Employees with higher levels of trust and autonomy at work are more productive

Employees who feel trusted by their employer to manage how and when they work for themselves can improve their levels of productivity, a new survey suggests. The research by Peldon Rose claims that UK workers rate feelings of trust and autonomy from employers and colleagues as increasingly important in keeping them productive and happy in the workplace. But the survey also shows that many employers are failing to provide employees with the resources and support they need to manage their workload and keep them motivated. Although the majority of staff (59 percent) say they work most productively in the office, a third (33 percent) wish they were more trusted to manage how and when they work and 42 percent say that their office does not support a culture that allows them to work flexibly. Despite the clear value that staff place on trust and autonomy, employers are overlooking an opportunity to create a confident and self-motivated workforce.

According to the data 19 percent do not feel their company trusts them; 42 percent of employees say that their current office environment does not have a positive impact on their happiness and only 36 percent enjoy coming to work everyday. There is also a reported lack of collaboration, with 52 percent not involved in planned changes to the office environment while 39 percent say their current office environment does not foster comradery or teamwork between colleagues.

Other findings include:

  • Productive environments: 59 percent of employees report working most productively in the office followed by 30 percent at home and 5 percent in a café
  • Productive environments: Working out of the office makes employees feel disconnected (50 percent), isolated or lonely (33 percent), less motivated (33 percent) and less productive (27 percent)
  • Office tools: Many are missing the amenities needed to work remotely around the office, including outdoor spaces (79 percent), lounge areas (71 percent), and breakout spaces (60 percent)
  • Relationships: 76 percent say that their colleagues and peers are the most likely to keep them happy at work, followed by a good relationship with their boss (68 percent) and office environment (66 percent)
  • Extra hours for bonding: 66 percent say they would spend more hours in the office if extra facilities were provided, with 17 percent saying they would spend more than 2 hours extra per day.

The survey revealed that although employees are cognisant of what makes them more productive and efficient on a day to day basis, they are rarely included in office wide decisions, with 52 percent saying they are not involved in planned changes to the office environment, 50 percent are not asked about their satisfaction with the office, 49 percent are not asked about how they use the office and 48 percent are not consulted on problems with the office. This suggests that engaging employees and creating an open dialogue about the company, its long-term strategy and the office environment will ensure that employees understand the motivation behind decisions and feel consulted in the process.  This will support staff motivation and retention.

Jitesh Patel, Chief Executive, Peldon Rose, commented: “We know that in the workplace, employees look for relationships built on trust as it helps to create a supportive and safe environment. They also want a culture that fosters autonomy, allowing them to manage their own workflow and have the freedom to work where and when suits them.

“As our survey reveals, there is a discrepancy between what keeps employees motivated at work versus the current provision. Workers are clearly stating that their relationships with their colleagues and bosses are what keeps them happiest at work and the office is where they are most productive, but 39 percent say their company doesn’t foster a sense of comradery and 42 percent say their office doesn’t have a culture that allows them to work flexibly.

“For employers, this should be seen as an opportunity to create a culture that promotes trust and develops autonomous thinkers. When employees feel they have control over their work and have the ability to make choices on balancing their work and life, they will not only spend more time in the office, but when they are present they will be more productive, happier and engaged.”