Tag: Remote Work

Fundraiser to Encourage Office Attendance and Support Local Charities

Cloud giant Salesforce has unveiled a new initiative to incentivize its employees to return to the office. In a bid to strengthen connections and support local charities, the company will donate $10 to a charity for each day an employee shows up to the office between June 12 and 23. The program, dubbed “Connect for Good,” extends to remote employees as well, who can contribute by participating in a virtual event. Following the two-week period, Salesforce will calculate the total attendance and multiply it by $10, with employees given the opportunity to vote for the charities to receive the donations.

According to Fortune, internal documents and a senior executive’s announcement on the Salesforce Slack channel confirmed the details. The company aims to raise over $1 million through this fundraiser and contribute a maximum of $2.5 million to charity. A Salesforce representative expressed pride in the introduction of Connect for Good, stating that giving back is an integral part of the company’s values.

Salesforce’s decision to launch this fundraiser aligns with the trend of employers worldwide encouraging their staff to return to physical offices after an extended period of remote work. The company has implemented a return-to-office plan that specifies varying frequencies of in-person attendance based on employees’ roles. Customer-facing staff are required to be present four days a week, while product and engineering teams are in the office for 10 days per quarter. Additionally, there are office-flexible teams that work in-person three days a week. Remote staff at Salesforce do not have assigned offices, and their working arrangements are subject to agreement between the employee and their manager.

Brent Hyder, Salesforce’s president and chief people officer, emphasized the trust placed in leaders to make informed decisions about the office or remote work requirements for their teams. In early 2023, Salesforce underwent a restructuring plan that led to a reduction of over 7,000 employees, amounting to 10% of its global workforce, from the previous total of 79,000 employees at the end of 2022.

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The offering strengthens job post verifications

In a recent announcement on Monday, LinkedIn has initiated the implementation of verifications on job posts, enabling users to determine the authenticity of the poster. The verifications encompass various aspects, including affiliation with an official company page, verification of work email or workplace, and validation of government ID through CLEAR. This step is part of LinkedIn’s ongoing efforts to enhance transparency and security within its platform.

Earlier in April, LinkedIn introduced additional means for recruiters and job seekers to verify their accounts at no cost. These methods include government ID verification and confirmation of work email addresses. Moreover, companies utilizing the Microsoft Entra platform can issue digital workplace IDs, further bolstering verification processes.

To combat potential scams and protect users, LinkedIn will now flag messages containing “high-risk content.” These include instances where recruiters request applicants to continue conversations on alternative platforms, which could indicate fraudulent activities. This measure aims to address the proliferation of fake job applicants and deceptive job ads that have become more prevalent amid the pandemic and the rise of remote work.

During the summer of 2022, the FBI issued a warning regarding fraudulent candidates utilizing deepfake technology to conceal their identities. Such individuals would infiltrate companies, gain access to company logins, and compromise sensitive information. To safeguard against these schemes, experts advise HR departments and recruiters to exercise due diligence by thoroughly verifying employee documents, examining social media profiles, and paying close attention during video interviews. It is crucial not to overlook any feelings of unease or suspicion, as they may indicate potential scams, as advised by industry professionals.

In addition to the risks faced by job seekers, fake job ads can also have detrimental effects on employers already struggling to find qualified talent. Building trust throughout the recruitment process is paramount, and a poorly executed recruiting arm can easily appear illegitimate. For instance, Indeed’s support page regarding job scams highlights unprofessional communication and missing contact information as warning signs associated with potentially fraudulent job ads.

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Survey Reveals Digital Employees Desire More Control in Hybrid Work Arrangements

A recent survey conducted by Gartner indicates that digital employees worldwide are seeking increased autonomy in managing their work in hybrid environments. With over 4,800 respondents, the survey highlighted that 77% of employees wish to actively participate in shaping their hybrid work model, while only 14% prefer their hybrid work environment to be dictated to them.

The survey findings shed light on the “lack of alignment” between employee preferences and employer implementations regarding hybrid work, as stated by Caitlin Duffy, director in the Gartner HR practice.

Duffy emphasized the need for organizations to thoughtfully respond to the shifting wants and needs of employees in order to maintain productivity and minimize attrition. These findings reinforce previous studies suggesting that a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective for hybrid work arrangements. Such an approach risks diminishing engagement, reducing motivation, lowering productivity, and increasing commuting time, as highlighted in an earlier study by The Hackett Group.

According to Tony DiRomualdo, Senior Research Director at The Hackett Group, companies must recognize that employees have diverse responsibilities and work styles. Implementing policies, support practices, and tools that empower staff to excel in their jobs, regardless of their location, is crucial.

Gartner’s research also unveiled the significance of hybrid meetings in shaping the overall employee experience. Among digital workers, virtual meetings incorporating audio and video participation are most preferred (47%), while meetings accommodating both virtual and in-person attendees are the least favored (17%).

The study further revealed that hybrid meetings are considered the second-least productive (17%), with audio-only meetings being rated the least productive. In-person meetings, however, were recognized as the most productive (46%). These findings underscore the need to enhance hybrid meetings by ensuring active participation among attendees.

“In addition to improving hybrid meetings, leaders and managers should evaluate the meeting culture within their organization and promote a deliberate combination of asynchronous and synchronous work,” recommended Duffy.

The report also explored the impact of monitoring in the virtual workplace, a topic that has sparked significant debate as its popularity surged during the pandemic. Managers have expressed a desire to monitor their staff to assess productivity levels while they work remotely. Interestingly, Gartner’s research indicates that employees are willing to be monitored if it helps them in the following ways:

  1. Receiving support in finding information or data for their job
  2. Receiving proactive outreach from support
  3. Streamlining information, notifications, and receiving advice on performance improvement

These insights on hybrid work come at a time when employers face ongoing challenges in transitioning employees back to the office. According to Gartner’s report, the following factors motivate employees to return to the office:

  1. Meeting colleagues in-person (20%)
  2. Ability to focus (11%)
  3. Office equipment (11%)
  4. Meeting managers in-person (10%)
  5. Meeting senior leaders in-person (10%)
  6. Workplace belonging (9%)
  7. In-person IT support (7%)
  8. Manager expectations (6%)
  9. Amenities (5%)
  10. Career disadvantage (4%)
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Scottish city ranks as the most affordable place to live and work

The study, by HR and payroll software provider Ciphr, ranked 100 towns and cities against key criterias including; relocating, HR manager’s average earnings, the number of medium and large employers and housing affordability.

Aberdeen rates as the top place for HR managers to live and work- thanks to its high average HR manager salary of £50,450 (data compiled from Indeed, Glassdoor, and Adzuna) and high business density per capita. The number of Aberdeen businesses with over 50 employees  is 17.2 per 10,000 working-age adults – above the UK average of 12.4 per 10,000. The Scottish city is one of the UK’s most economical places to live with average rental properties costing £786 a month and average properties selling for £187,543.

In comparison, a typical UK home costs £287,506, 6.5 times the average annual HR manager salary of £44,050. HR managers who rent, expect to spend a quarter of their wages on housing – around £923 per month.

After Aberdeen, Northampton and London scored highly for HR professionals to work, followed by Huddersfield, Slough with Warwick, in joint fourth place, and Manchester, Bournemouth, Stockton-on-Tees, and Reading also made the top 10.

Chichester enjoys the highest average HR manager salary of £51,800 compared to the average full-time salary of £30,298 (according to the Office of National Statistics’ latest ’employee earnings by workplace’ figures). While the pay is high, all the top 10 highest paying towns and cities (except Aberdeen) are among some of the least economical places to rent or buy in the UK (comparative to average HR manager salaries).

Besides salary, job hunters are influenced by;

  • Work-life balance
  • Remote and flexible working hours
  • Good employee benefits and rewards
  • Job security and job satisfaction
  • Learning and development opportunities.

Across the UK, HR managers need to spend over 6.5 times their annual earnings to buy a property in their town – in London they need 14.5 times their income. The least affordable location is; Sevenoaks in Kent, closely followed by Bath, St Albans, and Winchester. The most affordable housing is in Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, and Blackpool.

Top 10 UK towns and cities with the highest density of businesses (over 50 employees) are:

Winchester (19.1 per 10,000 working-age adults) at the top and Northampton / West Northamptonshire (16.3) in 10th place. For more information, please visit www.ciphr.com.

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25% of businesses had let staff go to help recover costs lost to energy bills

As with employees, businesses are struggling to keep on top of rising energy costs as well, according to data from financial comparison site NerdWallet.

The survey of 500 UK business owners and senior decision makers revealed that just under half (45%) of business owners were worried that they may need to close their business. Only 11% of businesses said they could cope with the rising costs.

The survey asked about measures business owners were taking to try and conserve energy and save money. Some surveyed businesses stated they’d now moved to a hybrid or full-remote work style, with 68% of respondents moving to hybrid working, being in the office for fewer than five days per week (38% with incentives, 30% without) with a further 32% moved to fully remote working.

Staffing relationships was a key factor in the findings. 28% of businesses admitted they had stopped employees charging their devices at work as a measure to conserve energy. More dramatically, 25% of business owners in the survey had let staff go due to energy costs.

With costs continuing to rise in 2022, some businesses were left with no choice but to raise their prices. 43% of respondents in the survey stated that they had already increased their prices as a result of the energy crisis, with a further 8% saying they hadn’t done so yet, but were planning to in the future.

For those who were unable to make up their losses in increased product and service prices, it seems they’ve made budget cuts elsewhere to stay afloat. 43% of those asked in the survey had cut budgets for staff training, and 38% had stopped hiring new staff altogether. 36% said they’d also had to downsize their office to save money.

NerdWallet’s Business Finance Expert, Connor Campbell, commented: “When we conducted this survey, we perhaps expected to see some level of hardship reflected in the results. However, the amount of scaling back and budget cuts laid bare in this survey highlights just how much UK businesses are struggling to get to grips with the energy crisis.

“Although support has been put in place for a set period of time, businesses will need reassurance for the long-term future, so they can budget effectively and decide on their next steps.”

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Only 3% want to go in the office more

New research has revealed that a fifth of UK employees don’t prioritise meeting colleagues in person.

However, the TravelPerk survey, which explored hybrid working patterns, cites a healthy 58% feel meeting in person is important because it creates a sense of belonging to the team.

  • 43% think it boosts creativity
  • 23% want to go into the office less
  • 3% wanting to go into the office more

The survey revealed that 69% of workers are required to go into the office a certain number of days per week or month. Of those, 28% work five days a week from the office compared to those that work four days (9%), three days (22%), two days (24%) a week or less (16%).

Only a small minority felt that hybrid working encourages better communication with their team (8%) and a better relationship with their boss (7%). A third use their time in the office for 1-1 meetings with their manager or team, followed by meeting new team members (30%). In-person meetings are also used for brainstorming or strategy sessions (22%), social events (20%), large meetings with multiple people (16%) and workshops or skill development sessions (13%).

The survey, is based on a sample of 1,000 UK employees working from an office or home. Almost half of hybrid workers like it because they spend less time commuting and have more quality time. Of those, 34% say they are more productive – 29% enjoy the balance of time at home and interacting with colleagues in the office, 27% say it has a positive impact on their mental and physical health and 15% are comfortable with their workstation setup.

Avi Meir, CEO, TravelPerk said: “Technology will never replace the magic and energy that exists when people get together in person. That’s why so many businesses are keen to encourage workers to return to the office and why many employees are embracing it – because the meetings that matter, happen in person.

“The need for in-person connections is deeply rooted in who we are as human beings, and this comes through very clearly in the survey. Those in-real-life connections enable meaningful interactions, business opportunities and team success stories, which are necessary for businesses to thrive.”

Visit www.travelperk.com for more information.

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Almost half consider flexible work as important as pay 

Flexibility working means different things to different people and embracing this is key to attracting and retaining workers amid global talent shortages. 

New data from Randstad, the world’s largest talent company, shows that 46% of non-office workers consider flexibility at work as important as pay – not far behind their white collar counterparts with 54%. 

Despite this growing demand and the need for flexibility in business, only 24% of non-office workers have seen increased flexibility since the pandemic – compared to 52% of white collar office workers, indicating that an equity gap exists between different types of work.  

Research indicates that flexibility is emerging as the new frontier for people in blue and grey collar roles – workers who have non-office based roles, such as manufacturing or teaching – as they seek to reap the benefits the pandemic awarded to office-based employees.  

Flexibility is often viewed exclusively through the prism of remote work, however, the data shows that the concept needs to be understood more broadly.  Non-office workers prioritise flexibility in terms of their working schedules, as a third, value this type of flexibility highly, with only 16% of white collar workers agreeing. Only 22% consider flexibility in the number of hours worked as most important, compared to only 9% of those in white collar roles.   

The survey revealed, offering greater flexibility can improve retention rates: 

  • 30% have quit or changed careers when their demands were not met 
  • 39% of blue and grey collar workers have taken a sick day to manage personal responsibilities 

There is also a personal value-add for talent in enjoying extra flexibility at work. When asked about how they would spend their extra time, workers across the board prioritised time with family and friends as well as; getting fit, taking on a hobby and childcare as well as having time to rest, which was more important to those in blue collar roles. 

Sander van ‘t Noordende, CEO of Randstad, said: “Over the last three years, flexibility at work has moved up the agenda for workers across the globe. Historically there has been a perception that flexible working is not possible for non-office roles, but this view is shifting. Our research found that 40% of non-office workers think that flexibility is possible in their line of work. For employers, providing flexibility in an equitable way for blue and grey collar workers will have a positive business impact. Businesses need to adopt flexibility with intentionality within their strategies, which means understanding that flexibility means different things to different people.”   For more information, see www.randstad.com   

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Remote work gains momentum in US cities despite corporate push

New data from an international team of economists indicates that remote work is gaining momentum in some of America’s largest cities, despite corporate chiefs pressuring employees to return to the office. The researchers, including Stanford University’s Nicholas Bloom, have been tracking the prevalence of job ads offering flexible arrangements since the early days of the pandemic. They found that in major US cities such as New York, Chicago, and Atlanta, there are record levels of job postings for remote-friendly roles, which is a trend that’s on the rise.

Even with mayors pushing for employees to return to the office, remote work may continue to be a feature of city centers as data from security firm Kastle Systems reveals that office occupancy in major US cities is only about half of the pre-Covid level. However, some investors worry that commercial real estate owners who need to roll over their debt may face difficulties due to slumped property values and rising interest rates caused by the empty office towers.

The research team also found that Lansing, Michigan, has the highest share of remote job postings at 39%, with municipal governments and universities having a more unionized labor force, meaning unions may have to sign off on any return-to-office deal. The South is generally the worst part of the US for aspiring remote workers, with Bradenton, near Tampa in Florida, having the lowest percentage of remote or hybrid job ads.

However, not all industries are suitable for remote work, with transportation, food preparation, and health-care support requiring in-person work. Meanwhile, in the finance sector, remote work continues to grow, which could potentially upend the dominance of a particular region by a particular industry.

Many firms are seeking to limit remote work and mandate how often employees need to be in the office, but if the labor market cools down, bosses will have more leverage, and employees will have less. This may already be happening in some sectors such as technology, where large-scale layoffs have occurred. In San Jose, for example, the share of job ads at least partially open to remote work has fallen from a peak of 20% in December to 15% last month

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Singapore sees drop in remote work opportunities and increase in skill-based hiring

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the number of job vacancies offering remote work in Singapore dropped to 21% in 2022 from 31% the previous year. This was due to the normalization of remote work trends as more workplace activities resumed on-site when pandemic-related restrictions eased in 2022. However, vacancies for professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMET) were still more likely to offer remote working options than non-PMET roles. Additionally, certain sectors, such as construction, did not have many remote work options due to the nature of the work.

The report also found that employers in Singapore were less likely to consider academic qualifications when hiring new employees. In 74% of vacancies in 2022, academic qualifications were not the main determinant in hiring, which indicates a shift towards skill-based hiring. For PMET vacancies where qualifications were not the main determinant, skills and work attitude of the job applicant were the key considerations. This trend has been gaining momentum in Singapore since 2017.

The number of job vacancies in Singapore remained elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels, with PMET roles forming the majority of these vacancies. Newly created positions made up 39% of all job vacancies, with the Information and Communications sector having the highest proportion (69%) for new positions. Meanwhile, the proportion of replacement vacancies increased to 61% in 2022 from 56% the previous year as employers were actively looking to fill positions left vacant during the pandemic.

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46% of employees say employers aren’t making the return to work appealing

A recent global survey from Executive Networks reveals that many employees don’t see the value in commuting to work as organizations continue to adjust their pandemic-era workplace policies. Of the 1,300 knowledge workers surveyed globally, only 28% feel their companies make it worth the commute, while 46% say their employers are not doing anything to make returning to the workplace more appealing. Despite this, about half of workers still believe being in the office is beneficial for career advancement. The survey also highlights a “proximity bias” against remote or hybrid workers, which can hinder their progress in the company, as acknowledged by 71% of senior HR leaders and 62% of senior business leaders.

To encourage employees to return to the office, organizations need to make it more purposeful and “commute worthy.” This requires employers to communicate the benefits of working in the office and provide equal opportunities for development and advancement, regardless of where the work is done. Many employees support flexible arrangements, such as a four-day or 32-hour workweek without a reduction in pay, with 69% of knowledge workers and 56% of front-line workers wanting this option.

The report also highlights the importance of upskilling as the critical aspect of organizational success this year. HR and business leaders believe skills-based training should be used as a retention tool, and knowledge workers want access to coaches and online courses. Upskilling can also help reduce burnout, which is a significant factor in employees leaving their positions.

It’s important to navigate workplace policies and flexible arrangements with employee needs and unique organizational factors in mind. While Generation Z workers report stifled career growth due to a lack of on-site work experience, employees with remote and hybrid schedules may feel more psychological safety and ease in discussing difficult situations with colleagues. The report concludes that organizations can gain a competitive advantage in this new world of work by adding creative benefits, designing a workplace that attracts employees, and better equipping workers and managers for flexible working.

Rita Vanhauwenhuyse, Vice President of Customer Experience and Insights in Europe for Executive Networks said: “Stress and burnout have long been documented as a reason employees leave their jobs, but the lack of opportunity to learn new things and grow in their careers is also a primary driver of employees wanting to make a change,” said in the statement.”

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