Tag: Remote Work

New candidates less likely to work remotely

UK’s Net Employment Outlook has fallen to +25% for Q4, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS). This figure shows a decrease of eight percentage points compared to Q3 and six percentage points year-on-year.

The MEOS is the most comprehensive employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic indicator by the Bank of England and the UK Government.

The survey reveals that hiring confidence is still positive across all sectors, but new candidates have less bargaining power, with employers focussing on retaining their existing workforce.

In the survey, 2,030 UK employers were asked whether they intend to hire additional workers, maintain their current headcount, or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter.

For the second quarter in a row, the Banking, Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate sector are in the lead with a Net Employment Outlook of +40%. This, however, is a decline of nine percentage points in Q3 and nine percentage points year on year.

Looking specifically at London, employers report an Outlook of +28% for Q4. This is a decline of 13 percentage points since last quarter. In Q1, employers in London were least likely to ask employees to work in the office full-time. Empty office space in London increased by 51% since the beginning of the pandemic, showing that working from home remains popular despite the increased cost of living, making working from home less affordable.

Chris Gray, Director at ManpowerGroup UK, said: “Employers are keen to get people back into the office, however employees still have a lot of bargaining power.”

“Over the last 12 months we have seen employers offer unprecedented benefits, from hefty signing bonuses to fully remote working, in order to attract skilled candidates. However, as demand for new workers cools, candidates are less able to secure these benefits – but many existing employees don’t want to give them up. One of our clients saw 75% of employees decline new contracts that didn’t guarantee fully remote work. This leaves employers engaged in a balancing act of keeping their existing employees happy while phasing out remote work for new candidates.”

“We’re seeing a shift from candidates holding all the cards to employers now having the leverage to ask candidates to come into the office – at least some of the time. Existing employees are more likely to have the bargaining power to retain their home working benefits, but new candidates will increasingly see pandemic-era benefit offers in the rear-view mirror.”

“As household energy bills hit record levels, trends may shift slightly with existing employees keeping their options open where possible to maintain their bargaining power. Decisions on whether to go back into the office will be based on individual circumstances. This is especially true for employees who moved away from big cities where commuting is most costly.”

“Despite the shift in power from candidates to employers, the fight for talent is still firmly underway, and employers need to meet candidates half-way to attract the best talent. That means offering sustainable benefits like increased annual leave and flexible working arrangements alongside increases in pay.”

Share this article on social media

Half of workers dismiss jobs that do not offer hybrid working

According to new research by IWG, hybrid working is now the most sought-after benefit for job seekers. The research showed large numbers of office workers out flexible working alongside other benefits such as health insurance and group income protection (88%), life insurance (84%), unlimited vacation (76%), and extended parental leave (71%) as important benefits in a new role.

The survey was conducted among 2,000 office workers to understand better the key factors driving jobseekers’ decision-making.

The jobs website Indeed revealed that ‘hybrid’ is one of the fastest-growing search terms, having increased by 6,531% in the last 12 months. In addition, according to IWG’s research, half of workers would immediately dismiss jobs that do not offer hybrid working.

Job seekers also highly value the opportunity to work remotely. Searches for remote work have also risen by 666% and now account for 2.3% of all searches. Sixty percent of respondents stated they would like to work within 15 minutes of their home.

According to the research, office workers’ top five considerations when applying for a new role are:

  • Hybrid working (43%)
  • New colleagues (32%)
  • Potential for progression (30 %)
  • Company culture (27%)
  • Equity and bonuses (27%)

Half of office workers (49%) said they would immediately rule out jobs that didn’t offer hybrid working. Sixty-seven percent said it improved work/life balance. A further 37% mentioned improved mental health and wellbeing as a benefit. Reduction in commuting load was another benefit (36%). Thirty-one percent said it enhanced productivity.

IWG also provided data that indicates how the popularity of hybrid working is increasing the demand for suburban and rural office space. Demand for rural and suburban office space increased by 29% in 2021. Locations such as Bromsgrove (+52%), Beaconsfield (+33%), and Tewkesbury (+22%) rose in popularity.

Bruce Daisley, Author of The Joy of Work and former EMEA Vice-President of Twitter, said: “We’re right at the start of the biggest transformation in the way we work that we’ve ever witnessed. The biggest danger for firms is thinking that we’re the end of the change; we’re just at the start and companies need to prepare themselves.”

Mark Dixon, CEO of IWG, commented: “With a buoyant job market after a challenging couple of years, workers are demanding more of their employers and their roles. Gone are the days when salary was the only factor when considering a job offer, and nothing better demonstrates this than the rise of hybrid working.”

“Daily commuting is an expensive and unnecessary practice, and it’s clear to see that workers around the UK are taking back control of this time. Employers who don’t offer hybrid working are going to miss out on the best talent. Not only do employees benefit from a dramatically improved work-life balance, but by switching to a hybrid model, businesses can expect to save an average of more than £8,000 per employee, all while minimising their carbon footprint.”

Share this article on social media

Lack of well-being benefits for SME works 

A recent survey revealed that 65% of SME employees are hesitant to take sick leave when working from home.

The survey, conducted by HR Software provider Breathe, looked at the current state of well-being among SME employees. The survey was conducted across 1,264 UK SME employees, and the respondents were asked a series of questions regarding sick leave, mental health, and remote working. The goal of the survey was to establish whether the pandemic had a lasting effect on the working world and the impact of hybrid working.

According to the data, there is an ongoing pattern of presenteeism, with 65% of respondents saying they are less likely to take sick leave when working remotely and 42% of respondents feeling the need to prove their productivity while working remotely.

Of the workers who didn’t take sick leave, despite feeling unwell:

  • 32% could not financially afford to take time off work
  • 25% were too busy to do to take time off
  • 21% didn’t want to let their colleagues down
  • 20% felt pressured to work through it

The data suggests a lack of benefits aimed at employee well-being. Seventy-two percent of SMEs do not offer well-being days despite 35% of workers feeling that well-being days would be helpful.

The survey also found that only half of SMEs offer flexible working, even though 67% of the respondents believe that WFH supports work-life balance and overall well-being

Another finding was that 54% of SME employees work overtime when WFH. Forty-four percent of employees struggle with feeling ‘seen’ by their employers. A further 47% said they were less inclined to take a lunch break when working from home.

The survey also found that:

  • 41% of workers felt that their symptoms weren’t severe enough to take sick leave
  • 36% of SME workers reported mental health issues in the past three months
  • 12% of workers have taken sick leave for mental health reasons
  • 67% of SME workers say working from home improves their work-life balance, but 54% report they are still more likely to work longer hours than usual
  • 48% of SME employees are offered flexible working whereas 27% are not offered it but would find it the most useful benefit

Balancing a company culture in a hybrid working world is a challenge, and SME leaders need to address toxic traits in their existing culture, like overworking and presenteeism, to maintain a healthy and productive workforce.

Rachel King, UK General Manager, Breathe, commented: “The benefits for mental and physical well-being that come from a flexible approach to work patterns have been widely discussed but are still so important. Flexible working can positively impact physical, mental and financial well-being. That said, working from home has proven effective for many people, but crucially not for all. It’s often the case that people find themselves working longer hours and taking less sick leave, under pressure to be seen as super productive when working remotely. Employers should look for ways to tackle the ‘always-on’ ethos and habits that have crept into remote working culture. Focusing on creating a culture that supports flexible working as standard can benefit teams and improve productivity if handled intentionally.”

Lizzie Benton, Company Culture Coach & Founder at Liberty Mind, added: “As a business, your attitudes, behaviour, and beliefs will all ultimately present to people what you truly think about employee well-being. If people are feeling unseen and pressured to work through illness, that’s really not a good sign. Now is not the time to ignore your culture and the true ripple effect it has on your people. After two years of momentous life changes, employees across the UK are considering whether where they work is adding to their life or taking something away. That’s why it’s important to put your people first when making decisions that impact them both personally and professionally. Creating a positive healthy company culture is ongoing work and it’s a choice that will benefit your business in the long run.”

Share this article on social media

Dealing with distance in a post-pandemic workplace

Focusing on employee mental health in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a recent survey commissioned by Cigna among US adults has shown that employers need to pay attention to feelings of loneliness among their employees.

The survey of almost 2,500 respondents conducted by Morning Consult showed that employees experiencing loneliness were less likely than their colleagues to say that they could work efficiently and perform to the best of their abilities. They were also more likely to say that they were “mentally somewhere else” while at work during the last three months.

In 2020, an analysis by Cigna showed that loneliness costs employers more than $154 billion per year in lost productivity caused by absenteeism.

Productivity isn’t the only negative result. The survey also found that employees experiencing loneliness were three times more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs than their peers. A further 30% of lonely employees admitted feeling unwell or sick while at work in the past three months.

While the circumstances surrounding the pandemic may have led to more flexible remote working arrangements for many, isolation and loneliness were also side effects of the new working situation. Together with exhaustion due to blurred boundaries between work and home life, these feelings have added to the stress of many employees.

Cigna highlighted three areas that employers could focus on to address issues with workplace loneliness:

  • Regular activities that bring employees together, both in-person and virtually, such as town hall events, volunteer events, and employee resource group meetings.
  • Providing employee benefits that support mental and emotional well-being while remaining mindful of the barriers that may prevent employees from accessing the help they need.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives could also go a long way to creating a safe and welcoming environment for employees.
Share this article on social media

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.”

 

 

Share this article on social media

Half of workers spend time on video calls now than a year ago

According to Asana’s 2022 Anatomy of Work Report, workers in the US are overwhelmed by their notifications with almost two-thirds (63%) of US workers continuously checking their emails outside of work hours — the highest percentage across the board in the international study.

The software company’s research team surveyed workers from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. At 62%, workers in the U.S. were the most likely to report feeling the need to reply to emails straight away. This rate was even higher among Generation Z and millennials. The US participants reported that they’re overwhelmed by the breadth of their digital interactions with colleagues with 34% stating they struggle to respond to important messages, with the rate being even higher for millennials and Gen Zers.

Just under half (41%) of respondents reported that they spend more time on emails now than a year ago with 43% stating that they spend more time on video calls than one year ago.

More than half (52%) reported that more efficient meetings could effectively reduce the number of notifications, and 48% of respondents said clearer responsibilities could also limit the number of notifications. Gen Zers, millennials and those in C-suite roles were most likely to emphasize the importance of well-outlined expectations.

Debbie Walton, Editor at TALiNT Partners commented: “The move to working from home means that there is no option to display an ‘out of office’ or to switch off from work. I have made the decision to remove all work apps from my cell phone so as not to be bombarded by endless notifications after hours. It’s supported a healthier work/ life balance.”

Share this article on social media

Best locations for digital nomad lifestyle revealed

According to Instant Offices, there are currently 35 million digital nomads globally and it is predicted that one billion people could live and work as digital nomads by 2035.

A digital nomad is a remote worker who travels and works simultaneously. They can work from anywhere, allowing them to spend anything from a few months to years traveling. According to research, 80% of digital nomads prefer to stay in one location for 3-9 months.

The research found that 51% of digital nomads are in digital marketing, computer science, and creative industries.

In a list of the top 80 locations ranked according to factors such as affordability, weather, and broadband speed, popular tourist cities such as London, Paris, and Venice are relatively low on the list. The top 10 digital nomad locations are:

  1. Lisbon, Portugal
  2. Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Thessaloniki, Greece
  4. Dallas, USA
  5. San Antonio, USA
  6. Seville, Spain
  7. Seoul, South Korea
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Athens, Greece
  10. Budapest, Hungary

This trend is increasing, fuelled by advances in technology, remote working, and workplace culture.

Share this article on social media

64% of employees will resign if forced to return to in-person work full time  

According to a recent study called “Adapt to work everywhere” by Topia, a global talent mobility company, has found that office workers overwhelmingly demand flexible work arrangements and will change jobs to get them. In the last year, remote work has evolved from a semi-temporary COVID-19 safety measure to a new normal and an expectation. While most HR professionals recognise the benefits of remote work, the data suggests that tax and immigration compliance remain a greater risk than they realise.

The Adapt study, the third annual one, aims to explore attitudes to remote work, what drives an exceptional candidate experience and how valuable mobility is.  Conducted by CITE Research on behalf of Topia, the study surveyed 1,481 full-time office workers between 22 December 2021 and 11 January 2022. All participants were employed by international firms, were evenly split between the US and the UK and included 299 HR professionals.

Its focus was on “flexible work arrangements,” with the term encompassing any work performed outside the traditional office environment. This included remote work from home, across state and country borders, and on business or leisure trips.

The key findings of 2022 Adapt study include the following:

  1. Failure to allow flexible work arrangements is driving the Great Resignation

Twenty-nine percent of respondents changed jobs in 2021, and 34% are planning to resign in 2022. Lack of flexibility is a major factor, and many employees are disappointed with their organization’s remote work policies.

  • 41% of employees say flexibility to work from home is or was a reason to change jobs. 35% also cited more flexibility to work remotely as a reason to find a new employer.
  • 64% of those forced to return to the office full-time say this makes them more likely to look for a new job.
  • Although 82% of employers have a remote work policy, 48% of employees feel that mobility policies are in place just to make remote work applications easier to reject.
  1. When choosing an employer, flexibility is a top priority

There is little interest in returning to the office full-time in both the UK and the US. Public health, originally the impetus for remote work, is no longer relevant. The freedom, technology, and autonomy to work from anywhere is central to the ideal employee experience.

  • Asked what they look for in a new employer, respondents rank flexible work arrangements as the third most important attribute—after high pay and a focus on employee wellbeing.
  • 96% of employees feel that flexibility in working arrangements is important when seeking a new job.
  • 56% of respondents say the flexibility to work in whatever location they want defines an “exceptional employee experience.”
  1. For most organizations, flexible work remains an unsolved compliance challenge

In 2021, 60% of HR professionals were confident they knew where most of their employees were located. That number fell to 46% in 2022. HR still has a blind spot in determining where employees are working and for how long. The resulting tax and immigration compliance risks are significant.

  • 40% of HR professionals discovered employees working from outside their home state or country.
  • 66% of employees admit to not reporting all the days they work outside their home state or country.
  • Nevertheless, 90% of HR professionals are confident that employees will self-report such days.

Steve Black, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Topia commented: “It’s clear that remote work is here to stay, and our Adapt study suggests that if companies say no to flexible work arrangements, they will lose talented people and struggle to replace them. To provide an exceptional employee experience, organisations need technology that welcomes employees to explore, request and pursue remote work opportunities. The back-end compliance needs to be automated and accommodating of employees who change locations frequently.”

Share this article on social media

The increasing trend towards remote working caused by the pandemic is leading firms to look further afield for contract workers.

According to a recent analysis by 6CATS International, in Q1 there was an increase in demand for contractors outside Europe, with opportunities booming in India and South Africa in particular.

Stefanie Cook, Sales Director at 6CATS International, said: “Destinations such as France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have long been hotspots of activity, but we’re increasingly seeing contractors, recruiters and end clients looking beyond Europe, with South Africa and India currently leading a significant proportion of the demand for contractor management solutions.

“Much of this shift has arguably been driven by the uptick in remote working options for contract professionals – meaning that recruiters and hirers are less limited by borders when sourcing temporary experts.

“Instead, we are increasingly seeing staffing businesses able to take a more strategic standpoint and focus on where the talent can be found, without concerns around in-country right to work regulations, immigration checks and visa requirements.”

On a sector basis, demand for contractors was highest in the pharmaceutical area, with oil and gas, engineering and IT also seeing a rise in activity in the first quarter of 2021.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Share this article on social media