Tag: WFH

Over half of employees feel undervalued

Research released by Firstup, a digital employee experience company, revealed that employees are unhappier in the workplace now more than ever post-pandemic. The survey showed a mounting dissatisfaction among employees across the UK, US, Germany, Benelux and the Nordics, with talent feeling undervalued, uninformed, and un-unified.

Lack of communication from leadership was cited as a main contributing factor to unhappy employees with almost a quarter of respondents to the survey agreeing that better communication will lead to increased productivity and work satisfaction.

Nicole Alvino, founder and CSO of Firstup, said: “Businesses need to provide more valuable working experiences or remain responsible for the career reboot of the decade that some are calling The Great Resignation of 2021. This research is a clear and urgent call to action – an organisation’s employees are its most valuable asset with employee satisfaction having a direct impact on the bottom line. Business, HR and Internal Comms leaders must act now to stem this workforce dissatisfaction and engage their teams with personalised information that helps them do their best work.”

Research from the 23,105 workers found that 56% don’t feel valued in their role and 38% want employers to ‘create better lines of communication between executives and employees’.

It appears that remote workers seem to feel these complaints most keenly, with a growing tension between desk based and deskless workers. It found that 25% of respondents felt they get more attention from their employer when they are physically at the office, only 30% of deskless workers think that their employers listen to them, and 39% of desk-based workers felt that their deskless colleagues could learn from them about ‘how to communicate with colleagues and ‘how to work as a team’.

The great temptation

This comes off the back of research from Reed.co.uk which found that almost three-quarters of Britains are actively looking for a new job or are open to opportunities. The survey, which canvassed 2,000 employers attempting to attract new talent and retain restless employees, suggests that businesses will need to adapt their offering to align with new employee priorities that have been shaped by the pandemic.

Salaries remain a top driver with 39% of respondents stating that they would stay should their employer offer a high salary. Flexible working hours is also at the top of the list. Other suggested incentives from the survey included: more annual leave (25%), a promotion (21%), and 18% asked for increased training and development opportunities.

Commenting on the research, Simon Wingate, Managing Director of Reed.co.uk, said: “We are in the midst of a sea change in the labour market, with it very much having shifted from a buyers’ to a sellers’ market due to the sheer – and record-breaking – number of job opportunities available.

“After a challenging 18 months for jobseekers which gave rise to a culture of uncertainty in the labour market, workers are now mobilised by the prospect of new and exciting opportunities with better rewards. Employers must find creative solutions and adapt to the new market conditions following the pandemic in order to maintain the resurgent economy’s trajectory.”

Following LinkedIn’s recent research highlighting 6.8 times the number of recruitment roles posted on its site in June compared to the same time last year, is the Great Resignation spreading to the staffing sector?

“There is a lot of potential for ‘revenge resignation’ for all those who were put on furlough through successive lockdowns, in the wider economy but particularly in recruitment, but it’s less likely to impact employers who offer flexibility and authenticity with a client-centric culture,” said Tim Cook, Group CEO of nGage, who will be speaking on this topic at the World Leaders in Recruitment conference on 5th October.

Commenting on the growing debate about the Great Resignation, TALiNT Partners Managing Director, Ken Brotherston said: “In general it is always wise to treat dramatic headlines or simple phrases with a large pinch of salt. My general rule of thumb is this: does the person promoting the headline have an interest in it being true? If so, approach with caution.”

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Collaboration and communication are key skills  

According to new research from LinkedIn, 87% of UK business leaders stated that young workers have been plagued by a “developmental dip” because of long periods of time working from home during the pandemic.  

250 C-level executives in the UK (from companies with 1,000 employees and more and with an annual turnover of £250+ million) who were surveyed for the study, found that almost 30% of business leaders feel that onboarding from home has been a challenge for young employees. A further 42% of leaders believe that young people’s ability to build meaningful relationships with colleagues while working remotely has been difficult. 

Out of practice  

A complementary survey of young professionals showed that they agree. 69% of young people (aged 16 – 34) believe their professional learning experience has been impacted by the pandemic. More than half of those asked to return to offices feel their ability to make conversation at work has suffered, and 71% say they’ve forgotten how to conduct themselves in an office environment. 84% of young workers ultimately feel “out of practice” when it comes to office life, especially when it comes to giving presentations (29%) and speaking to customers and/ or clients (34%).  

Missing out 

Business leaders say the key development experiences that young people have missed out on during the pandemic include learning by “osmosis” from being around more experienced colleagues (36%), developing their essential soft skills (36%), and building professional networks (37%).  

Skills to succeed 

Business leaders believe that for hybrid working to be a success, collaboration (59%) and communication (57%) are the two most important skills employees need. Nearly half (49%) of leaders say working closely with experienced team members is the best way for young people to catch up and build these soft skills.  

Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said:  It’s positive to see leaders recognise the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on young people as they consider their future workplace policies. To help young people develop the skills they need to succeed, companies must understand where the skills gaps are, introduce mentoring schemes and bolster learning experiences that cater for a hybrid workforce to help younger workers get back on track.”

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35% of millennials likely to take a pay cut  

A survey by Hitachi Capital UK revealed that over a quarter of office workers are willing to take an 8% cut in pay to switch to permanent home working, with 2% prepared to forgo 20% of their salary to work from home permanently.  

According to the survey, those earning in the lower salary brackets are driving the trend with a third of office workers earning less than £40,000 per annum most willing to accept a pay cut to work from home. This compared to 20% of those earning over £40,000.  

39% of Generation Z want a permanent work-from-home solution compared with 16% of millennials who also want to work from home permanently; this despite 31% missing interpersonal interactions in the office.  

Millennials are most likely to consider taking a pay cut (35%), followed by over 55s at 25% and 45 – 54-year-olds (24%) if it meant the reduction was less than their usual travel spend and were given increased flexibility by their employer. 

Meanwhile, the ability to balance household and family responsibilities alongside work is driving half of female decisions to work from home (49%) compared to 37% of men. 

Spending time with family is a key incentive for over a third of males (34%) to work remotely compared to 26% of females. 

The report revealed the following regions are most ready to return to the office: Yorkshire and the North East (21%), as the office environment and access to a conventional desk allows increased focus and productivity. While, Northern Ireland (37%), West Midlands (35%) and South West (31%) are the strongest supporters of the post-pandemic shift to hybrid working. 

Theresa Lindsay, Group Marketing Director at Hitachi Capital UK PLC said, “The pandemic has led to a seismic shift in the way people want to work to effectively manage their work and home life commitments. It’s clear that most employees have adapted very well to remote working whilst actually enhancing productivity.”  

 

Have you got news to share with us? Please email debbie@talintpartners.com

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Great company culture is a top draw in retaining talent

Employers are poaching talent directly from competitors in a bid to mitigate skills shortages.

Talent solutions provider, Talent Works surveyed software and government professionals in the lead up to Talent Acquisition Day. The survey requested opinions on existing working policies and asked employees how often they’d been approached by other companies for new roles in the last year.

The research found that 38% of tech and government professionals were approached by competeitors more than five times in the last 12 months, with more than a fifth of employees saying that they’ll leave their current employer in 2022.

Other findings from the survey were:

  • More than a third of organisations don’t have work from home polices in place
  • Being asked to be in the office negatively impacts one in five employees
  • Software professionals, and employees aged between 18 and 34-year-old are more likely to want to be in the office than women, government professionals and those who are older than 35
  • Oppurtunities to advance their career (38%) and good company culture (33%) were things employees wanted most in their organisation.
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Yorkshire has the fastest internet speed in the country

Many large businesses in the UK including PwC, ASDA, UBS, KPMG and Adobe have shared their intent to move to a hybrid of model of working permanently.

But which major cities in the UK offer the best lifestyles for the flexible workforce? Gazprom Energy, the business energy supplier, ranked each major UK city on the following: cost of living, wellbeing (average ratings of life satisfaction, happiness, and anxiety), commuting time (minutes), average salary (£), average internet speed (mbps), and coffee shops per capita.

Once rating was complete, Gazprom created an overall score called the Hybrid Working Score (out of 100) for each city. They then ranked the cities from best to worst.

Key findings from the study include:

  • London is the UK’s worst city for hybrid working (35/100), despite employers in the capital being among the first to instigate hybrid working and offering the most flexible policies
  • York is the best city for hybrid working (64/100), helped along by a moderate cost of living, a respectable wellbeing standard and a lower average commute
  • Surprisingly, Hull and St Albans enjoy the highest average internet speeds (both 138 Mbps) in the country by far, helping employees to get the job done – while those in Worcester (47 Mbps) and Exeter (50 Mbps) have to put up with the worst
  • The worst commutes employees can expect when travelling between home and the office belong to London (avg. 66 min), Nottingham (41 min) and Leeds (40 min)
  • Yorkshire has the fastest average internet speed overall at 85 Mbps, followed closely by the East at 82 Mbps. Northern Ireland and Wales tie on being the regions with the slowest internet connections, at 61 Mbps.
  • Regionally, Yorkshire is also the best part of the UK for hybrid workers, followed by the North West – with Wales and London being the worst.
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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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A new survey of 2,000 workers by Robert Walters has found that 75% of 18-25 year olds see the workplace as their number one source of meaning and social connection but 42% will quit if remote working isn’t an option.

Robert Walters’ Guide to Hybrid Working: Obstacles and Solutions claims that ‘the under-researched and under-tested new hybrid working model has resulted in the UK workforce feeling overworked and exhausted’.

It found that, while 63% of companies have adopted or are in the process of implementing a hybrid-work model, 40% of employees think their employer’s hybrid working arrangements need to be improved and 55% do not think it brings balance back to their home and work life – with many claiming that hastily constructed working models have led to more intense working days due to the need to fulfil both face-to-face and virtual meetings.

The report also found that many employees are still in the dark about their employer’s plans for post-pandemic working – with 40% stating they are yet to hear about any vision, and a further 28% claiming that what they’ve heard remains vague.

Workers are very clear about their expectations, with 85% of UK professionals wanting more flexibility as standard to work from home post-pandemic, 78% stating that they would not take on a new job until this was agreed upfront with their prospective employer, and 42% saying they would quit if their employer didn’t offer remote working options long term.

However, with recent studies finding that employees working mainly from home were less likely to receive a bonus, get promoted or receive training than colleagues who spent more time in the workplace, the report urged employers to invest in culture and management.

“Our research shows that the diminishing social capital accessible through the hybrid or fully working from home model could turn the younger staffers into a ‘flight risk’,” said Chris Poole, MD of Robert Walters UK. “Additionally, talent retention is at its highest levels when employers invest time and effort in building and maintaining a workplace culture that prioritises social capital for employees.”

Tactics for boosting productivity and loyalty with hybrid working in the report include the following:

  1. Upskill managers: Remember the adage, “Employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers”. So, equip your managers with formal training and techniques to maintain productivity and innovation among their hybrid teams. The Robert Walters research suggests 30% of companies in Japan are already investing in such training.
  2. Measure outputs: Organisations are typically good at measuring inputs, but many overlook the outputs. By measuring outputs, employers and employees gain a clear picture of productivity and can adjust their hybrid working arrangements accordingly. This also helps ensure high achievers are identified and rewarded – which improves talent retention.
  3. Empower introverts: Some people feel more comfortable suggesting ideas online, rather than at in-person meetings. Apps such as Slack and Stormboard can enable brainstorming among remote workers.
  4. Seize the moment: Spontaneous creativity can still happen when people aren’t in the same room. Working in a Google Doc allows colleagues to create together, simultaneously. And leaving video chat running while working remotely allows people to share ideas and thoughts as they come up.
  5. Maximise in-person working: Optimise the time people spend together by creating flexible workplaces and spaces that encourage experimentation and collaboration. Consult your people during the office design, and your premises will become an asset that helps attract and retain talent.
  6. Embrace new technology: Keep your eye on emerging tech solutions. For example, Zoom plans to launch a new Smart Gallery feature, using AI to allow three people in a physical conference room to appear on different cameras, giving equal time and opportunity for all participants to contribute their ideas.

A copy of the report is available to download at Symptoms of Dysfunction in Hybrid Working (robertwalters.co.uk)

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A new survey reveals that 51% of remote workers now reply faster to emails to prove they’re working – and 95% of HR workers feel most trusted to be at their desks.

A survey of 1,015 office workers commissioned by Furniture At Work through Opinion Matters highlights changes to habits and routines as remote workers seek to reassure their employers that they’re working.

It found that 20% of UK workers now have Teams on their personal mobile phone and 29% ensure Teams never goes onto an ‘away’ status. It also found that 51% have started replying to messages faster to remind colleagues they’re working; 47% have been checking in regularly with calls and emails; and 49% now send emails either early in the morning or late at night.

The survey confirmed that 10am to 11am every day is the most common time for UK workers to take a break, with 22% doing this, and Monday is the day when workers are most likely to feel productive, with 24% saying this is the day when they get the most work done. Friday is the least productive day for 36%. However, those aged 16-24 chose Wednesday as their most productive day (26%), with 22% saying Monday was their least productive day.

A spokesperson for Furniture At Work said: “With so many extending their working days when working at home, it remains to be seen how this could translate into office working. It’s important for employers to understand that their staff are having to adapt to a second major change to their working lives in 18 months. Given that 11% of the workforce still don’t feel trusted by their employer to complete their set hours in a week, considering a flexible working policy could help make a smoother transition and reassure workers that you’re not rushing them back to a place where you can see them.”

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Employers adopting hybrid working as workplaces reopen need to make sure they are meeting the needs of their youngest workers, according to new research.

A survey of 6,000 European office workers by business technology provider Sharp found that 66% of UK workers aged 21 to 30 had found it challenging to stay connected to colleagues while working remotely.

The majority (57%) also said the ability to meet with colleagues in person had become more important since the pandemic began, and 60% said a dynamic office environment had risen in importance since lockdown.

More than half (53%) said that working remotely blurred the boundaries between their work and home life.

However, while keen for some face-to-face interaction, across Europe Millennials and Gen Z workers overwhelming reported that they also wanted flexibility going forward.

Best of both worlds

Some 40% of respondents said their employer should offer flexible working hours, while 58% said the ability to set their own working hours – as opposed to having fixed hours – was more important to them than it had been pre-pandemic.

The majority (66%) also said the ability to work from anywhere was more important now.

In a report entitled The Future of Workfuture of work psychologist Viola K. Kraus said: “Younger generations accept flexible working options as a given; they simply won’t work for a company that doesn’t offer it.”

However, she added: “21-24-year-olds in particular struggle to remain motivated when working remotely. This is partly because older professionals have more experience, while young people are still learning to navigate the office politics and have a natural need to be sociable and have those human connections.”

She said that those at the early stages of their careers were concerned that remote working could lead to a lack of career progression – some 63% of survey respondents said career progression and training opportunities had become more important to them.

“It is proving a struggle to keep young people motivated and engaged with a fully remote model. This presents a change management challenge, but after nearly a year of working remotely, by the middle of 2021 we will have new ways of working and more clarity over new career progression paths for younger employees.”

Top distractions

A separate study by office equipment supplier Office Needle gave some insight into some of the reasons younger workers find it difficult to stay motivated while working from home.

It surveyed 670 workers between May and June on the main distractions they face while working remotely, with the average age of respondents between 25 and 40.

It found that mobile phones and social media were the top distractions for workers, with 56% saying the former pulled their attention away from work, and 44% admitting the latter did the same.

Respondents also said they were taking significant breaks for entertainment, with 34% saying they spent more than an hour watching Netflix during their shift and 15% playing video games for more than an hour while on the clock.

Technology aside, household tasks also proved to be taking up significant amounts of workers’ time during working hours. The majority (67%) of those surveyed said they cooked during work hours, while 30% of dog owners said they walked their pet every day during their shift.

Other key distractions were doing chores (77%), taking care of children (31%), working out (32%) and having people over at their house (34%). Worryingly, 11% admitted to getting high or drunk on work time.

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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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