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Employee frustration grows as nearly one in five businesses reject flexible working

By Karolina Skinner
2 June 2021

A new report shows that nearly one in five employers have rejected flexible working, much to the frustration of many employees who desire, at least, a hybrid working model post-pandemic.

A new report shows that nearly one in five employers have rejected flexible working

Employee Expectations 2021 by Wade Macdonald, the specialist accountancy and finance and HR recruiter, which canvassed 395 employees, provides a deep dive into the expectations of employees in 2021, and how they have shifted since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Key findings include:

A more settled remote workforce 

Last year, 11% of employees claimed it was a lot harder to work from home whereas now, this number has more than halved (5%). The predominant reasons for this shift include:

  • A larger percentage (85%) of employees now having dedicated workspaces compared to last year (72.5%).
  • A significant increase in financial support from employers towards proper working equipment (53% now compared to only 37% last year).

The desire to work from home more than in the office

This year sees a higher demand of people wanting to solely work from home, (22% compared to 19.5% in 2020). Of those who want a mixture of home and office working (69%), more days spent at home continues to be the preferred option, with two days office/three days home being the most popular choice.

A need for better mental health support

In Wade Macdonald’s recent Staff Welfare Survey, 64% of employers felt they had supported their staff’s welfare well. However, the Employee Expectations 2021 report showcased that employees did not share this sentiment. Over a quarter (27%) felt their organisations should have done better.

This disparity has come at a cost. This time last year, 28% of employees said their mental health had declined during the pandemic. This number shot up to nearly half (49%) of employees in the latest report.

Chris Goulding, managing director for Wade Macdonald, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way people have been living their lives across the world for the past, nearly 18 months. People being thrust into home working has led to the increased desire for flexibility, inclusion, collaboration, work-life balance and autonomy.

“The way that leaders manage their staff will have to change, with more emphasis on results garnered than time spent to meet those needs and desires of employees in this ‘new normal’. 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.”



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