TT302: Well-being at the heart of recruitment and retention

October 03, 2019

People always aspire towards achieving the elusive ‘work-life balance’, but in 2019 it’s increasingly an expectation as employees look to their workplace for more than just salary and perks.

A survey by Accountancy Age, in October last year, revealed that UK workers spend almost 3,515 days at work during their lifetime. This will include on average nearly three months sick leave over their working life and, if commuting, spending 492 days travelling to work.

It’s no wonder that as technology has changed how, and where, people can work, what they expect from their employers has also evolved along with an increased emphasis on more rounded well-being associated with employment.

  • Research from Thomsons Benefits Online, surveying 2,000 employees. found that just under half believed their employers should be more supportive in helping them to achieve work-life balance. A third said they were kept awake at night over workplace stress, while just over a quarter felt long hours were preventing them from improving their mental well-being and 36% couldn’t improve their physical fitness because of their working hours.
  • A survey by a different co-working organisation found that 65% of employees without access to flexible working arrangements felt they would be more motivated and productive if they could choose their hours. Of the 1,000 professionals surveyed, only 18% of those in small- and medium-sized businesses already had access to flexible working arrangements.
  • A further survey from a financial comparison site of 2,000 full- and part-time workers showed that 75% favoured a four-day working week and were willing to work longer hours over the four days. Nearly half were willing to take a 20% pay cut for an extra day off a week. The findings also showed that nearly 30% of employees had left a job in the last year to find greater flexibility. Around half of younger employees in particular – between ages 25 and 34 – are prepared to look for a new job to achieve a better work-life balance.

With higher expectations on employers to be more aware of their employees’ mental health, as well as a drive towards helping people manage their finances beyond pension contributions, the relationship between employers and employees is shifting. Mental, physical and financial well-being have come to the fore alongside digital solutions that can help the workforce achieve that sought-after balance.

All employees have the right to ask for flexible working, but it is up to employers to agree. Working out a transparent policy on flexible working, rather than setting up a series of ad-hoc arrangements, can make any discussion about the topic easier to manage. The benefits to the workplace in terms of productivity, attitude and employee turnover may well outweigh any difficulties.

 

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