‘Workers want more flexible working in 2022 – yet feel pressured to keep working while sick’

The consequences of remote and flexible working are not always as positive as workers initially think, with almost two thirds (64%) saying remote working has made them feel pressured to work when sick which has contributed to an ‘always-on culture.’  The results potentially mean that remote work is not abating the Great Resignation, but is rather sustaining it for certain groups of people.

As employers push ahead with new flexible working plans for 2022, unintended repercussions are becoming apparent, according to the latest Talent Index research from Beamery, which gathered opinions from 5000 workers across the UK and US.  Almost two thirds (63%) say their approach to taking a sick day has changed with 41% saying they will work through it, and 22% regarding sick-days as a ‘thing of the past’.

Generation Z

There are generational differences in terms of how workers feel about remote and flexible working with older workers feeling happier working at home whilst younger generations appear to benefit from being in the office.

Younger respondents were also more likely to believe that sick days were a thing of the past since working remotely had become standard with almost a third (29%) of those aged 18-24 versus just 12% of the 45-54 age group saying the same.

Benefits for Parents

While we might be aware of the benefits of remote working for parents – interestingly it’s not just women who are benefiting here.  Two in five (41%) working dads thought their career would progress faster thanks to flexible and remote working compared to 39% of mums which suggests that remote work is helping level the playing-field in terms of childcare.  Overall 78% of working parents say they have more flexibility and understanding around childcare needs.

Optimising career paths and presenting new opportunities

Keeping workers motivated is a big concern for employers, and it should be, as three quarters (75%) of respondents said they are confident they would find a job in the current market in the next 3-6 months, whilst a third (33%) said they would expect to secure one within 3 months. Overall, half of those surveyed (49%) said that the lack of one-to-one facetime with their employer has hindered their promotion opportunities, and a majority (60%) said they felt that working from home due to the pandemic had an impact on their personal development and progression in the workplace. Moving forward, 45%  wanted their company to  prioritise staff training and development in 2022.

There are some positive signs that companies are starting to take this approach, with a majority (60%) of those surveyed saying their employer has an established process in place to support moving employees into new roles that complement their existing skills.  However, 1 in 6 (17%) added that, though possible, they would need to push for such a move, showing there are still improvements to be made here.

Abakar Saidov, CEO, Beamerysaid: “In this fast-changing world of work, it has become clear that different generations want to work in different ways. Employers need to be mindful of this if they are to retain their workforce, and keep them motivated.

“The Great Resignation may still be an issue but employers can challenge it by doing more to prevent talent leakage and loss. They must commit to building a culture that supports employees’ well-being, careers, and development by understanding what they want and need from the business in order to progress. When businesses’ support employees in this way, they also create an inclusive environment in which individual’s thrive.”