where they work, as much or as little as they like. That means candidates could be working as a Warehouse Operative one day, and serving behind a bar the next.

The new campaign features, Dave, the star of GIG’s new Sky Go ad campaign, and he does exactly that. Dave picks the gigs that work for him, from warehousing, to hospitality, to events – meaning he’s got time to spend with the people who matter.

In a post-pandemic, skills short economy, flexible working has become more than a buzzword, it’s essential to the future of staffing.

TALiNT International has reported time and time again that candidates in the job market are continuously looking for flexible working options; those jobs that allow candidates to work around their studies, caring responsibilities or if they merely want to spend quality time with their family. But flexibility doesn’t just have to be for those looking at part time hours either as this could result in lower pay. With GIG potential candidates can still work full time, when and where they want. For instance, workers joining the GIG hub model may work full time 6 days a week, with many opting to work away at GIG’s warehouse partners, supplying some of the UKs biggest retailers.

The gig economy hasn’t always had a good reputation, but GIG shows that this flexibility doesn’t have to come at a cost. Their workers are guaranteed the basic rights that other gig economy providers often miss, such as holiday pay, and they push all their partners to offer well above minimum wage rates.

Antony Woodcock, MD of GIG commented: “Flexible working can offer a diverse range of opportunities for all, and that it doesn’t just have to be something that [fills a gap]. The whole concept behind the campaign is to showcase the opportunities that flexibility with GIG can bring. If you don’t want to be tied down to a single job, working hours that don’t fit your life, then there is another option. If you’re looking for regular shifts, training and experience to be able to build a career, that’s also something you can achieve with GIG.”

For businesses, there are clear gains to be made too ­– flexibility is not only a vital way to deal with the peaks and troughs that an increasingly unpredictable world throws their way, but it may also be the key to unlocking the talent needed to overcome staffing shortages.

With both businesses and workers being hit by recent increases in the cost of living, flexible solutions such as GIG can be a much-needed lifeline.

Share this article on social media

Senior leaders unaware or unwilling to alter approach to managing the workforce

According to the 2022 Culture Report on Tech-Enabled Employee Experience from Achievers Workforce Institute, companies where senior leaders accept remote work are 29% less likely to struggle with attraction and retention.

While employees’ desire for flexibility in the workplace is at an all-time high, senior leaders at many companies are unaware or unwilling to alter their approach to managing the workforce.

In fact, the number one reason that workers changed jobs during the pandemic was for better work flexibility, AWI said. Of the workers who have the option to be hybrid or remote, 85% said they prefer that option. However, two-thirds say company leaders expect them to be in the office at least part-time.

Likewise, 56% of leaders in HR say the C-Suite doesn’t understand this change in the workforce, and 45% say they don’t have support needed to make changes that will attract, engage and retain top talent.

Employer concerns

Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, Achievers Workforce Institute’s Chief Workforce Scientist said: “A major concern for company leaders is fostering a culture of connection and belonging with a dispersed workforce. We know that a strong sense of belonging drives a 3x return on a wide number of business outcomes. Many leaders believe that to achieve their desired culture, employees must be in the same physical space. However, the world of work has changed and so must our approach to creating a sense of belonging for employees. Employees are sharply focused on having an experience of connection and belonging, but they are confident they can achieve it while working from anywhere.”

Despite concerns over their performance, the research found that remote workers were equally as productive as those who worked in the office. It also found that employees are more likely to be engaged and advocate for their company when remote. They also have a tendency to trust their company leaders more.

In addition, HR leaders in companies that support remote work say they’re less likely to struggle when trying to attract and retain top talent.

The AWI study identified four types of technology that can foster the culture that both employees and company leaders are seeking: network, recognition, wellness and feedback. By implementing these systems, research shows that employers find an increase in engagement, belonging, trust and productivity, as well as their employees feeling valued and less burned out, overall.

Share this article on social media

Spain, Italy, and France are top destinations

According to new research, more than half (57%) of workers are planning to extend their holidays this year to work abroad.

The research undertaken by flexible workspace operator, IWG, revealed that 88% of workers plan to work from anywhere – UK or away – this year. Hybrid working has opened up opportunities for employees to work from anywhere, and many companies are responding accordingly. For example, companies such as Airbnb and Spotify have introduced work-from-anywhere policies to provide employees with flexibility when they travel.

The research showed that 67% of workers believe that they can perform their job effectively abroad, and a further 71% agreed that they would only consider a new job if it gave them the flexibility to work from anywhere for at least some of the time.

In terms of the benefits of working from anywhere, the following were cited:

  • Improved work-life balance (76%)
  • Spend more time with friends and family abroad (52%)
  • Saving money by travelling off-peak (47%)
  • Being able to enjoy longer holidays (30%)

Eighty-nine percent of office workers surveyed said they’re now more likely to work from anywhere than pre-pandemic. A further 83% believe that businesses’ adopting hybrid working has made this lifestyle possible.

‘Flexcations’ are also a popular perk. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they would be more inclined to work for a company offering frequent ‘flexcations’ as a perk.

The top locations for hybrid overseas workers:

  • Spain
  • Italy
  • France
  • United States
  • Greece

According to IWG’s office usage data in popular overseas locations for the start of summer:

  • Barcelona, Spain, saw a 168% increase in usage from June to July
  • Italy saw significant rises for its shared offices in Turin (+412%), Milan (+312%), and Rome (+137%).
  • France also recorded growth in its offices in Rennes (+249%), Lille (+155%), and Reims (+147%).

While employees are keen on making the best of the summer months, employers must update policies. Forty-one percent of employees said their employers did not have an official policy in place, and this was preventing them from working from anywhere.

Mark Dixon, IWG Founder and CEO, commented: “For an increasing number of workers, the days of the daily commute are over, now that hybrid working offers the opportunity to work wherever we will be the most productive. And thanks to cloud technology, that can be anywhere in the world, provided there’s a high-quality internet connection available.

“So, it’s no wonder that more and more individuals are embracing the idea of combining work with travel, whether it’s for a few days tacked on to the end of a vacation, or a few months as a digital nomad.

“This trend is set to accelerate further, and we will continue to see more and more companies embracing WFA policies to improve employees’ work-life balance and increase their attractiveness as an employer.”

Share this article on social media

Flexible working encouraged as a solution to staffing issues

Constant staff shortages across all industries in recent months have resulted in chaos across all sectors from logistics to hospitality, including disruption within food production and airports such as Manchester.

Staffing agency GIG is countering this by encouraging businesses to embrace new ways of working and offering people the chance to find jobs that fit their lifestyles. They’re increasing their reach in the North West by reopening and expanding their Manchester office.

The British Chamber of Commerce advised that 76% of businesses faced recruitment difficulties in the second quarter of 2022. The manufacturing, logistics, and hospitality industries experienced some of the biggest struggles.

GIG is a staffing agency focused on maximum flexibility for its workers and clients. They see a model where workers can pick when and where they work, how many shifts they need and how often, and training to take on new roles.

Tony Carnall will lead the new office. Carnall has a long background in hospitality and is familiar with the challenges of keeping the sector and others like it well staffed.

Antony Woodcock, MD at GIG, said: “The recruitment crisis we’ve seen in the past year isn’t going away on its own, we’ve got to rethink what we offer potential workforces.

“Central to our ethos is understanding that everyone is different and the types of work they will want to do varies – there’s no one size fits all.

“Parents might want shifts that fit around childcare, more young people are looking for travel and new experiences and need a job to match – these opportunities aren’t always readily available and so we’re excluding valuable workers from the labour force.”

“But that flexibility can be a tricky path for many businesses to take, as they fear uncertainty – we wanted to create a system that gives businesses the opportunity to use flexibility in new ways”

Tony Carnall, Regional Manager, GIG’s Manchester office, commented: “I’m excited to be back working with the Team at GIG and getting our Manchester Office set up and running. Manchester has grown so much over the last few years that now feels the right time to bring what we offer at GIG to the city.

“My aim is to grow a strong, reliable workforce through regular recruitment and interview days, and building strong relationships with both our clients and candidates past and new.

“Having worked with sectors such as Hospitality, Warehousing and Events, I know how challenging staffing can be – but building strong relationships with our clients and workforces will help combat those issues.”

 

Share this article on social media

73% of workers will accept a four-day work week if pay does not decrease

A survey of over 2,000 UK workers and 250 UK employers found that flexible work is more popular among job seekers than a four-day work week.

Despite 37% of employers implementing a four-day working week, recent research from Reed.co.uk has found that candidates are more likely to apply for a job offering “flexible working” opportunities (45%) than a “four-day working week” (40%). “Work from home” followed at 32%, and “opportunity to progress” was noted at 31%.

According to the research, despite 89% of workers favouring a four-day working week, flexible work remains the more popular alternative for employers seeking to generate job applications. Flexible working is defined as a way of working that suits the individual’s needs, with flexible start and finishing times and/or the freedom to work from home.

The research also found that only 16% of workers would accept a pay reduction in exchange for a shorter week. Seventy-three percent of respondents were open to the shorter week if pay did not decrease.

Over a third (37%) of employers have implemented a four-day working week, and 27% are considering it.

Generally, the reasons for employers’ support of the four-day working week are focused on employee wellbeing. The benefits cited include:

  • “better work-life balance” (51%)
  • “increased employee happiness” (43%)
  • “higher employee engagement” (41%)
  • “increased productivity” (36%)
  • “reduction of burnout” (36%)

James Reed, Chairman of Reed.co.uk, comments: “Despite strong arguments in favour of a four-day working week, evidenced also by recent UK trials, our research suggests that it may not be the best or most popular way for businesses to attract and retain top talent.

“The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work has suggested that cramming five days’ work into four might contribute to stress. Instead, offering greater flexibility could be more impactful and more popular.

“Amid a highly competitive labour market, it’s encouraging to see so many employers open to exploring new and creative methods to attract candidates. The era of the traditional 9-to-5, five day working week is over and it’s now more important than ever for employers and employees alike to embrace flexible and inclusive working patterns that will allow everyone to contribute to the workforce.”

Share this article on social media

94% of those who quit their jobs have no regrets about leaving

A report from The Conference Board has revealed that as the Great Resignation’s momentum continues, one-third of workers are actively looking for a new job.

According to the report, 94% of those who left their company in 2021 do not regret their decision with respondents stating that if given a choice to return to their previous organization, a quarter said they likely would.

Rebecca Ray, executive VP of Human Capital at The Conference Board commented: “Despite worries of a recession — and the hiring slowdown and layoffs that often result from a downturn — the labor market remains strong. And the robust jobs market is continuing to empower workers. Our survey results reveal [workers] continue to want more flexibility and higher pay, and they’ll go elsewhere to attain these benefits. But slowing economic growth makes the decision to jump ship riskier. To retain talent, companies should work with their employees to determine to what extent they can accommodate their needs.”

Insights from the report include:

Job seeking: The Great Resignation isn’t over. Thirty-one percent of respondents are actively looking for a new job, while 28% are unsure if they will quit in the next six months. Only 38% indicated they would like to stay with their current company.

Flexibility a driver: Seventeen percent of workers stated that they voluntarily left their company within the last year for a flexible work location, flexible work schedule or the ability to work from home/anywhere with other top reasons for quitting were higher pay and career advancement, cited by 22% and 14%, respectively. Thirty-seven percent of individual contributors quit for more flexibility, compared to 18% of CEOs. Additionally, more flexibility, higher pay and career advancement were the top factors that would influence workers’ decision to stay at their company.

Fatigue: Job fatigue is driving workers to quit, especially women and millennials. Eleven percent quit their jobs over the last year because of workload. A quarter of millennials quit because of job fatigue, while 25% of women left because of job fatigue, compared to 13% of men.

Pay expectations: Fifty-two percent of Gen X and 47% of Baby Boomers said higher pay would influence their decision to stay with their organization. Seventy-four percent of millennials said the same. Meanwhile, 61% of individual contributors would likely stay at their organization for higher pay, compared to 22% of CEOs.

CEO turnover: Forty-five percent of CEOs said they left their organization for a stronger connection to mission and purpose, while 36% left because they had greater faith in the positive trajectory of their new company. The survey included more than 1,100 individual professional workers. It was conducted from June 21 to June 28.

Share this article on social media