Stuck in a rut

Workers feel employers are too ‘traditional’ to change working pattern

A survey by Walters People has found two thirds of professionals feel that their employers’ traditional ways won’t have changed upon return to the office – with the key sticking point being around remote working. Indeed, post-pandemic just 21 per cent of companies state that they are considering a complete move to full-time remote working, despite 69 per cent of managers claiming that they saw an equal if not an increase in productivity levels since remote working became mandatory. The survey of 2,000 professionals found an additional 25 per cent of managers stated that their team’s productivity had increased once employees were given more autonomy and trust by management – of which remote working was a key catalyst.

An overwhelming 88 per cent of employees want to continue with at least 50 per cent working from home post-pandemic, with over half (54 per cent) claiming that their mental health has improved and 45 per cent stating that their productivity has improved.

When asked about what changes workers would most like to see from their company, the top responses included:

  • 68 per cent want more freedom with work-life balance
  • 65 per cent want more focus on outcomes rather than time spent at desk
  • 58 per cent think senior management need to have a better understanding of the technical aspects of virtual collaboration
  • 33 per cent ask for more trust & autonomy
  • 28 per cent would like to see more understanding for mental health & work life balance
  • 17 per cent feel that performance measures should change.

“As we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel regarding lockdown, so too do companies who are keen to return to ‘business as usual’ and to see the faces of their employees again,” said Phill Westcott, director at Walters People, “However as the time gets closer to offices being able to re-open there seems to be a disconnect between what employees are asking for and what companies will be doing post pandemic.

“Whilst there has been a great deal of success around remote working – and no doubt flexi-working will be here for good – there are ample arguments for a return to office including the need for junior staff and new starters to physically be around and shadow the team in order to pick up the ‘softer’ aspects of the job,” he added. “I think most importantly, remote working somewhat hinders a team’s ability to build a sense of community – which is much more effective with physical contact. As we edge closer to return, we are beginning to see more companies invest back into their ‘employer brand’ as a way of reminding staff why the culture, people, and the office is such a great place to be.”

The Walters People survey found that 53 per cent of senior leaders would like to invest more money into their employer branding as a key tactic to help encourage their staff to feel more positive to return to the office.

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