June 15, 2023
New research has revealed the nuances in attitudes towards hybrid working and work-life balance in the UK and US. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the appeal of hybrid work is linked to the life and career stage of employees. The poll from United Culture suggests that work-life balance is the factor most valued by employees at work (58 percent), but is much more appealing to women than men (66 percent vs. 52 percent). Flexibility came in second place, chosen by 47 percent.
The desire for work-life balance also increases as workers get older – it was selected by 65 percent of those aged 45-54 and 70 percent of 55-64-year-olds, compared to 54 percent of employees aged 25-34 and only 41 percent of 18-24s.
According to the authors of the report, in a time of rising inflation and economic uncertainty, security was the third-highest ranked factor people value at work (40 percent), and came in ahead of career development, fulfilment, and recognition. Among younger workers aged 18-24, security actually ranked as the number one consideration, with 47 percent of this segment citing it as most important.
The study, Work Remastered, surveyed more than 1,000 office-based workers across the UK and the US and was carried out by culture change consultants United Culture. The research also claims that hybrid working, often seen as key to greater work-life balance, is not always perceived as positively by employees as might be expected.
Only half of employees (50 percent) say hybrid working has had a positive impact on company culture. Around one in six (15 percent) actually say it has negatively impacted company culture, while 8 percent say it’s both good and bad.While Millennials (aged 35-44) were most likely to see hybrid working as positive (60 percent), younger Gen Z workers aged 18-24 were most likely to see it as negative (20 percent said so), followed by 25-34s (18 percent).
Men were far more likely to view hybrid working as a positive (58 percent, vs 41 percent of women), and in the US it is generally viewed more positively than in the UK (68 percent, vs 33 percent in the UK).
Victoria Lewis-Stephens, MD of United Culture, comments: “Developing an employee experience that is fit for the future has never been more important than ever before. Attracting and retaining talent will rely on businesses building flexible offers and modern working practices.
“Work-life balance tends to be a greater concern among those who are already established and/or with families, whereas younger people nearer the start of their careers look for stability and the opportunity to develop.
“We assume hybrid working would be viewed in a uniformly positive way if work-life balance is the number one factor people value most at work. But those still developing their careers often want ‘face time’ with managers and an opportunity to shadow.
“Managing the new hybrid workforce is perhaps the hardest challenge currently facing those in HR and comms who are concerned about company culture. It would be nice to say that there’s a ‘silver bullet’ that fixes everything, but it’s actually a vastly different and highly nuanced issue for every organisation.”