A new survey suggests that the pandemic has transformed the mindset of employees and their top priorities in the workplace. Flexible working has surged in the last year and studies suggest that flexibility, along with job security have become critical factors for many employees.
The survey coordinated by YouGov and supported by a report by UK based law consultancy Winckworth Sherwood suggests that Covid-19 has altered the mindset of employees and their main work values. According to the survey, over 51% of employees value job security and flexibility over their annual salary when deciding whether to remain with the existing employer.
The study included a survey to UK based employees and over 500 HR decision-makers during January and February of this year, covering a wide range of industries and businesses across the nation. The survey was supported by a series of in-depth interviews with HR leaders, business founders and industry experts.
With a core focus on ethical leadership, the study explored how businesses and their employees felt they had responded to the impacts of the pandemic. The survey findings suggested that 78% of employers and 73% of employees believed that businesses had handled workplace matters well. However, under 40% of employers felt they had provided the appropriate level of communication and engagement with their employees during the pandemic. A further 22% had re-adjusted executive pay structures with general staff pay reductions.
The study indicated five key improvements that employees and employers could make. This included being more compassionate, providing a greater level of communication and engagement, creating more flexibility in the workplace, offering additional wellbeing programmes and ensuring executive pay was aligned with other remuneration reductions experienced in the workforce.
In the last year, employees have increased their focus on job security and flexibility within the workplace and industry leaders anticipate both to remain top priorities for some time, considering the economic recovery will take some time after all restrictions are lifted.
Flexibility will remain a critical element of workplace conditions as expectations from employees to allow more flexible working options to continue after a year of working remotely. In the long term, industry experts believe the focus of jobs security will lessen as more stability in the workplace returns and employees place greater importance on the values and reputation of their employer.
The survey findings come at a time when other reports indicate that urban inequality is predicted to expand well beyond the eating of lockdown restrictions due to the success of remote working in London compared to other regions. A study from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) combined with leading job board Indeed, discovered that the remote working industry could potentially impact lower-paid service industries.
The study measured job postings on indeed and found that remote working positions were higher in London than the average nationwide. Indeed assessed postings from across the UK, Spain, France and Germany to determine how job postings had changed since the pandemic began.
The results indicated that the rise in high paying professional jobs in London came at the expense of lower-paid service roles, which require face-to-face contact and have been significantly affected by the pandemic. Residents in London are far more likely to work in jobs in industries such as technology, finance, marketing – the types of markets that enable remote working.
Flexible working has progressed beyond being an additional benefit offered by selected employers, to a necessity that is valued and expected by the majority of the workforce today. Businesses must carefully consider their stance on flexibility and what options they offer to ensure they continue to retain and attract new talent to their business.