The needs of workers have changed drastically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many office workers expect flexibility, while those on the frontlines want better communication platforms.
To find out exactly what UK office workers want from work, TopCV surveyed 1,000 people. The results show that while there are demographic differences, particularly linked with gender, there are overall still trends that employers should take note of.
The study uncovered that hybrid and remote work options were important to 52% of respondents.
A desire for flexibility is unsurprising given Advanced Workplace Associates found that the average employee spent just 1.5 days in the office.
Working from home was particularly popular with female respondents; 59% said that they would consider it a top benefit. On the other hand, only 42% of men held the benefit in the same regard.
When further probed into why workers saw remote working opinions as an important benefit,12% of women and 8% of men said because of the expense and practical strains of childcare.
While four-day working weeks were also of interest to 40% of workers, perhaps on the back of recent trials in the UK, but still paled when compared to flexibility in a conventional working week.
There are many reasons why this may be. Of course, there is a distinct possibility that workers do not see a four-day working week as applicable to their circumstances as it is not a widespread policy.
Old benefits are no longer popular
Interestingly, food and fitness perks are no longer enough to tempt most employees into a position. Only 14% saw “free lunches or lunch allowance” as a top benefit, and only 8% considered a free “gym membership” as important.
Discussing the findings, Amanda Augustine, careers expert for TopCV, tells UNLEASH: “In today’s post-COVID, ’employee’s market,’ it’s clear that workers no longer just appreciate benefits that support work-life balance — they require them.
“While a free lunch, beanbags, and a foosball table may have caught the eye of new recruits pre-pandemic (when five days in the office was the norm), employees have now had a taste of more comfortably navigating their personal and home lives, and as these findings suggest, they’re unwilling to sacrifice this arrangement.
“Adding a new initiative to the mix, such as the four-day week, will undoubtedly create more appetite among UK workers for flexible arrangements in months to come.”
Of course, it’s not easy to put in place successful initiatives, Augustine notes: “Employers who are interested in introducing programs that provide greater flexibility should first consider which options (1) are most attractive to their employees; and (2) are most practical for the organization.”
Augustine also encourages consideration and careful assessment before introducing a new scheme. Once a program is chosen, a method to ensure success is to “start by piloting the program with a small group for a specific trial period, such as 3-6 months”.
By constantly reviewing the effectiveness of programs, and speaking to employees, organizations can make benefits that stick.
Finally, Augustine looks at the positives that businesses will see from creating a flexible workplace: “Corporate initiatives that lead to greater work-life balance benefit both the organization and its staff.
“By giving employees options to create a more flexible work schedule, management will reap the benefits of a happier, more productive workforce that’s less prone to burnout and more likely to stay with the company longer.
“Employees will feel appreciated and understood while experiencing less stress while handling their professional and personal responsibilities. When properly implemented, programs like these are a win-win.”
With these positives in mind, there’s never been a better time to reassess your benefits offering.
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