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There’s a gap between employee expectations and return to work plans

Staff want hybrid working on the return to the office – with 60% of office-based employees saying they’ll leave or be less committed if they don’t get what they want. 32% will look for new jobs, with a further 28% saying they’ll be less motivated going forward.

Staff may be officially returning to the office, but if employers don’t offer the right working experience, 60% will leave or become less motivated, according to new research* the leader in intelligent experience management. Nearly a third (32%) of office workers surveyed will look for new jobs, with a further 28% saying they’ll be less motivated if they aren’t allowed to split their time between home and office through hybrid working. Additionally, almost half (49%) said they didn’t yet feel ready to return to the office, adding to uncertainty for employers trying to make plans.

The 2021 Tivian Experience Intelligence Report: Return to Work and Employee Experience, further highlighted that companies don’t fully understand the importance of hybrid working to staff. 76% of employees wanted to spend at least two days a week at home – yet just 57% of organisations had plans to allow hybrid working. In fact a third of companies (32%) were still planning their strategy two weeks before UK restrictions loosened on 19 July 2021. This is the third year that Tivian has carried out its research into employee experience in the UK, with the topic growing significantly in importance over that time.

The employee experience has changed dramatically due to lockdowns, with 70% of staff enjoying working from home, highlighting the lack of commuting (77%), saving money (59%) and avoiding colleagues they disliked (32%) as key benefits.

Nevertheless, they miss the human interactions that offices bring. 50% are looking forward to face-to-face meetings, while 32% are keen to be able to go to lunch/have a coffee with colleagues. 20% want to experience the buzz of the office atmosphere, with 19% eager to share office gossip.

To help the return to the office, staff are looking for a different experience. As well as being able to work from home, half (50%) want greater flexibility over their start/finish times, with 29% looking for meetings to be more relevant and finish on time. Just under a quarter (24%) would like greater access to wellbeing resources and 19% want the chance to give more feedback.

“As staff return to the office they have a clear message for their employers,” said John Wilkinson, UK General Manager of Tivian. “What they need from the employee experience has fundamentally changed, particularly around where and when they work. Companies therefore must listen and understand their individual requirements to create a tailored experience if they want to retain, recruit and get the best out of their people in this new working environment. Businesses need the tools to do this. That means not just collecting feedback but being able to quickly analyse experience data and turn it into concrete actions that drive competitive advantage.”

Over the course of lockdowns HR teams have worked hard to keep employees engaged and supported. 57% of staff say their wellbeing is currently positive with 29% believing it has improved over the last year. 78% of HR respondents describe overall engagement as excellent or good. Looking back the biggest learnings for HR were around the importance of regular communication (cited by 63% of respondents) and getting regular employee feedback (51%). Of 13 key priorities for the next six months all were seen as essential by over 70% of HR teams, led by health and safety (92% essential), employee wellbeing (88% essential) and recruiting the right talent (85% essential).


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